The Multimedia Yasna


SOAS members
Principal Investigator

Almut Hintze lead the MUYA project and co-ordinated and directed the work. She worked on a text-critical edition of the Avestan text of chapters 0-2 of the Yasna.

Almut Hintze studied Classics and Indo-European philology in Heidelberg, Oxford and Erlangen. From 1990 to 1996 she taught Indo-Iranian Studies in Berlin. Since 1998 she has been at SOAS, University of London, where she is now Zartoshty Brothers Professor in Zoroastrianism. She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2015. She has published on Indo-Iranian and, especially, Avestan philology and on Zoroastrianism. Her major works include an edition of the Avestan Zamyād Yašt and a study of the meanings of different words meaning ‘reward’ and ‘retribution’ in Vedic and Avestan, and an edition with translation, commentary and dictionary of an Old Avestan text, the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti.

Senior Team Members

Nicholas Sims-Williams co-supervised doctoral researchers working on an Avestan edition.

After studying at Cambridge University (Old and Middle Iranian languages, Sanskrit, Syriac and linguistics) he taught at SOAS, University of London, from 1976, retiring in 2015 as Emeritus Professor of Iranian and Central Asian Studies. He has published many books and articles, chiefly on the Eastern Iranian languages Sogdian and Bactrian.

Sarah Stewart co-supervised doctoral researchers and acted as consultant.

She is the Shapoorji Pallonji Senior Lecturer in Zoroastrianism and Co-Chair of the Shapoorji Pallonji Institute for Zoroastrian Studies, established at SOAS, University of London in 2018. Her research is on the oral traditions of Zoroastrianism with particular emphasis on the living faith. She was the lead curator of the exhibition, The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in history and imagination, that presented a visual narrative of Zoroastrianism through the ages and was shown at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS in 2013 and the National Museum, Delhi in 2016. She currently directs the Gen Z and Beyond Survey, an online survey to explore different views and practices within the current global Zoroastrian community and those close to it.

Mandana Seyfeddinipur provided training in documentary methods of filming techniques, annotation tool (ELAN), data management and archiving.

She is a linguist and the director of the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme and the Endangered Languages Archive at the Berlin Brandenburgische Academy of Sciences and Humanities. A linguist by training her work focuses on language use, multimodality, manual gesture and on language documentation and preservation of endangered languages.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Leon Goldman (2016-2019) contributed to the development of the Online Transcription Editor (OTE) while transcribing Yasna 58 to 61 from a number of manuscripts. He also digitised manuscripts during his stay in India in 2017, assisted in the filming and worked on the Encyclopaedia.

Holding a B.A. (Hons.) in Religions and Sanskrit from the University of Queensland (Australia) (2004) and an MA specialising in Iranian and Zoroastrian Studies from SOAS (2007), Leon Goldman was awarded a PhD at SOAS in 2012 for his doctoral thesis on an edition with translation and commentary of the Avestan Rašn Yašt. He was a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at SOAS in 2012–2015. His publications include a text-critical edition of the Rašn Yašt (2015) and a facsimile edition of the Sanskrit Yasna manuscript S1 (2017).

Céline Redard (2017-2022) worked on a text-critical edition of the Avestan text of chapters 3-8 of the Yasna (published in 2021), and, in collaboration with Kerman Daruwalla, on the Gujarati ritual directions of the Paragnā, Yasna and Visperad ceremonies, leading to a publication in 2021. She collaborated on the development of the Online Transcription Editor (OTE) and the collation tool for Avestan manuscript and coordinated the text for the encyclopaedic entries included in the film of the Yasna ceremony. Together with Cláudia Ribeiro she developed the object tracing, which is part of the interactive film. During her stay in India in 2019, she contributed to the digitisation of manuscripts. She has developed the structure and the content of the website.

Before specialising in Iranian Studies, she studied Indo-European Linguistics, Sanskrit and Latin in Switzerland (Licence ès Lettres et Sciences Humaines, University of Neuchâtel, 2005). In 2010, she obtained her PhD at EPHE (Paris, France) for her doctoral thesis on an edition, translation and commentary on Vidēvdād 19. After working as a research assistant at the Collège de France (Paris) from 2008 to 2014, she was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship (BeIPD-COFUND) at the University of Liège in Belgium (2014-2016). During that time, she concentrated her research on the links between the so-called Long Liturgy and the short liturgies. Her publications include a translation with commentaries of Vidēvdād 19 (2021), an edition with translation, glossary and commentaries of Yasna 3 to 8 (2021), as well as four co-authored books: La liquidation du sacrifice (Y62 à 72) (2013) with Jean Kellens, Introduction à l’avestique récent (2019) with Alberto Cantera, The Gujarati Ritual Directions of the Paragnā, Yasna and Visperad Ceremonies (2021) with Kerman Daruwalla and Introduction à l’Avesta (2021) with Jean Kellens. She has also edited several books, including Persian Religion in the Achaemenid Period with Wouter Henkelman (2017).

Mehrbod Khanizadeh (2018-2022) worked on a text-critical edition of the Avestan text of chapters 9-11 of the Yasna. This text is also known as the Hōm Yašt, or Hōm Stōm. He contributed to the subtitles and the encyclopaedia of the interactive film and supported the team members for the Persian ritual directions.

After obtaining a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and an MSc in Animal Pathology, Mehrbod changed his subject to study the languages and religions of Ancient Iran. He was awarded an MA (Distinction) in Ancient Culture and Languages of Iran from Shahid Beheshti University in 2010. He, then, commenced his studies on Zoroastrianism at SOAS and received an MA (Distinction, 2013) and a PhD (2018) in that field. Mehrbod’s PhD thesis is a text-critical edition with translation and commentary of the Pahlavi version of Yasna 9, stanzas 1–15.

Doctoral Researchers

Kerman Daruwalla (2016-2022) undertook his PhD as a team member of MUYA, studying the training of Zoroastrian priestly candidates in ritual performance in India. He investigated the teaching and learning techniques employed for the study of ritual texts, in particular the Yasna. The study is based on substantial empirical data from extensive fieldwork within India during 2017–2019. The primary focus of the study is the Dadar Athornan Institute in Mumbai, the only functional priestly school in India, whose principal, Ervad Ramiyar Karanjia, is a collaborator of MUYA. 

Kerman has been a member of the team on multiple fieldtrips to India for locating and digitising manuscripts. He advised the project team on the interactive Yasna film, supported the work on the Gujarati ritual directions and translated interviews in Gujarati for the documentary on Zoroastrianism prepared by MUYA’s film team Anna and Remi Sowa. He also transcribed Avestan manuscripts of Yasna 11.16–13.8. Kerman’s areas of interest include the history and contemporary practice of Zoroastrian priests, with a special focus on Gujarati ritual texts. He holds an MA degree in Avestan-Pahlavi from the University of Mumbai and MA in Iranian Studies from SOAS. He was awarded the PhD degree from SOAS in 2022 for the thesis titled ‘Becoming an Athravan’. In 2021, he published a book with Céline Redard on the Gujarati Ritual Directions of the Paragnā, Yasna and Visperad Ceremonies.


Benedikt Peschl (MUYA doctoral student from 2017–2020) worked on a text-critical edition of the Avestan text of chapters 28–30 of the Yasna and participated in the subtitling of the interactive film. He contributed to the digitisation of manuscripts during MUYA’s fieldtrips to in India in 2017 and 2019.

He holds a BA in General and Indo-European Linguistics from the University of Munich, an MA in Religions (specialising on Zoroastrianism) from SOAS, and a PhD in Study of Religions from SOAS (2021). For his SOAS PhD thesis on “The first three hymns of the Ahunauuaitī Gāϑā. The Avestan text of Yasna 28–30 and its tradition” (supervisors: Almut Hintze und Nicholas Sims-Williams), he received the prize for the best doctoral dissertation of year 2021 of the Society for Indo-European Studies (Indogermanische Gesellschaft). From 2021–2022, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher for the DFG-funded project ‘The Development of Aspect in Middle Persian’ at Bochum University (Center for Religious Studies, CERES). Since 2022, he is as a postdoctoral researcher of the DFG-funded project ‘Zoroastrian Middle Persian: Digital Corpus and Dictionary’ at Freie Universität Berlin (Institut für Iranistik).

Martina Palladino (2018–2022) worked as a MUYA PhD student on a text-critical edition of the Sanskrit translation of chapters 1–8 of the Yasna. She also contributed to the subtitles and the encyclopaedia of the interactive film.

Holding a BA in Sanskrit Language and Literature and an MA in Religious History of the Iranian world from the University of Bologna, she did her first PhD at the University of Bologna on the Śākadvīpīya (or Maga) Brāhmaṇas (2017).

Stefano Damanins (2018–2022) worked on a PhD centred on the text-critical edition of chapters 62–72 of the Avestan Yasna. The thesis includes a translation of the text and a commentary discussing not only linguistic-philological problems, but also liturgical matters. He also participated in the subtitling of the interactive film, and in the elaboration of the encyclopaedia linked to it.

He holds a BA (University of Trieste) and a MA (University of Bologna) in Classics and Humanities. After passing several exams in Oriental Languages and Literatures (Sanskrit, Armenian, Iranistics) in the frame of his MA, he graduated with a dissertation on a critical edition of the 18th Yašt of the Avesta. His wider interests are Greek and Latin Literature, Pre- and Early-Islamic Iran, Ancient and Medieval History of Europe and Asia, General and Indo-European Linguistics.

Chiara Grassi (2018–2022) worked on a text-critical edition of the Avestan text of chapters 56–57 of the Yasna. She also participated in the subtitles and the encyclopaedia of the interactive film.

She holds a BA in Sanskrit Language and Literature from the University of Pisa and an MA in History and Oriental studies specialising on Zoroastrianism and Avestan language from the University of Bologna. She was then awarded an MA in Religions of Asia and Africa at SOAS, focusing on Zoroastrianism.


Dr Asya Kudlenko (2016–2022): Project Coordinator.


Vera Hildenbrandt (2016–2019) contributed advice on the development of the Online Transcription Editor.

Thomas Burch (2019–2022) succeeded Vera Hildenbrandt. He coordinated the work on the Online Transcription Editor and the Redmine project management web application.

Martin Sievers developed and adapted to Avestan manuscripts the web-based graphical online transcription tool (OTE), which he had originally developed together with this colleague Yu Gan as part of the AHRC/DFG co-funded project ‘Workspace for Collaborative Editing’ (WCE). He also assisted the team in the publication process by developing a specific template in LaTeX and by applying the final typesetting.


David Parker, Emeritus Professor of Digital Philology, provided consultancy and advice on the XML transcriptions and the collation process (2016–2020).

Hugh Houghton, Director of the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE), works on editions of biblical texts and manuscripts in digital and print format. He succeeded David Parker in providing consultancy and advice on the transcriptions and the collation process (2020–2022).

Catherine Smith, Research Fellow and Technical Officer in the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE), developed the Collation tool for Greek texts and adapted it to the requirements of MUYA. She wrote the online workflow management tools required for the collation process and an Offline version of the original OTE by wrapping it in an electron application. 


Mary Chester-Kadwell is a Senior Software Developer at Cambridge University Library, and Research Software Engineering Coordinator for Cambridge Digital Humanities (CDH). CDH partner with the MUYA project to host and maintain MUYA Workspace for Collaborative Editing and make the software available for other digital humanities projects.


Klaus Wachtel explored possibilities of applying the Coherence Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) to Avestan, using the digital manuscript data produced for the MUYA text editions. The INTF team at Münster University is currently preparing a website for CBGM analyses of parts of the Yasna.

Collaborators in India

The priests who performed the Yasna ceremony in 2017 in Mumbai were Ervad Adil Bhesania, who acted as chief priest, and Ervad Asphandiarji Dadachanji (1939–2021) of the Vacha Gandhi Agiary, Mumbai, who performed as assistant priest.

Ramiyar Karanjia, Principal of the Dadar Athornan Institute, coordinated the filming at the Athornan Institute, recruited the priests and supervised the filming of the Yasna ritual in India. He also advised on the PhD work of Kerman Daruwalla.

Parvez Bajan advised on and supported the filming of the Yasna ritual and Kerman Daruwalla’s PhD study of teaching practices in India.

Raiomond Doctor advised on technical aspects of the project, especially on the multimedia application.


All SOAS team members have participated in the work on the interactive film. They were assisted by the following partners:

Chouette Films, Anna and Remi Sowa filmed the preparatory Paragnā and Yasna ceremony in 2017 in Mumbai and edited the film. They also work on a 40-minute documentary on Zoroastrianism, using footage created during their stay in Mumbai in 2017.

Digirati developed the interactive user interface.

Peter Bouda (2020) started the work on the detection of objects and provided the first versions. Cláudia Ribeiro (2021–2022) subsequently developed the tools further in collaboration with Céline Redard and provided advice on the methodology to be used.

Advisory Group

The function of the Informal Advisory Group was to support the project with advice and assist with the dissemination of its results. It includes the following members:

  • Dolly Dastoor (North America)
  • Aban Rustomji (North America)
  • Ervad Gustad Panthaki (North America)
  • Ervad Dr Jehan Bagli (North America)
  • Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary (Iran)
  • Professor Katayoun Mazdapour (Iran)
  • Dastur Dr Firoze M. Kotwal (India)
  • Ms Shernaz Cama (The UNESCO Parsi Zoroastrian Project, India)
  • Malcom Deboo (ZTFE, London)
  • Shahpur Captain † (The World Zoroastrian Organisation, London)