Reviews

This paper in “comparative religious studies (sravnitel’noe religiovedenie)” by a young researcher of the Moscow Spiritual Academy is the result of interviews made in Russian language in July 2005 with one khalifa and some ten Isma‘ili-background white-collars of Dushanbe, all originating from the Western Pamir.  The author stresses the personal literacy of his informants in both classical and academic literature on the Isma‘iliyya.  He also evokes Isma‘ili specificities, compared with Sunni norms, in the practice of different kinds of collective prayers (namaz—including the pir-i shah practiced in Badakhshan until the mid-1990s).  Some detail mistakes, however, reveal the author’s lack of familiarity with Persian language and culture.  More important, although his command of the academic bibliography in Russian language permits him to offset the shortness of his fieldwork, it also drives him to an overdependence on the ethnographic literature of the Soviet period, and to a harmful ignorance of more recent publications in Persian language (e.g., on the funerary ritual of charagh rawshan-kuni: see infra 420).  The paper ends up with unwarranted comparisons between Pamirian diws, Russian domovois, and Northern-American gremlins, as well as with undocumented considerations about contacts between Christian Orthodoxy and the Isma‘ilyya in the medieval (Fatimid) and modern (Russian colonial) periods.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-5.2.A-413