New PDF release: A History of Zoroastrianism: Volume 1, The Early Period

By Mary Boyce

ISBN-10: 9004104747

ISBN-13: 9789004104747

This quantity is a part of a three-volume paintings tracing the historical past of Zoroastrianism. within the set, literary, archaeological and numismatic facts is drawn on and native advancements are explored. learn is made up of the Zoroastrian contributions to Hellenistic suggestion and to Judaism, Christianity and Mithraism. An excursus offers a reassessment of the Zoroastrian pseudepigrapha.

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To recover the teachings of Zoroaster in their original form is therefore a difficult matter, for the pursuit of which every aid and scrap of evidence is needed. The best guide remains the tradition of his own community, preserved, it seems, with continuity and consistency (despite the developments inevitable in a long transmission) down to the threshold of modern times. This tradition contains doctrines which (because of borrowings) are profoundly familiar to Christian and Muslim, together with others which are wholly strange, being unique to Zoroastrianism; and it is largely the concentration by individual scholars on either the familiar or the unfamiliar which has produced such divergences in interpreting Zoroaster's teachings.

313 ff. 32 THE PAGAN BACKGROUND peer. a is one of the two chief gods of the Rigveda, 69 the other being the deva Indra. He, like Indra, is hailed as universal king (samriij), one whose "ordinances are established" (dhrtavrata), these being obeyed even by the other gods. 7o He was envisaged as holding royal state, clad in golden mantle and shining robe, driving, like Mithra, in a chariot, and having in the highest heaven his golden abode. He was the "all-knowing lord" ( asura visvavedas), ever aware of the deeds of men.

3S With so much to watch over, the god must be ever alert. As it is said in the Veda, "unblinking, Mitra regards the settlements of men" ;3 9 and for this reason it used to be thought, the god came to be associated with the sun which from dawn to dusk makes its own unwinking way above men's heads as they go about their daily affairs. 40 The primary link between divinity and planet is evidently more fundamental than this, however, and arose through an original association of Mithra, lord of the covenant, with fire; for it appears from both the Iranian and Indian sources that it was ancient custom to swear to covenants by Mithra, their personified power, in the presence of fire, 41 which, whether as the flame on the hearth, sustaining 34 Yt.

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A History of Zoroastrianism: Volume 1, The Early Period by Mary Boyce


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