Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Scriptures Are Sacred To Zoroastrianism

What Scriptures Are Sacred To Zoroastrianism Cover The oldest Zoroastrian scripture is the Avesta. It is about a thousand pages long. Some portions, including the Gathas, are in an older dialect called 'Old Avestan' or 'Gathic Avestan'. The major surviving divisions are:

Yasna

Sacred Liturgy and Gathas/Hymns of Zarathushtra

Khorda Avesta

(Book of Common Prayer) including Yashts (hymns to the sacred beings), Niyayeshes (litanies to the sun, Mithra, Water, Fire, and the Moon), Gahs (prayers for the five periods of the day), Afrinagans (ceremonies of blessing), and other prayers

Visperad

Extensions to the Liturgy

Vendidad

Primarily purity laws, myths, and some medical texts

Fragments

The original Avesta canon comprised twenty-two books, (liturgical, historical, medical, legal). Its existence into the 9th century CE is well documented. Since then much of the non-liturgical texts have been lost.

In addition to the Avesta, Zoroastrians have numerous scriptures from the Sassanian period which are written in a middle-Persian dialect called Pahlavi. Many are exegetical Commentaries (called Zand) which translate, summarize and explain the Avesta. The Pahlavi texts also preserve large summaries and Translations of lost Avestan texts. They are considered of lesser authority than the Avesta.

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