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Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies Mary Boyce Dies at 86


05 April 2006



Mary Boyce (1920-2006)


Shapour Suren-Pahlav


LONDON, (CAIS) -- Iran has lost one of her greatest admirers, Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies Mary Boyce, which passed away on April 4 at the age of 86.


Many Iranists 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 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 devote her life on the study of Zoroastrian religion.


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


Mary Boyce was one of the leading figure concerning research on Zoroastrianism in the second half of the twentieth century.

A list of writings

Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, Routledge, London, 1979; repr. 2000 [2001]

Zoroastrianism, Its Antiquity and Constant Vigour, Fourth Columbia series on Iranian Studies, 1992

Zoroastrianism: A Shadowy but Powerful Presence in the Judaeo-Christian World, London, 1987

A History of Zoroastrianism, 3 vols. 1975-91, vol. 3 with Frantz Grenet. Vol. 4 forthcoming. Vols. 5-7 under the editorship of Albert de Jong.

A Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism, 1977; repr. 1989
The Letter of Tansar, ed. and tr. 1968

The Manichaean hymn-cycles in Parthian, 1954


She had also taught many Iranian and foreign experts in the fields of Iranian history, culture, and language such as the late Mehrdad Bahar.



May Ahura Mazda bless her immortal soul.


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