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Ab de Jong

Professor Comparative Religion and Religions of Antiquity / Scientific director

Prof.dr. A.F. de Jong
+31 71 527 2585

Ab de Jong is a Professor of Comparative Religion and Religions of Antiquity at the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Religion.

More information about Ab de Jong

Prof.dr. Albert de Jong is Lecturer in Religious Studies and teaches courses on the academic study of religion on various levels, as well as courses on the history of religions of the ancient world. The main focus of his research is the religious history of Iran, from the earliest period to the present.

Curriculum Vitae

De Jong studied Theology and Persian in Utrecht and Old and Middle Iranian languages at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Utrecht in 1996, with a dissertation on Zoroastrianism in Greek and Latin literature (publ. 1997). He was a Golda Meir Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1996-1997) and has been in Leiden since 1997, first as a post-doctoral researcher and from 1998 as lecturer in Religious Studies.

His current research project is “The Religious History of the Sasanian Empire (224-642 ce).” This will be the fifth volume in the series A History of Zoroastrianism and will cover not not just the history of Zoroastrianism by itself, but also the interaction between Zoroastrians, Christians, Jews, Manichaeans, and Mandaeans in a crucial period of their development. These communities are all served by a considerable body of scholarly literature and by ongoing scholarly attention, but often in regrettable isolation from the wider context. It must be clear that one cannot understand the Babylonian Talmud without knowledge of Sasanian law and institutions any more than one can study the development of Zoroastrianism without taking into account the challenges of Manichaeism and Christianity. In order to do justice to the subject, therefore, two volumes are in preparation: one that follows the history of Zoroastrianism from the rise of Ardashir up to the Arab invasions, and a separate volume that will offer a “profile” of Sasanian Zoroastrianism in the multiple contexts of the Empire.

Selected publications

  • 'Eeuwig, ongeschapen, maar zonder ‘bestaan’: de Boze Geest en zijn werkelijkheid in het zoroastrisme’ (‘Eternal, uncreated, but without “existence”: the Evil Spirit and his reality in Zoroastrianism’), in: R. Wiche (red.), Des duivels. Het kwaad in religieuze en spirituele tradities, Leuven/Voorburg: Acco, 2005, 51-64
  • ‘The First Sin: Zoroastrian Ideas about the Time before Zarathustra’, in: S. Shaked (ed.), Genesis and Regeneration. Essays on Conceptions of Origins, Jeruasalem: The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 2005, 192-209
  • ‘Zoroastrian Religious Polemics and their Contexts: Interconfessional Relations in the Sasanian Empire,’ in: T.L. Hettema & A. van der Kooij (eds.), Religious Polemics in Context. Papers presented to the Second International Conference of the Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions (Studies in Theology and Religion 11), Assen: Royal van Gorcum, 2004, 48-63
  • ‘Sub Specie Maiestatis: Reflections on Sasanian Court Rituals,’ in: M. Stausberg (ed.), Zoroastrian Rituals in Context (NUMEN Book Series 102), Leiden: Brill, 2004, pp. 345-365 H.-G. Nesselrath, B. Bäbler, M. Forschner & A. de Jong, Dion von Prusa. Menschliche Gemeinschaft und göttliche Ordnung: Die Borysthenes-Rede (SAPERE VI), Darmstadt: WBG, 2003. 207 pp.
  • ‘Dions Magierhymnen: zoroastrischer Mythos oder griechische Phantasie?’ in: H.-G. Nesselrath et alii, Dion von Prusa. Menschliche Gemeinschaft und göttliche Ordnung: Die Borysthenes-Rede, Darmstadt 2003, pp. 156-178
  • ‘Zoroastrian Self-Definition in Contact with Other Faiths,’ in: S. Shaked & A. Netzer (eds.), Irano-Judaica V, Jerusalem: the Ben Zvi Institute, 2003, pp. 16-26
  • ‘Pāzand and “Retranscribed” Pahlavi: On the Philology and History of Late Zoroastrian Literature,’ in: L. Paul (ed.), Persian Origins – Early Judaeo-Persian and the Emergence of New Persian (Iranica 6), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2003, pp. 67-77
  • ‘Vexillologica Sacra: Searching the Cultic Banner,’ in: C.G. Cereti, M. Maggi & E. Provasi (eds.), Religious Themes and Texts of pre-Islamic Iran and Central Asia. Studies in Honour of Professor Gherardo Gnoli on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday on 6th December 2002 (Beiträge zur Iranistik 24), Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 2003, pp. 191-202
  • ‘Women and Ritual in Medieval Zoroastrianism,’ in: C.G. Cereti & F. Vajifdar (eds.), Ātaš-e dorūn. The Fire Within. Jamshid Soroush Soroushian Memorial Volume II, n.p.: 1stbooks, 2003, pp. 147-161 ‘Animal Sacrifice in Ancient Zoroastrianism: A Ritual and its Interpretations,’ in: A.I. Baumgarten (ed.), Sacrifice in Religious Experience (Studies in the History of Religions 93), Leiden: Brill, 2002, 127-148
  • ‘Zoroastrianism and the Greeks,’ Ph. Godrej & F. Punthakey Mistree (eds.), A Zoroastrian Tapestry: Art, Religion, and Culture, Ahmedabad: Mapin, 2002, 65-81
  • ‘A New Syrian Mithraic Tauroctony,’ Bulletin of the Asia Institute, N.S. 11 (1997 [2000]), 53-63
  • ‘Purification in absentia. On the Development of Zoroastrian Ritual Practice,’ in: J. Assmann & G.G. Stroumsa (eds.), Transformations of the Inner Self in Religious Traditions (Studies in the History of Religions 83), Leiden: Brill, 1999, 301-329
  • ‘Shadow and Resurrection,’ Bulletin of the Asia Institute, N.S. 9 (1995[1997]), 215-224 Traditions of the Magi. Zoroastrianism in Greek and Latin Literature (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World 133), Leiden: Brill, 1997. 496 pp.
  • ‘Jeh the Primal Whore? Observations on Zoroastrian Misogyny,’ in: R. Kloppenborg & W.J. Hanegraaff (eds.), Female Stereotypes in Religious Traditions (Studies in the History of Religions 66), Leiden: Brill, 1995, 15-41

Professor Comparative Religion and Religions of Antiquity / Scientific director

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • LUCSoR


  • No relevant ancillary activities
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