Sarah Stewart (project director) is a lecturer in Zoroastrianism in the Department of the Study of Religions at SOAS. She is co-convenor with Edmund Herzig of the Idea of Iran series and has co-edited five volumes in the series.

She is Secretary of the British Institute of Persian Studies in London and on the Academic Council of the Iran Heritage Foundation also in London. Her publications include studies on the Parsi and Iranian Zoroastrian living traditions and she is currently working on a publication (in collaboration with Mandana Moavenat) on contemporary Zoroastrianism in Iran.

Firoza Punthakey Mistree is co-editor with Pheroza Godrej of A Zoroastrian Tapestry: art, religion and culture. She works for Zoroastrian Studies, Mumbai and also teaches Zoroastrianism to school children to extend their understanding of the religion and instil a sense of pride in their heritage.

Her primary research interest is the oral history of the Yazdi Zoroastrians. She has travelled widely in Iran and has published work on Yazdi costumes and textiles.

Pheroza Godrej - Art-historian, environmentalist and writer. Her literary career co-relates history, travel, painting and studies of British artists in India (1690-1930).

The publications which she has co-written or co-edited include, Scenic Splendours: India through the Printed Image; Under the Indian Sun, Bombay to Mumbai - Changing Perspectives; A Zoroastrian Tapestry: Art, Religion and Culture and Indian Life and Landscape by Western Artists - Paintings and Drawings from the Victoria and Albert Museum - 17th to the early 20th Century, including an exhibition and seminar for the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai (CSMVS - formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India).

She is closely associated with the CSMVS, Museum Society of Bombay, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, the National Gallery of Modern Art, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR).

A reputed curator and Director of Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai, which she founded in 1971, Pheroza Godrej is also President of the National Society of the Friends of the Trees, the main focus of which is the promotion of greenery and environment education.

Almut Hintze is Zartoshty Brothers Professor of Zoroastrianism at the School of Oriental and African studies, University of London. Holding degrees from the universities of Heidelberg, Oxford, Erlangen and Berlin, her field is Indo-Iranian Studies with special emphasis on the Zoroastrian literature, beliefs and religious practice.

Her major publications include a study of the semantics of words for 'reward' in Vedic and Avestan (2000) and commentaries and annotated editions of Zoroastrian sacred texts, such as the Avestan Zamyad Yasht (1994) and the Yasna Haptanghaiti (2007).

Ursula Sims-Williams is Curator of Iranian languages at the British Library. Her research interests focus on the pre-Islamic Iranian and the Zoroastrian collections. Her most recent work includes the articles "The strange story of Samuel Guise: an 18th-century collection of Zoroastrian manuscripts," Bulletin of the Asia Institute 19 (2009), "Rudolf Hoernle and Sir Aurel Stein", in Sir Aurel Stein, Colleagues and Collections (London: British Museum, 2012) and "Zoroastrian Manuscripts in the British Library, London," in the press.

She assisted with the exhibition "Trade, Travel, War and Faith" (British Library, 2004) and its associated catalogue and has curated the exhibitions "Zoroaster, wise man of the East" (British Library, 2005), "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" (British Library, 2009) and is currently working on "Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire" (British Library, 2012).

Frantz Grenet,
Collège de France, Director of Studies and Professor of Religions of the Ancient Iranian World at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Sorbonne, Paris) and, since 1989, Director of the French-Uzbek Archaeological Mission in Sogdiana, excavating at Samarkand and other sites.

Alan Williams,
Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Religion, University of Manchester.

Philip G. Kreyenbroek,
Professor of Iranian Studies, Georg-August University, Göttingen.

John Hinnells,
Honorary Research Professor, SOAS.

Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis,
Curator of Middle Eastern Coins at the British Museum and Co-Director of the International Parthian Coin Project.

Jenny Rose,
Lecturer on Zoroastrian Tradition, School of Religion, Claremont Graduate University, California.

Rosheen Kabraji,
Asia Programme, Chatham House

Burzine Waghmar,
SOAS, University of London


SOAS is a unique institution. With students from more than 130 countries and the largest concentration in Europe of academic staff concerned with the heritage and culture of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, it is a global academic base of specialised knowledge.


Religious studies have been integral to teaching and research at SOAS, ever since the School was founded nearly 100 years ago.

At SOAS we study religions because they have been powerful, dynamic, and enduring forces behind communities for many centuries. At SOAS, religion is studied because of the significant influence it has exercised on the formation and development of societies all over the world. In other words, we believe that to understand any culture, it is imperative to understand its religious traditions and practises.

Students of religion at SOAS benefit from the interdisciplinary nature of the School and are able to draw upon the expertise of an impressive body of academic staff in all the world's major religious traditions.

As one of only five National Research Libraries in the UK, the SOAS Library houses the world’s largest resource for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This gives scholars at SOAS access to a significant collection of resources related to the study of religions. Including the largest collection of Christian missionary archives in the UK, as well as personal papers of many individual missionaries.

With nearly a century of specialist knowledge, top class learning resources and facilities, teaching staff with specialist regional expertise and a truly multicultural student community, SOAS is the perfect learning environment for the study of religions.


Zoroastrianism has been studied at SOAS since 1929 thanks to the Parsee Community’s lectureship, held by Sir Harold Walter Bailey and Walter Bruno Henning.

Professor Mary Boyce taught Zoroastrianism from 1947 until 1982. Many other distinguished scholars of Zoroastrianism and Iranian Studies have taught at SOAS, including Professor John Hinnells from 1993 to 1998, Professor A D H Bivar from 1960 to 1993, Professor Philip Kreyenbroek from 1988 to 1996 and Professor Nicholas Sims-Williams from 1976 to 2004. Professor Sims-Williams is now a professorial researcher at SOAS.

In 2011, SOAS received a £1 million donation from the WH Boyce-Khorshid Hemati Fund. The donation was used by the School to secure a Chair in Zoroastrian Studies to be held in perpetuity.

Zoroastrianism at SOAS today. The Zartoshty Brothers Chair in Zoroastrian Studies is held by Professor Almut Hintze; and in Dr Sarah Stewart, a former student of Professor Boyce, the School has another expert and teacher in the field.

Postgraduate students at SOAS today who choose to take courses on Zoroastrianism are given a clear understanding of the doctrines, rituals and history of Zoroastrianism; allowing them to connect this knowledge with other courses they are taking. They can also learn any of the languages that support the study of Zoroastrianism: Avestan, Pahlavi, Persian, Urdu and Gujarati.

ahura mazda mirror glass text soas tree logo


At the heart of SOAS' campus in Russell Square lies the Brunei Gallery: an exciting venue in Central London that hosts a programme of changing contemporary and historical exhibitions from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Situated just a three-minute walk away from the British Museum, the Gallery's aim is to present and promote cultures from the regions of SOAS' expertise. As such, it is not only an enviable student resource and public facility, but also the natural home for this extraordinary Exhibition on the history of Zoroastrianism over the last several millennia.

brunei gallery exterior royal persian paintings brunei gallery empire of the sultans