British Iranologist Mary Boyce dies at 86


April 12, 2006

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British Iranologist Mary Boyce died on April 4 at the age of 86, the Persian service of IRNA reported on Friday.

Many Iranologists regarded her as the most prominent expert of Iranian culture and religion.

The professor of Iranian studies was born in 1920 and spent part of her early life in colonial India. She received a Ph.D. in Oriental studies from Cambridge University in 1945 for a thesis on a subject in Manichaeism.

After her appointment at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), first as a lecturer in 1947 and subsequently as a professor in 1963, she came to concentrate on the study of Zoroastrianism.

She has published numerous books and articles on the history of Zoroastrianism and the evolution of its rituals and doctrines. She spent some time in Kerman and Yazd amongst the Zoroastrian communities learning about their current ways and traditions.

“Zoroastrianism, Its Antiquity and Constant Vigor”, “Zoroastrianism: A Shadowy but Powerful Presence in the Judaeo-Christian World”, “A Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism”, and “The Manichaean hymn-cycles in Parthian” are among her many books.

Some of her books have been translated into Persian including “Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices” translated by Asgar Bahrami, and “A History of Zoroastrianism” translated by Homayun Sanati.

She had also trained many Iranian and foreign experts in the fields of Iranian history, culture, and language such as Mehrdad Bahar, the son of Persian poet Malek al-Shoara Bahar.