PhD Oral Exam - Azadeh Ehsani Chombeli, Religion
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
This dissertation offers a comparative study between a number of Talmudic and Middle Persian narratives. The present work seeks first and foremost to examine Talmudic narratives in their Iranian context, and secondly to examine the Talmudic background of Iranian narratives where applicable.
The first and second chapters will offer an analysis of the alteration of historical and Biblical figures in the Bavli (the Babylonian Talmud) based on the influence of Iranian mythical and historical figures, while the third chapter will provide an account of how Iranists can learn from Talmudic Studies. Here we suggest that a Talmudic narrative may have encouraged Zoroastrian priests to compose an extensive work of religious literature, namely the Ardā-Virāz Nāmag, an idea which will be further explored in the appendix.
The relationship between Iranian and Jewish materials in the Talmudic era is merely a piece of a larger puzzle, a piece that a number of scholars—such as Elman, Secunda, Mokhtarian, Herman, Kiel, Kalmin etc.—have recently begun to focus on. By focusing on Talmudic narratives that have not yet been sufficiently examined for Iranian themes and ideas, this dissertation represents a contribution towards piecing this puzzle together.