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vendredi, 22 octobre 2010

The Yezidis: The History of a Community, Culture and Religion

The Yezidis: The History of a Community, Culture and Religion

Birgul Acikyildiz (author)

Hardback, £49.50

Yezidism is a fascinating part of the rich cultural mosaic of the Middle East. Yezidis emerged for the first time in the 12th century in the Kurdish mountains of northern Iraq. Their religion, which has become notorious for its associations with 'devil worship', is in fact an intricate syncretic system of belief, incorporating elements from proto-Indo-European religions, early Persian faiths like Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, Sufism and regional paganism like Mithraism. Birgul Acikyildiz offers a comprehensive appraisal of Yezidi religion, society and culture. Written without presupposing any prior knowledge about Yezidism, and in an accessible and readable style, her book examines Yezidis not only from a religious point of view but as a historical and social phenomenon. She throws light on the origins of Yezidism, and charts its historical development - from its beginnings to the present - as part of the general history of the Kurds.

The author describes the Yezidi belief system (which considers Melek Taus - the 'Peacock Angel' - to be ruler of the earth) and its religious practices and observances, analysing the most important facets of Yezidi religious art and architecture and their relationship to their neighbours throughout the Middle East. Richly illustrated, with accompanying maps, photographs and illustrations, the book will have strong appeal to all those with an interest in the culture of the Kurds, as well as the wider region.


List of Illustrations 

Chapter I: Origins, History and Development 

    • Yezidis in Mesopotamia and Anatolia 
    • Yezidis in Syria 
    • Yezidis in Transcaucasia 

Chapter II: Religious Belief System 

1. God, Angels and the Trinity 

    • God (Xwedê)
    • Angels 
    • The Peacock Angel (Tawûsî Melek) 
    • Sultan Êzi 
    • Sheikh ‘Ad? 

2. Yezidi Mythology 

    • Creation of Cosmos and Universe 
    • Creation of Human Being 
    • The Flood 

3. Holy Books 

4. Religious Hierarchy 

Chapter III: Religious Practices, Observances and Rituals 

    • Haircut, Baptism, Circumcision, Brother of the Hereafter, Marriage, Death 
    • Prayer
    • Fast 
    • Pilgrimage 
    • Festivals and Ceremonies 
    • Taboos 

Chapter IV: Material Culture 

    • Homeland, Landscape, Sacred Places 
    • Places of Worship 
    • The Sanctuary 
    • Mausoleums 
    • Shrines 
    • The Baptistery 
    • Caves 
    • Tombstones 


Birgul Acikyildiz is a Research Fellow at the Khalili Research Centre for the Art and Material Culture of the Middle East, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford.

This is a major, innovative study of one of the least known religious communities of the Middle East…[it will] probably long remain the definitive work on Yezidi material culture.
– Martin van Bruinessen, Professor of the Comparative Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies, Utrecht University

A fascinating narrative and photographic journey through Yezidi religion, society and material culture.
– Nelida Fuccaro, Lecturer in Modern History of the Arab Middle East, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

It is particularly gratifying to see the publication of a scholarly work that takes into account both the living tradition and the archaeological and architectural aspects of the Yezidi heritage...A book that makes a real contribution to Yezidi studies.
– Philip G Kreyenbroek, Professor of Iranian Studies, Georg-August University, Göttingen

An invaluable introduction to Yezidi architectural and spiritual history…An indispensable reference book.
– Sebastian Maisel, Assistant Professor for Arabic and Middle East Studies, Grand Valley State University, Allendale

A remarkable and original interdisciplinary work on Yezidi history, religion and material culture.
– Khalil Jindy Rashow, Consular at the Ministry of Iraqi Foreign Affairs, Baghdad

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd

ISBN: 9781848852747
Publication Date: 30 Sep 2010
Number of Pages: 304



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