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While she was still young, the family returned to England and she was sent to Wimbledon High School and then to Cheltenham Ladies’ College.
After a short spell in the Land Army during the early years of the war, she went to Newnham College, Cambridge and read English for Part I of her degree, and Archaeology and Anthropology for Part II, graduating with a double first in 1943.
In 1946 Boyce returned to Cambridge and embarked on her doctoral dissertation on “The Parthian hymn cycles” under the joint supervision of Henning and Harold W. Her research was based on the photographs of the Turfan fragments (see TURFAN EXPEDITIONS), which Henning had brought from the Prussian Academy of Sciences (Preussiche Akademie der Wissenschaften) in Berlin.
The documents shed new light on both Manicheism and the Middle Iranian Languages.
The influence of Henning was considerable since he too had studied these fragments.
Boyce was always keen to encourage others to study Zoroastrianism.She was generous with the time she gave to her students, and her tutorials, like those of Henning, could last for hours.She supported, encouraged and where necessary chided all who came to her for help.This enthusiasm was also manifested in her writing, in the two books designed for students: first, her ground-breaking study of Zoroastrianism ( (London, 1979), weaving the narrative from pre-Zoroastrian times down to the present in both India and Iran thus highlighting her conviction of the continuity of the Zoroastrian tradition.Complementing this textbook was a chrestomathy, again both ancient and modern, so that students could read the sources for themselves (, Manchester, 1984; repr., Chicago, 1990).
from Turfan, with additions and corrections to Manichaean hymn-cycles in Parthian,” published in Mitteilungen des Instituts für Orientforschung IV, 2, 1956, pp. Other articles on Manichean topics include, “Sadwēs and Pēsūs,” , 3(2), ed. 31-66) and “The Manichean Literature in middle Iranian,” (pp. Till her demise, it compelled her to work while lying on her back and writing everything by hand.