Pehlevi (Valor, Power) is the name of an ancient West-Iranian (Median and Persian) idiom, in use chiefly during the period of the Sassanidee (A.D. 235-640), who, wishing fully to restore the ancient Persian empire, endeavored also to reinstate the primitive national language, fallen into disuse as a court-language since the time of Alexander's conquest. Yet they did not fix upon the pure Persian as it was still spoken in the interior, but upon the dialect of the western provinces. largely mixed with Shemitic words, to which Aryan terminations were affixed. The grammatical structure of the Pehlevi presents almost the same poverty of inflections and terminations as the present Persian. Although, however, less rich than Zend (q.v.) in inflection and accentuation, it yet boasts of the same copiousness of words as that dialect, to which it in reality succeeded. It is written from right to left, and the letters are mostly joined. The remnants of Pehlevi extant consist of coins, inscriptions (found at Hajiabad, Persepolis, Kirmanshah, etc.), and a number of books, all relating to the religion of Zoroaster. The most important of these are the translation of the chief part of the Zend-Avesta (Yazna, Visparad, and Vendidad), and such original religious works as the Bundehesh, Shikandgumani, Dinkart, Atash Baram, etc. The Pehlevi of the books differs from that of the inscriptions and coins to such a degree-according to the larger or smaller preponderance of the Shemitic element — as to have misled investigators (Westergaard and others) to assume that two utterly distinct languages, a purely Iranic and a Shemitic one, had been used somewhat indiscriminately at the time. The non-Iranian element is called Huzvaresh (Huzfiresh) by the Parsee priests, who, taking advantage of the ambiguity of the Pehlevi alphabet, often substitute the corresponding Persian for the foreign words. The Iranian part of the Pehlevi differs little from the Persian of our own day, and, in fact, the Pehlevi changed first into Parsee, and subsequently into modern Persian, simply by getting rid first of its Chaldee and then of those of its Iranian words which had become obsolete. The chief use of the Pehlevi dialect at present is the assistance it offers towards the elucidation. of the Zend itself. SEE PERSIA.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.