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Picture of Martyrdom and Ecstasy

Martyrdom and Ecstasy

Emotion Training in Iranian Culture

Author(s): Sylwia Surdykowska

Book Description

The book is concerned with one of the most important issues in Persian culture, that is to say a broadly conceived idea of sacrifice and martyrdom. At present, it is contained in the concept of shahadat, which arouses much controversy in the Western world today. In successive chapters, the author discusses the origin and evolution of this concept in Persian culture, the process of shaping attitudes conducive to the attainment of readiness for shahadat and the role of this concept in propaganda, as well as presenting its modern-day interpretation.

The basic research material was provided by political and religious publications of contemporary Iranian authors, including Ali Shari‘ati, Morteza Motahhari, Ruhollah Khomeini and Abdolkarim Soroush, who have exerted a significant influence on the formation of the Iranian consciousness. The book is an interdisciplinary publication. The author refers to philology, literary studies, cultural anthropology, social psychology, and, interestingly, to the psychology of emotions in order to explicate the traditional Persian system of upbringing and shaping the readiness for martyrdom and sacrifice. The book shows the idea of shahadat as part of the Persian cultural paradigm, which, due to religious and literary tradition, has influenced the shaping of Iranian identity over the centuries and, as a result, it has affected social and political attitudes of the Iranian people.

The book is mainly directed to Iranologists. Nevertheless, it will also be of interest to anthropologists, psychologists of culture, sociologists and philosophers due to its interdisciplinary character.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-3885-6
ISBN-10: 1-4438-3885-3
Date of Publication: 01/06/2012
Pages / Size: 225 / A5
Price: £39.99


Dr Sylwia Surdykowska received her PhD in Iranian Studies from the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Warsaw. She has stayed in Iran many a time, where she has also conducted research on the system of values and religious consciousness in Persian society. The author deals with the problems bound up with the continuation of traditional (and still employed) educational methods of shaping citizens’ attitudes. She is the author of publications (in Polish and in English) in the area of contemporary political and religious life. At present, Dr Surdykowska is Head of the Department of Iranian Studies at the Faculty of Oriental Studies of the University of Warsaw.