Recorded: February 20, 2020
Event: Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World - 14th Melammu Symposium
Citation: Daryaee, Touraj. "The Limits of Tolerance: Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and Others in the Sasanian Empire," Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World - 14th Melammu Symposium. February 20, 2020.
by Touraj Daryaee (University of California, Irvine)
The Limits of Tolerance: Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and Others in the Sasanian Empire
There are many reports on periodic persecution of religious groups from the 3rd century CE, until the end of the Sasanian empire in the 7th century. However, we do know that Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Manichaeans, and others lived and, at time thrived, under a Zoroastrian king. So how can one explain the relation between the state and the religious minorities that existed in late antique Iran? This paper takes issue with both those who regard the Sasanian empire as an intolerant polity bent on persecuting religious minorities, and those who believe the Sasanians allowed religious groups to expand without opposition. I would rather suggest that the Sasanian empire practiced a “rough tolerance,” in order to control the multicultural and multireligious Sasanian world.
About the Speaker
Dr. Daryaee’s research has focused on ancient and early medieval history of Iran, specifically the Sasanian Empire. He has worked on Middle Persian literature, editing and translating several texts with commentary on geography, dinner speech, chess and backgammon. He is also interested in the history of Zoroastrianism in Late Antiquity and its encounter with Islam. He is the editor of the Name-ye Iran-e Bastan: The International Journal of Ancient Iranian Studies as well as the electronic journal, DABIR: Digital Archives of Brief Notes and Iran Review and Sasanika: Late Antique Near East Project. His articles have appeared both in English and Persian in Iranian Studies, Iran, Iranistik, Studia Iranica, Res Orientalis, Historia, Electrum, Indo-Iranian Journal, Journal of Indo-European Studies, Iranshenasi, Iran Nameh, Name-ye Baharestan, and Name-ye Iran-e Bastan.