Over the past few years, it has become evident in the studies of the Avesta that some of its once sharply distinguished textual and text-sociological categories have to be regarded as more fluid ones. Thus, the legitimacy of the formerly postulated rigid split of the Avestan texts into texts of the priests and texts of the laity is questionable to a certain extent. In a historical perspective, the texts of the so-called Avesta of the laity (the Xorde Avesta) are in themselves, at least in large parts, the remains of priestly liturgies. Therefore, the task that remains today is to describe of transmission of the Avesta as a concrete textual history. This history is based on the priests and the laity and on the interplay of both groups, but it also depends on the radical political and religious changes in the first millennium BC and AD.
It is the purpose of this workshop to examine the historical and systematic relation between the texts of the priests and those of the laity in Zoroastrianism. Furthermore, the workshop should also give an impetus for (more or less neglected) sociological research of the Zoroastrian religion. Last but not least, circumstances underlying the Zoroastrian textual materials should be compared with those of the other important religion in (late) antique Iran, Manichaeism.