Mary Boyce

Mary Boyce

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Mary Boyce

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Nora Elisabeth Mary Boyce (2 August 1920, Darjeeling - 4 April 2006) was a British scholar of Iranian languages, and an authority on Zoroastrianism. The Royal Asiatic Society's annual Boyce Prize for outstanding contributions to the study of religion is named after her.

Early years

She was born in Darjeeling where her parents were vacationing to escape the heat of the plains during the summer. Her father, William H. Boyce, was a Judge at the Calcutta high-court, then an institution of the British imperial government. Her mother Nora (née Gardiner) was a granddaughter of the historian Samuel Rawson Gardiner.

Boyce was educated at Wimbledon High School and then Cheltenham Ladies College. At the University of Cambridge, Newnham College, she studied English, archaeology and anthropology, graduating with a double first.

Academic career

In 1944, Boyce joined the faculty of the Royal Holloway College, University of London, where she taught Anglo-Saxon literature and archaeology until 1946. Simultaneously she continued her studies, this time in Persian languages, under the guidance of Vladimir Minorsky at the School of Oriental and African Studies from 1945-47. There she met her future mentor, Walter Bruno Henning, under whose tutelage she began to study Middle Iranian languages.

In 1948, Boyce was appointed lecturer of Iranian Studies at SOAS, specialising in Manichaen, Zoroastrian Middle Persian and Parthian texts. In 1952, she was awarded a doctorate in Oriental Studies from...
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