Thursday, August 16, 2007

Zoroastrianism Defined

Zoroastrianism Defined Cover
Two principles form the basis of Zoroastrian ethics: the maintenance of life and the struggle against evil. In order to maintain life, one must till the soil, raise cattle, marry and have children. Asceticism and celibacy are condemned; purity and avoidance of defilement (from death, demons, etc.) are valued. In order to combat evil, one must at all times oppose the forces of evil and those who side with them. Zoroastrianism stresses monotheism, while recognizing the universal sway of two opposite forces (dualism). The powers of good are led by Ahura Mazda, or Ormazd (the Wise Lord), and the forces of evil by Angra Mainyu or Ahriman (the Evil Spirit). Each side has an array of warriors; bands of angels and archangels on one side and hosts of demons and archfiends on the other. Good will eventually triumph on Judgment Day, when a Messiah and Savior named Saoshyant will appear to punish the wicked and establish the righteous in a paradise on Earth. A central feature of the faith is the sacred fire that is constantly kept burning in every home, fueled by fragrant sandalwood. Fire is considered the only worshipful symbol, the great purifier and sustainer, of the nature of the sun itself.

FOUNDED: Zoroastrianism began 2,600 years ago in ancient Iran.
FOUNDER: Spenta Zarathustra (Zoroaster).
MAJOR SCRIPTURE: Portions of the Zend Avesta (Persian).
ADHERENTS: 125,000, mostly near Mumbai, where they are called Parsis.
SECTS: The present-day sects are three: Shahenshai, Kadmi and Fassali.


When did Zarathushtra live?

According to Bruce Lincoln,

"At present, the majority opinion among scholars probably inclines toward the end of the second millennium or the beginning of the first, although there are still those who hold for a date in the seventh century." (Death, War, and Sacrifice, 1991, pg 150)

Humbach and Ichaporia seem to favor the Xanthos date of 1080 BC but mention the 630 date also. (Heritage, 1994, pg 11).

A commonly given date is the seventh century B.C.E. I think Boyce has convincingly shown the seventh century date to be an error. Humbach also discounts the basis of this calculation in his Gathas 1991 (pg 30). Boyce has wavered on an actual date: between 1400 and 1000 BC (1975), between 1700 and 1500 (1979), around 1400 BC (1988), between 1500 BC & 1200 BC "with the latter more likely" (1992).

Also try this free pdf e-books:

Robert Ambelain - Martinism History And Doctrine
Aleister Crowley - Rosa Decidua
Reeves Hall - Asatru In Brief

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