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Yezidi Stories

The Yezidis is a largely Kurdish-speaking, distinct religious minority living primarily in the Near- & Middle-East, the Caucasus and, recently, also in Europe. This community possesses one of the most elaborate religious, literary traditions, that has been passed on orally for centuries. This tradition is now under severe threat, as its members are fighting for survival in their homelands (Turkey, Syria and Iraq). The Yezidis exiled in the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia) or refuged in Europe often do not have access to this literary heritage. In the absence of a normative, sacred scripture, such as the Bible in Christianity or the Quran in Islam, many of the beliefs of the Yezidis are encapsulated in the orally transmitted canon of religious stories and chants performed traditionally by the privileged, endogamous classes of Sheikhs and Pirs (spiritual leaders / guidesmen of the community) and dedicated singers (Qewwal). It is only in the late 70’s of the previous century that parts of this tradition were published and Western researchers gradually realized their importance in the understanding of aspects of Yezidi religion. Further publications have been published, but a systematic analysis and interpretation of this canon, also with regard to the (inter)religious position of the Yezidis in the Middle East, is still lacking. This blog will serve as a platform of discussion among those interested in this corpus of religious texts of the Yezidis, keeping them also updated about new publications, conferences and talks on this subject.