Mahnaz Moazami


Dr. Mahnaz Moazami received her Ph.D. in History of Religions from Sorbonne University’s School for Advanced Study in Religion Sciences, following her graduation with an M.Phil. in Comparative Anthropology of Religions with a focus on Africa, America, the Mediterranean, and the Far East. She also holds an M.A. in Old and Middle Iranian Languages from the Department of Literature at the University of Tehran, Iran.

Her primary research areas encompass the history, languages, and religions of ancient Iran with a focus on Sasanian period. Before joining the UCLA’s Yarshater Center for the Study of Iranian Literary Traditions, Dr. Moazami served as an Associate Editor at the Encyclopaedia Iranica, a project affiliated with Columbia University until July 2023.

She is the author or editor of several books, including Wrestling with the Demons of the Pahlavi Widēwdād, a significant source for understanding Zoroastrian purification laws (Brill, 2014); Zoroastrianism: A Collection of Articles from the Encyclopaedia Iranica (EIF, 2016); and Laws of Ritual Purity: Zand ī Fragard ī Jud-Dēw-Dād, A Commentary on the Chapters of the Widēwdād, which provides insight into developments in Sasanian intellectual life in the fifth-sixth centuries CE (Brill, 2021).

Building on her extensive academic background, Dr. Moazami is currently engaged in researching the unique features of Iranian pandemonium through a comprehensive study of Avestan and Middle Persian texts. These texts offer invaluable insights into how spiritual authorities in the 4th-6th centuries constructed religious legal discourse surrounding demons and monsters, and how these authorities responded to or appropriated methods, sometimes derived from other cultures, to control and restrain the demonic.

She has held post-doctoral research fellowships at Harvard and Yale universities and has shared her expertise by teaching courses at various institutions, including the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies of Yeshiva University and Columbia University’s Department of Religion.