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Encyclopedia > Zoroastrianism
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Zoroastrianism


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Primary topics

Zoroastrianism / Mazdaism
Ahura Mazda
Zarathustra (Zoroaster)
aša (asha) / arta Image File history File links Faravahar. ... Ahura Mazda () is the Avestan language name for a divinity exalted by Zoroaster as the one uncreated Creator, hence God. ... Zoroaster (Greek Ζωροάστρης, ZōroastrÄ“s) or Zarathustra (Avestan: ZaraθuÅ¡tra), also referred to as Zartosht (Persian: ; Kurdish: ), was an ancient Iranian prophet and religious poet. ... In Vedic Sanskrit, Rta literally means the course of things. ...

Angels and demons

Overview of the Angels
Amesha Spentas · Yazatas
Ahuras · Daevas
Angra Mainyu Zoroastrian angelology is branch of Zoroastrian doctrine that deals with the hierarchical system of divinities introduced by the reforms of Zarathustra (Zoroaster). ... In Zoroastrianism, Amesha Spentas are the Holy Immortals, the equivalent of Archangels in Christian theology. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Zoroastrian angelology. ... Ahura is the Avestan language designation for a class of divinity, adopted by Zarathustra (Zoroaster) from prehistoric proto-Indo-Iranian religion. ... The Daeva are a fictional clan of vampires in the role-playing game Vampire: The Requiem, published by White Wolf Game Studio . ... Angra Mainyu is the Avestan language name of the hypostasis of the destructive spirit. The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman. ...

Scripture and worship

Avesta · Gathas
Vendidad
The Ahuna Vairya Invocation
Fire Temples
See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ... The Gathas (Gāθās) are the most sacred of the texts of the Zoroastrian faith, and are traditionally believed to have been composed by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) himself. ... See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Faravahar, believed to be a depiction of a Farvashi, as mentioned in the Yasna, Yashts and Vendidad The Avesta is a collection of the sacred texts of the Mazdaist (Zoroastrian) religion. ... Ahuna Vairya is the Avestan language name of the most sacred of the Gathic hymns of the Avesta, the revered texts of Zoroastrianism. ... A Zoroastrian Fire Temple is a place of worship for Zoroastrians. ...

Accounts and legends

Dēnkard · Bundahišn
Book of Arda Viraf
Book of Jamasp
Story of Sanjan
The Denkard is the largest encyclopedia of Zoroastrianism written in 9th century. ... Category: ... The Book of Arda Viraf is a Zoroastrian religious text which describes the dream-journey of a devout Zoroastrian through the next world. ... The Jamasp Nameh (var: Jāmāsp Nāmag, Jāmāsp Nāmeh, Story of Jamasp) is a Middle Persian book of revelations. ... The Qissa-i Sanjan (or Kisse-i Sanjan, the Story of Sanjan) is an account of the early years of Zoroastrian settlers on the Indian subcontinent. ...

History and culture

Zurvanism
Calendar · Festivals
Marriage
Eschatology
Zurvan is the Persian god of infinite time, space and fate. ... The Zoroastrian calendar is a religious calendar used by members of the Zoroastrian faith, and it is an approximation of the (tropical) solar calendar. ... Zoroastrianism has numerous festivals and holy days, all of which are bound to the Zoroastrian calendar. ... In the Zoroastrian faith marriage is encouraged, an institution greatly favoured by the religious texts[1]. As of such, a Zoroastrian Wedding is a cause for celebration. ... Zoroastrianism eschatology is the oldest eschatology in recorded history. ...

Adherents

Zoroastrians in Iran
Parsis · Iranis
• • •
Persecution of Zoroastrians Zoroastrian Fire Temple in Yazd Zoroastrians in Iran have had a long history, being the oldest religious community of that nation to survive to the present-day. ... This article is about the Parsi community. ... Irani is a term used to denote Indian Zoroastrians whose ancestors emigrated from Iran within the last two centuries, as opposed to the longer residing Parsis. ... The persecution of Zoroastrians has been common since the fall of the Sassanid Empire and the rule of Umayyad Arab empire that replaced it. ...

See also

Index of Related Articles

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Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht). Mazdaism is the religion that acknowledges the divine authority of Ahura Mazda, proclaimed by Zoroaster. Zoroaster (Greek Ζωροάστρης, Zōroastrēs) or Zarathustra (Avestan: Zaraθuštra), also referred to as Zartosht (Persian: ; Kurdish: ), was an ancient Iranian prophet and religious poet. ... Ahura Mazda () is the Avestan language name for a divinity exalted by Zoroaster as the one uncreated Creator, hence God. ...


As demonstrated by Zoroastrianistic creed and articles of faith, the two terms are effectively synonymous. In a declaration of the creed — the Fravarānē — the adherent states: "…I profess myself a devotee of Mazda, a follower of Zarathustra." (Yasna 12.2, 12.8) Articles of faith are formal creeds, or lists of beliefs, sometimes numbered, and often beginning with We believe. ... See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ...


While Zoroastrianism was once the dominant religion of much of Greater Iran, the number of adherents has dwindled to not more than 200,000 Zoroastrians worldwide, with concentrations in India and Iran (see demographics below). After Islamic Conquest  Modern SSR = Soviet Socialist Republic Afghanistan  Azerbaijan  Bahrain  Iran  Iraq  Tajikistan  Uzbekistan  This box:      Greater Iran (in Persian: Irān-e Bozorg, or Irān-zamÄ«n; the Encyclopedia Iranica uses the term Iranian Cultural Continent[1]) is a term for the Iranian plateau in addition to...

Contents

Terminology

The term Zoroastrianism was first attested by the Oxford English Dictionary in 1874 in Archibald Sayce's Principles of Comparative Philology. The first surviving reference to Zoroaster in Western scholarship is attributed to Thomas Browne (1605–1682), who briefly refers to the prophet in his 1643 Religio Medici. The OED records 1743 (Warburton, Pope's Essay) as the earliest reference to Zoroaster. The Oxford English Dictionary print set The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a dictionary published by the Oxford University Press (OUP), and is the most successful dictionary of the English language, (not to be confused with the one-volume Oxford Dictionary of English, formerly New Oxford Dictionary of English, of... The Rev. ... Sir Thomas Browne (October 19, 1605 – October 19, 1682) was an English author of varied works that disclose his wide learning in diverse fields including medicine, religion, science and the esoteric. ... Religio Medici (The Religion of a Doctor) is a book by Sir Thomas Browne, which sets out his spiritual testament and a psychological self-portrait. ... OED stands for Oxford English Dictionary Office of Enrollment & Discipline This page concerning a three-letter acronym or abbreviation is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


The term Mazdaism (pronounced /ˈmæzdəɪzəm/) is a typical 19th century construct, taking Mazda- from the name Ahura Mazda and adding the suffix -ism to suggest a belief system. The March 2001 draft edition of the OED also records an alternate form, Mazdeism, perhaps derived from the French Mazdéisme, which first appeared in 1871. The Zoroastrian name of the religion is Mazdayasna, which combines Mazda- with the Avestan language word yasna, meaning "worship, devotion". Ahura Mazda () is the Avestan language name for a divinity exalted by Zoroaster as the one uncreated Creator, hence God. ... OED stands for Oxford English Dictionary Office of Enrollment & Discipline This page concerning a three-letter acronym or abbreviation is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Avestan is an Eastern Old Iranian language that was used to compose the sacred hymns and canon of the Zoroastrian Avesta. ... See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ...


In the English language, an adherent of the faith commonly refers to him- or herself as a Zoroastrian or, less commonly, a Zarathustrian. An older, but still widespread expression is Behdin, meaning "follower of Daena", for which "Good Religion" is one translation. In the Zoroastrian liturgy, the term Behdin is also used as a title for an individual who has been formally inducted into the religion (see navjote for details). The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Look up good in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A liturgy is the customary public worship of a religious group, according to their particular traditions. ... Parsi Navjote ceremony The Navjote or Sedreh pushi ceremony is the Zoroastrian ritual in which an individual is inducting into the religion. ...


Distinguishing characteristics

Basic beliefs

Fire holds an important role for Zoroastrians.
Fire holds an important role for Zoroastrians.
  • There is one universal and transcendental God, Ahura Mazda, the one Uncreated Creator to whom all worship is ultimately directed.
  • Ahura Mazda's creation — evident as asha, truth and order — is the antithesis of chaos, evident as druj, falsehood and disorder. The resulting conflict involves the entire universe, including humanity, which has an active role to play in the conflict.
  • Active participation in life through good thoughts, good words and good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep the chaos at bay. This active participation is a central element in Zoroaster's concept of free will, and Zoroastrianism rejects all forms of monasticism.
  • Ahura Mazda will ultimately prevail, at which point the universe will undergo a cosmic renovation and time will end (cf: Zoroastrian eschatology). In the final renovation, all of creation — even the souls of the dead that were initially banished to "darkness" — will be reunited in Ahura Mazda.
  • In Zoroastrian tradition the malevolent is represented by Angra Mainyu, the "Destructive Principle", while the benevolent is represented through Ahura Mazda's Spenta Mainyu, the instrument or "Bounteous Principle" of the act of creation. It is through Spenta Mainyu that Ahura Mazda is immanent in humankind, and through which the Creator interacts with the world. According to Zoroastrian cosmology, in articulating the Ahuna Vairya formula Ahura Mazda made His ultimate triumph evident to Angra Mainyu.
  • As expressions and aspects of Creation, Ahura Mazda emanated seven "sparks", the Amesha Spentas ("Bounteous Immortals"), that are each the hypostasis and representative of one aspect of that Creation. These Amesha Spenta are in turn assisted by a league of lesser principles, the Yazatas, each "Worthy of Worship" and each again a hypostasis of a moral or physical aspect of creation.

Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 450 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1200 × 1600 pixel, file size: 193 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 450 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1200 × 1600 pixel, file size: 193 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Ahura Mazda () is the Avestan language name for a divinity exalted by Zoroaster as the one uncreated Creator, hence God. ... In Vedic Sanskrit, Rta literally means the course of things. ... Look up Antithesis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Free-Will is a Japanese independent record label founded in 1986. ... Monasticism (from Greek: monachos — a solitary person) is the religious practice in which one renounces worldly pursuits in order to fully devote ones life to spiritual work. ... Zoroastrianism eschatology is the oldest eschatology in recorded history. ... Angra Mainyu is the Avestan language name of the hypostasis of the destructive spirit. The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman. ... In Zoroastrianism, Amesha Spentas are the Holy Immortals, the equivalent of Archangels in Christian theology. ... Ahuna Vairya is the Avestan language name of the most sacred of the Gathic hymns of the Avesta, the revered texts of Zoroastrianism. ... In Zoroastrianism, Amesha Spentas are the Holy Immortals, the equivalent of Archangels in Christian theology. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Zoroastrian angelology. ...

Other characteristics

  • The symbol of fire: The energy of the creator is represented in Zoroastrianism by fire and the Sun, which are both enduring, radiant, pure and life sustaining. Zoroastrians usually pray in front of some form of fire (or any source of light). (It is important to note that fire is not worshiped by Zoroastrians, but is used simply as symbol and a point of focus, much like the crucifix in Catholicism. For details, see Fire temple)
  • Proselytizing and conversion: Parsi Zoroastrians do not proselytize. In recent years, however, Zoroastrian communities in Iran, Europe and the Americas have been more tolerant towards conversion. While this move has not been supported officially by the priesthood in Mumbai, India, it has been endorsed by the Council of Mobeds in Tehran.
  • Inter-faith marriages: As in many other faiths, Zoroastrians are strongly encouraged to marry others of the same faith, but this is not a requirement of the religion itself. Some members of the Indian Zoroastrian community (the Parsis) contend that a child must have a Parsi father to be eligible for introduction into the faith, but this assertion is considered by most to be a violation of the Zoroastrian tenets of gender equality, and may be a remnant of an old legal definition (since overruled) of Parsi. However, to this day, some priests will not perform the Navjote ceremony — i.e. the rites of admission into the religion — for children of mixed-marriages, irrespective of which parent is a non-Parsi. This issue is a matter of great debate within the Parsi community, but with the increasingly global nature of modern society and the dwindling number of Zoroastrians, such opinions are less vociferous than they were previously.
  • Death and burial: Religious rituals related to death are all concerned with the person's soul and not the body. Zoroastrians believe that on the fourth day after death the human soul leaves the body and the body remains as an empty shell. Traditionally, Zoroastrians disposed of their dead by leaving them atop open-topped enclosures, called Towers of Silence, or Dokhmas. Vultures and the weather would clean the flesh off the bones, which were then placed into an ossuary at the center of the Tower (usually a well). Fire and Earth were considered too sacred for the dead to be placed in them. While this practice is continued in India by some Parsis, it had ended by the beginning of the twentieth century in Iran. In India, burial and cremation are becoming increasingly popular alternatives.

A Zoroastrian Fire Temple is a place of worship for Zoroastrians. ... This article is about the Parsi community. ... Proselytism is the practice of attempting to convert people to another opinion, usually another religion. ... Parsi Navjote ceremony The Navjote or Sedreh pushi ceremony is the Zoroastrian ritual in which an individual is inducting into the religion. ... A late 19th century engraving of a Zoroastrian Tower of Silence in Mumbai. ... Ossuary in Hallstatt (see the article for details). ...

History

Classical Antiquity

Although older (9th/10th century BCE, see Zoroaster), Zoroastrianism only enters recorded history in the mid-5th century BCE. Herodotus' The Histories (completed c. 440 BCE) includes a description of Greater Iranian society with what may be recognizably Zoroastrian features, including exposure of the dead. (See Towers of Silence). Herodotus of Halicarnassus (Greek: HÄ“ródotos Halikarnāsseús) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC (ca. ... The Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus is considered the first work of history in Western literature. ... After Islamic Conquest  Modern SSR = Soviet Socialist Republic Afghanistan  Azerbaijan  Bahrain  Iran  Iraq  Tajikistan  Uzbekistan  This box:      Greater Iran (in Persian: Irān-e Bozorg, or Irān-zamÄ«n; the Encyclopedia Iranica uses the term Iranian Cultural Continent[1]) is a term for the Iranian plateau in addition to... A late 19th century engraving of a Zoroastrian Tower of Silence in Mumbai. ...


Perhaps more importantly, The Histories is a primary source of information on the early period of the Achaemenid era (648–330 BCE), in particular with respect to the role of the Magi. According to Herodotus i.101, the Magi were the sixth tribe of the Medians (until the unification of the Persian empire under Cyrus the Great, all Iranians were referred to as Mede or Mada by the peoples of the Ancient World), who appear to have been the priestly caste of the Mesopotamian-influenced branch of Zoroastrianism today known as Zurvanism, and who wielded considerable influence at the courts of the Median emperors. Founder of empires: Cyrus, The Great is still revered in modern Iran as he was in all the successor Persian Empires. ... For other uses, see Magi (disambiguation). ... “Cyrus” redirects here. ... Zurvan is the Persian god of infinite time, space and fate. ... Mede nobility. ...


Following the unification of the Median and Persian empires in 550 BCE Cyrus II and later his son Cambyses II curtailed the powers of the Magi after they had attempted to seed dissent following their loss of influence. In 522 BCE the Magi revolted and set up a rival claimant to the throne. The usurper, pretending to be Cyrus' younger son Smerdis, took power shortly thereafter. Owing to the despotic rule of Cambyses and his long absence in Egypt, "the whole people, Persians, Medes and all the other nations" acknowledged the usurper, especially as he granted a remission of taxes for three years (Herodotus iii. 68). “Cyrus” redirects here. ... Cambyses II (Persian Kambujiya), was the name borne by the son of Cyrus the Great. ... Smerdis was a Persian king of infamous memory. ...

According to the Behistun Inscription pseudo-Smerdis ruled for seven months before being overthrown by Darius I in 521 BCE. The "Magi", though persecuted, continued to exist. A year following the death of the first pseudo-Smerdis (named Gaumata), a second pseudo-Smerdis (named Vahyazdāta) attempted a coup. The coup, though initially successful, failed. ImageMetadata File history File links Darius_I_the_Greats_inscription. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Darius_I_the_Greats_inscription. ... The Behistun Inscription, carved into a cliffside, gives the same text in three languages, telling the story of King Darius conquests, with the names of twenty-three provinces subject to him. ... The Behistun Inscription, carved into a cliffside, gives the same text in three languages, telling the story of King Darius conquests, with the names of twenty-three provinces subject to him. ... Seal of Darius I, showing the king hunting on his chariot, and the symbol of Ahuramazda Darius the Great (Pers. ...


Whether Cyrus II was a Zoroastrian is subject to debate. It did however influence him to the extent that it became the non-imposing religion of his empire, and its beliefs would later allow Cyrus to free the Jews from captivity and allow them to return to Judea when the emperor took Babylon in 539 BCE. Darius I was certainly a devotee of Ahura Mazda, as attested to several times in the Behistun inscription. But whether he was a follower of Zoroaster has not been conclusively established, since devotion to Ahura Mazda was (at the time) not necessarily an indication of an adherence to Zoroaster's teaching. Map of the southern Levant, c. ... For other uses, see Babylon (disambiguation). ... Ahura Mazda () is the Avestan language name for a divinity exalted by Zoroaster as the one uncreated Creator, hence God. ...


Darius I and later Achaemenid emperors, though acknowledging their devotion to Ahura Mazda in inscriptions, appear to have permitted religions to coexist. Nonetheless, it was during the Achaemenid period that Zoroastrianism gained momentum. A number of the Zoroastrian texts that today are part of the greater compendium of the Avesta have been attributed to that period. It was also during the later Achaemenid era that many of the divinities and divine concepts of proto-Indo-Iranian religion(s) were incorporated in Zoroastrianism, in particular those to whom the days of the month of the Zoroastrian calendar are dedicated. This calendar is still used today, a fact that is attributed to the Achaemenid period. Additionally, the divinities, or yazatas, are present-day Zoroastrian angels. (Dhalla, 1938). The Persepolis Ruins The Achaemenid dynasty (Old Persian:Hakamanishiya, Persian: هخامنشیان) - was a dynasty in the ancient Persian Empire. ... See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ... The Zoroastrian calendar is a religious calendar used by members of the Zoroastrian faith, and it is an approximation of the (tropical) solar calendar. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Zoroastrian angelology. ... This article is about the supernatural being. ...


Almost nothing is known of the status of Zoroastrianism under the Seleucids and Parthians who ruled over Persia following Alexander the Great's invasion in 330 BCE. According to later Zoroastrian legend (Denkard, Book of Arda Viraf), many sacred texts were lost when Alexander's troops invaded Persepolis and subsequently destroyed the royal library there. Diodorus Siculus's Bibliotheca historia completed c. 60 BCE, which is to a great extent an encapsulation of earlier works, appears to substantiate Zoroastrian legend (Diod. 17.72.2–17.72.6). According to one archaeological examination, the ruins of the palace of Xerxes bear traces of having been burned (Stolze, 1882). Whether a vast collection of (semi-)religious texts "written on parchment in gold ink", as suggested by the Denkard, actually existed remains a matter of speculation, but is unlikely. Given that many of the Denkards statements-as-fact have since been refuted among scholars, the tale of the library is widely accepted to be fictional. (Kellens, 2002) Seleucus I Nicator (Nicator, the Victor) (around 358–281 BC) was one of Alexander the Greats generals who, after Alexanders death in 323 BC, founded the Seleucid Empire. ... Reproduction of a Parthian warrior as depicted on Trajans Column The Parthian Empire was the dominating force on the Iranian plateau beginning in the late 3rd century BCE, and intermittently controlled Mesopotamia between ca 190 BCE and 224 CE. Origins Bust of Parthian soldier, Esgh-abad Museum, Turkmenia. ... For the film of the same name, see Alexander the Great (1956 film). ... The Denkard is the largest encyclopedia of Zoroastrianism written in 9th century. ... The Book of Arda Viraf is a Zoroastrian religious text which describes the dream-journey of a devout Zoroastrian through the next world. ... This article is about the ancient city. ... Diodorus Siculus (c. ... Xerxes I (خشایارشاه), was a Persian king (reigned 485 - 465 BC) of the Achaemenid dynasty. ...


Zoroastrianism had a significant influence on Greek and Roman philosophy. Several ancient Greek writers such as Eudoxus of Cnidus and Latin writers such as Pliny the Elder praised Zoroastrian philosophy as "the most famous and most useful". Plato learned of Zoroastrian philosophy through Eudoxus and incorporated some of its teachings into his own Platonic realism.[1] In the 3rd century BC, however, Colotes accused Plato's The Republic of plagiarizing parts of Zoroaster's On Nature, such as the Myth of Er.[2][3] Plato's contemporary, Heraclides Ponticus, wrote a text called Zoroaster based on Zoroaster's philosophy in order to express his disagreement with Plato on natural philosophy.[4] For the book by Bertrand Russell, see History of Western Philosophy (Russell) Philosophy has a long history conventionally divided into three large eras: the Ancient, Medieval and Modern. ... Beginning of Homers Odyssey The Ancient Greek language is the historical stage of the Greek language[1] as it existed during the Archaic (9th–6th centuries BC) and Classical (5th–4th centuries BC) periods in Ancient Greece. ... Another article concerns Eudoxus of Cyzicus. ... For other uses, see Latins and Latin (disambiguation). ... Pliny the Elder: an imaginative 19th Century portrait. ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... Platonic realism is a philosophical term usually used to refer to the idea of realism regarding the existence of universals after the Greek philosopher Plato who lived between c. ... Colotes (in Greek Koλωτης; lived 3rd century BC), of Lampsacus, was a hearer of Epicurus, and one of the most famous of his disciples. ... The Republic (Greek: ) is a Socratic dialogue by Plato, written approximately 360 BC. It is an influential work of philosophy and political theory, and perhaps Platos best known work. ... The Myth of Er is an analogy used in Platos Republic. ... Heraclides Ponticus (387 - 312 BCE), also known as Heraklides, was a Greek philosopher who lived and died at Heraclea, now Eregli, Turkey. ... Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature, known in Latin as philosophia naturalis, is a term applied to the objective study of nature and the physical universe that was regnant before the development of modern science. ...


Late antiquity

When the Sassanid dynasty came into power in 228 CE, they aggressively promoted the Zurvanite form of Zoroastrianism and in some cases persecuted Christians and Manichaeans. When the Sassanids captured territory, they often built fire temples there to promote their religion. The Sassanids were suspicious of Christians not least because of their perceived ties to the Christian Roman Empire. Thus, those Christians loyal to the Patriarchate of Babylon — which had broken with Roman Christianity when the latter condemned Nestorianism — were tolerated and even sometimes favored by the Sassanids. Nestorians lived in large numbers in Mesopotamia and Khuzestan during this period. The Sassanid Empire in the time of Shapur I; the conquest of Cappadocia was temporary Official language Pahlavi (Middle Persian) Dominant Religion Zoroastrianism Capital Ctesiphon Sovereigns Shahanshah of the Iran (Eranshahr) First Ruler Ardashir I Last Ruler Yazdegerd III Establishment 224 AD Dissolution 651 AD Part of the History of... Zurvan is the Persian god of infinite time, space and fate. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Relation to other religions Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. ... Manichean priests, writing at their desk, with panel inscription in Sogdian. ... For other uses, see Roman Empire (disambiguation). ... The Patriarch of Babylon, also called the Assyrian Patriarch, is the leader of the Assyrian Church of the East. ... Nestorianism is the doctrine that Jesus exists as two persons, the man Jesus and the divine Son of God, or Logos, rather than as a unified person. ... Mesopotamia was a cradle of civilization geographically located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq. ... Map showing Khuzestan in Iran Domes like this are quite common in Khuzestan province. ...


A form of Zoroastrianism was apparently also the chief religion of pre-Christian Caucasus region, or at least was prominent there. During periods of Sassanid suzerainty over the Caucasus the Sassanids made attempts to promote the religion there as well. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Caucasus Mountains. ...


Well before the 6th century Zoroastrianism had spread to northern China via the Silk Road, gaining official status in a number of Chinese states. Remains of Zoroastrian temples have been found in Kaifeng and Zhenjiang, and according to some scholars,[attribution needed] remained as late as the 1130s, but by the 13th century the religion had faded from prominence in China. However, many scholars[attribution needed] assert the influence of Zoroastrianism (as well as later Manicheism) on elements of Buddhism, especially in terms of light symbolism. For other uses, see Silk Road (disambiguation). ... Kaifeng (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Kāifēng; Wade-Giles: Kai-feng), formerly known as Bianliang (汴梁; Wade-Giles: Pien-liang), is a prefecture-level city in eastern Henan province, Peoples Republic of China. ... Zhenjiang (Simplified Chinese: 镇江; Traditional Chinese: 鎮江; pinyin: Zhènjiāng; Wade-Giles: Chen-chiang) is a prefecture-level city in the southwestern Jiangsu province, Peoples Republic of China. ... Manichaeism was one of the major ancient religions. ...


Middle Ages

In the 7th century the Sassanid dynasty was overthrown by the Arabs. Although some of the later rulers had Zoroastrian shrines destroyed, generally Zoroastrians were included as People of the Book and allowed to practice their religion. Mass conversions to Islam were not imposed,[5] in accordance with Islamic law, though some scholars debate the validity of these claims.[6] However, there was a slow but steady social pressure to convert.[7] The nobility and city-dwellers were the first to convert, with Islam more slowly being accepted among the peasantry and landed gentry.[8] It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Islamic conquest of Afghanistan. ... This article is about the theological concept in Islam. ...


Many Zoroastrians fled, among them several groups who eventually migrated to the western shores of the Indian subcontinent where they finally settled. According to the Qissa-i Sanjan "Story of Sanjan", the only existing account of the early years of Zoroastrian refugees in India, the immigrants originated from (greater) Khorasan. The descendants of those and other settlers, who are today known as the Parsis, founded the Indian cities of Sanjan and Navsari, which are said to have been named after the cities of their origin: Sanjan (near Merv, in present-day Turkmenistan) and the eponymous Sari (in modern Mazandaran, Iran). (Kotwal, 2004) The Qissa-i Sanjan (or Kisse-i Sanjan, the Story of Sanjan) is an account of the early years of Zoroastrian settlers on the Indian subcontinent. ... Friday Mosque in Herat, Afghanistan, a city which was known in the past as the Pearl of Khorasan. ... This article is about the Parsi community. ... Sanjan is the second station in Gujarat (the first station is Umergaon) just inside the Gujarat-Maharashtra border, when travelling on the Western Railway line. ... , Navsari (Gujarati: નવસારી) is a city and a municipality in the Indian state of Gujarat. ... Sanjan was an ancient city in Greater Khorasan, a realm in northeastern Iran, in the vicinity of the historically eminent city of Merv. ... Merv (Russian: Мерв, from Persian: مرو, Marv, sometimes transliterated Marw or Mary; cf. ... Sari is the capital city of the Iranian province of Mazandaran in northern Iran. ... Mazandaran (Persian: مازندران) is a province in northern Iran, bordering the Caspian (Mazandaran) Sea in the north. ...

Zoroastrian school children in Kerman, 1903.
Zoroastrian school children in Kerman, 1903.

In the centuries following the fall of the Sassanid Empire Zoroastrianism began to gradually return to the form it had had under the Achaemenids, and no evidence of what is today called the "Zurvan Heresy" exists beyond the 10th century. (Boyce, 2002) Ironically, it was Zurvanism and Zurvan-influenced texts that first reached the west, leading to the supposition that Zoroastrianism was a religion with two deities: Zurvan and Ahura Mazda (the latter being opposed by Angra Mainyu). Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... For the U.S. city, see Kerman, California. ... Angra Mainyu is the Avestan language name of the hypostasis of the destructive spirit. The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman. ...


Modern era

Today there are significantly fewer Zoroastrians than there once were. Over the centuries adherents of the faith have dispersed in all directions, but greater concentrations of Zoroastrians may still be found on the Indian subcontinent and in Iran. Map of South Asia (see note) This article deals with the geophysical region in Asia. ...


Relation to other religions and cultures

Zoroastrianism is uniquely important in the history of religion because of its possible formative links to both Western and Eastern religious traditions. As "the oldest of the revealed credal religions", Zoroastrianism "probably had more influence on mankind [sic] directly or indirectly than any other faith".[9] Religions, sects and denominations Note that the classification hereunder is only one of several possible. ... Religions, sects and denominations Note that the classification hereunder is only one of several possible. ... The credo (Latin for I believe; pronounced ) is a statement of religious belief, such as the Nicene Creed (or, less often, another creed, such as the Apostles Creed). ...


It has been asserted[10][11] that key concepts of Zoroastrian eschatology and demonology had influence on the Abrahamic religions. However, Boyce[12] and other Iranists also note that Zoroastrianism itself inherited ideas from other belief systems and, like other practiced religions, accommodates some degree of syncretism. For example, one of the popular strains within Zoroastrianism considers (the representation of) evil to have been one of God's creations (that subsequently turned from God). This idea of a unity of a creative principle is a relatively recent development and directly attributed to influence from Christianity, specifically, the impact of Protestant missionaries on the Indian subcontinent during the 19th century (see Angra Mainyu in present-day Zoroastrianism for details). Zoroastrianism eschatology is the oldest eschatology in recorded history. ... Demonology is the systematic study of demons or beliefs about demons. ... Symbols of the three main Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam Map showing the prevalence of Abrahamic (purple) and Eastern (yellow) religions in each country. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Angra Mainyu is the Avestan language name of the hypostasis of the destructive spirit. The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman. ...


Many traits of Zoroastrianism can be traced back to the culture and beliefs of the prehistorical Indo-Iranian period, that is, to the time before the migrations that led to the (North-)Indians and Iranians becoming distinct peoples. Zoroastrianism consequently shares elements with the historical Vedic religion that also has its origins in that era. However, Zoroastrianism was also strongly affected by the later culture of the Iranian Heroic Age (1500 BCE onwards), an influence that the Indic religions were not subject to. Moreover, the other culture groups that the respective peoples came to interact with were different, for instance in 6th-4th century BCE Western Iran with Fertile Crescent culture, with each side absorbing ideas from the other. Such inter-cultural influences notwithstanding, Zoroastrian scripture is essentially a product of (Indo)Iranian culture, and—representing the oldest and largest corpus pre-Islamic Iranian ideology—is considered a reflection of that culture. Then, together with the Vedas, which represent the oldest texts of the Indian branch of Indo-Iranian culture, it is possible to reconstruct some facets of prototypical Indo-Iranian beliefs. Since these two groups of sources also represent the oldest non-fragmentary evidence of Indo-European languages, the analysis of them also motivated attempts to characterise an even earlier Proto-Indo-European religion, and in turn influenced various unifying hypotheses like those of Carl Gustav Jung or James George Frazer. Although these unifying notions deeply influenced the modernists of the late 19th- and early 20th century, they have not fared well under the scrutiny of more recent interdisciplinary peer review. The study of pre-Islamic Iran has itself undergone a radical change in direction since the 1950s, and the field is today disinclined to speculation. The Indo-Aryans are a wide collection of peoples united by their common status as speakers of the Indo-Aryan (Indic/Indian) branch of the family of Indo-European and Indo-Iranian languages. ... This article discusses the historical religious practices in the Vedic time period; see Dharmic religions for details of contemporary religious practices. ... In 20th century studies of oral poetry and traditional literature, the Heroic Age was postulated as a stage in the development of human societies likely to give rise to legends about heroic deeds. ... This map shows the extent of the Fertile Crescent. ... Veda redirects here. ... Proto-Indo-Iranian religion is the term for the religion and beliefs of the Proto-Indo-Iranians, that is, the common predecessor of the various Indo-Iranian peoples. ... For other uses, see Indo-European. ... Ancient anthropomorphic Ukrainian stone stela (Kernosovka stela), possibly depicting a late Proto-Indo-European god, most likely Dyeus The existence of similarities among the deities and religious practices of the Indo-European peoples allows glimpses of a common Proto-Indo-European religion and mythology. ... Carl Gustav Jung Carl Gustav Jung (July 26, 1875 – June 6, 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and founder of the neopsychoanalytic school of psychology. ... Sir James George Frazer (January 1, 1854 - May 7, 1941), a social anthropologist influential in the early stages of the modern studies of mythology and comparative religion, was born in Glasgow, Scotland. ... For Christian theological modernism, see Liberal Christianity and Modernism (Roman Catholicism). ...


Zoroastrianism is often compared with the Manichaeism, which is nominally an Iranian religion but has its origins in the Middle-Eastern Gnosticism. Superficially, such a comparison may be apt as both are uncompromisingly dualistic and Manichaeism nominally adopted many of the Yazatas for its own pantheon. As religious types they are however poles apart:[13] Manichaeism equated evil with matter and good with spirit, and was therefore particularly suitable as a doctrinal basis for every form of asceticism and many forms of mysticism. Zoroastrianism on the other hand rejects every form of asceticism, has no dualism of matter and spirit (only of good and evil), and sees the spiritual world as not very different from the natural one and the word "paradise" (via Latin and Greek from Avestan pairi.daeza, literally "stone-bounded enclosure") applies equally to both. Manichaeism's basic doctrine was that the world and all corporeal bodies were constructed from the substance of Satan, an idea that is fundamentally at odds with the Zoroastrian notion of a world that was created by God and that is all good, and any corruption of it is an effect of the bad. From what may be inferred from many Manichean texts and a few Zoroastrian sources, the adherents of the two religions (or at least their respective priesthoods) despised each other intensely. Manichean priests, writing at their desk, with panel inscription in Sogdian. ... The traditional Middle East and the G8s Greater Middle East Political & transportation map of the traditional Middle East today The Middle East is a historical and political region of Africa-Eurasia with no clear definition. ... Gnosticism (Greek: gnōsis, knowledge) refers to a diverse, syncretistic religious movement consisting of various belief systems generally united in the teaching that humans are divine souls trapped in a material world created by an imperfect spirit, the demiurge, who is frequently identified with the Abrahamic God. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Zoroastrian angelology. ...


Many aspects of Zoroastrianism are present in the culture and mythologies of the peoples of the Greater Iran, not least because Zoroastrianism, was a dominant influence on the people of the cultural continent for a thousand years. Even after the rise of Islam and the loss of direct influence Zoroastrianism remained part of the cultural heritage of the Iranian language-speaking world, in part as festivals and customs, but also because Ferdowsi incorporated a number of the figures and stories from the Avesta in his epic Shāhnāme, which in turn is pivotal to Iranian identity. After Islamic Conquest  Modern SSR = Soviet Socialist Republic Afghanistan  Azerbaijan  Bahrain  Iran  Iraq  Tajikistan  Uzbekistan  This box:      Greater Iran (in Persian: Irān-e Bozorg, or Irān-zamÄ«n; the Encyclopedia Iranica uses the term Iranian Cultural Continent[1]) is a term for the Iranian plateau in addition to... The Iranian languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family. ... Tomb of Ferdowsi in Tus HakÄ«m Abol-Qāsem FerdowsÄ« TÅ«sÄ« (Persian: ), more commonly transliterated as Ferdowsi, (935–1020) was a highly revered Persian poet. ... See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ... Shâhnameh Shāhnāmé, or Shāhnāma (Persian: )(alternative spellings are Shahnama, Shahnameh, Shahname, Shah-Nama, etc. ...


Religious texts

Scripture

Main article: Avesta

The Avesta is the collection of the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism. Although the texts are very old, the compendium as we know it today is essentially the result of a redaction that is thought to have occurred during the reign of Shapur II (309–379 CE). However, some portions of the collection have been lost since then, especially after the fall of the Sassanid empire in 651 CE, after which Zoroastrianism was supplanted by Islam. The oldest existing copy of an Avestan language text dates to 1288 CE. See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ... See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ... Redaction generally refers to the editing of text to turn it into a form suitable for publication, or to the result of such an effort. ... Shapur II was king of Persia (310 - 379). ... The Sassanid Empire or Sassanian Dynasty (Persian: []) is the name used for the third Iranian dynasty and the second Persian Empire (226–651). ... For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ... Avestan is an Eastern Old Iranian language that was used to compose the sacred hymns and canon of the Zoroastrian Avesta. ...


The most ancient of the texts of the Avesta are in an old or Gathic Avestan. The majority of the texts are however from a later period: most are probably from the Achaemenid era (648–330 BCE), with a few being even younger. All the texts are believed to have been transmitted orally for centuries before they found written form, and in existing copies, the Avestan language words are written in Din dabireh script, a Sassanid era (226–651 CE) invention. Founder of empires: Cyrus, The Great is still revered in modern Iran as he was in all the successor Persian Empires. ... The Avestan alphabet was created in the 3rd century AD for writing the hymns of Zarathustra (a. ... The Sassanid Empire or Sassanian Dynasty (Persian: []) is the name used for the third Iranian dynasty and the second Persian Empire (226–651). ...

Yasna 28.1, Ahunavaita Gatha (Bodleian MS J2)

The various texts of the Avesta are generally divided into topical categories, but these are by no means fixed or canonical. Some scholars prefer to place the five categories in two groups, one liturgical and the other general. Download high resolution version (930x503, 94 KB)Bodleian Library, MS J2 fol. ... Download high resolution version (930x503, 94 KB)Bodleian Library, MS J2 fol. ... The Gathas (Gāθās) are the most sacred of the texts of the Zoroastrian faith, and are traditionally believed to have been composed by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) himself. ...

  • The Yasna, the primary liturgical collection. The Yasna includes the Gathas, which are thought to have been composed by Zoroaster himself.
  • The Visparad, a collection of supplements to the Yasna.
  • The Yashts, hymns in honor of the divinities.
  • The Vendidad, describes the various forms of evil spirits and ways to confound them.
  • Shorter texts and prayer collections, the five nyaishes("worship, praise"), the siroze ("thirty days") (see Zoroastrian calendar) and the afringans ("blessings"). Some of these fragments are collected in the Khorda Avesta, the "Little Avesta", which is the collection of texts for daily lay (as opposed to priestly) use.

See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ... The Gathas (Gāθās) are the most sacred of the texts of the Zoroastrian faith, and are traditionally believed to have been composed by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) himself. ... The Avesta is the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism. ... The s (s) are a collection of twenty-one hymns in Younger Avestan. ... See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Faravahar, believed to be a depiction of a Farvashi, as mentioned in the Yasna, Yashts and Vendidad The Avesta is a collection of the sacred texts of the Mazdaist (Zoroastrian) religion. ... The Zoroastrian calendar is a religious calendar used by members of the Zoroastrian faith, and it is an approximation of the (tropical) solar calendar. ...

Other texts

The texts of the Avesta are complemented by several secondary works of religious or semi-religious nature, which although not sacred and not used as scripture, have a significant influence on Zoroastrian doctrine. They are all of a much later date — in general from between the 9th and 12th centuries — with the youngest treatises dating to the 17th century. Some of these works quote passages that are believed to be from lost sections of the Avesta.


The most important of these secondary texts (of which there some 60 in all) are:

  • The Dēnkard ("Acts of Religion") in Middle Persian
  • The Bundahishn ("Primordial Creation") in Middle Persian
  • The Mēnog-ī Khirad ("Spirit of Wisdom") in Middle Persian
  • The Arda Viraf Nāmag ("Book of Arda Viraf") in Middle Persian
  • The Sad Dar ("Hundred Doors or Chapters") in Modern Persian
  • The Rivayats or traditional treatises in Middle and Modern Persian

The use of the expression Zend-Avesta to refer to the Avesta, or the use of Zend as the name of a language or script, are relatively recent and popular mistakes. The word Zend or Zand, meaning "commentary, translation", refers to supplementaries in Middle Persian not intended for use as theological texts by themselves but for religious instruction of the (by then) non-Avestan-speaking public. In contrast, the texts of the Avesta proper remained sacrosanct and continued to be recited in Avestan — which was considered a sacred language. The Denkard is the largest encyclopedia of Zoroastrianism written in 9th century. ... Category: ... The Book of Arda Viraf is a Zoroastrian religious text which describes the dream-journey of a devout Zoroastrian through the next world. ... The Sad-dar or Saddar, literally Hundred Doors or chapters is a Persian book about Zoroastrianism. ... A sacred language, or liturgical language, is a language, frequently a dead language, that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life. ...


In a general sense, all the secondary texts mentioned above are also included in the Zend rubric since they too often include commentaries on the Avesta and on the religion. See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ...


Principal beliefs

Faravahar (or Ferohar), one of the primary symbols of Zoroastrianism, believed to be the depiction of a Fravashi (guardian spirit)
Faravahar (or Ferohar), one of the primary symbols of Zoroastrianism, believed to be the depiction of a Fravashi (guardian spirit)

Ahura Mazda is the beginning and the end, the creator of everything which can and cannot be seen, the Eternal, the Pure and the only Truth. In the Gathas, the most sacred texts of Zoroastrianism thought to have been composed by Zoroaster himself, the prophet acknowledged devotion to no other divinity besides Ahura Mazda. Image File history File links Faravahar. ... Image File history File links Faravahar. ... This article needs to be wikified. ... Ahura Mazda () is the Avestan language name for a divinity exalted by Zoroaster as the one uncreated Creator, hence God. ... The Gathas (Gāθās) are the most sacred of the texts of the Zoroastrian faith, and are traditionally believed to have been composed by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) himself. ...


Daena (din in modern Persian) is the eternal Law, whose order was revealed to humanity through the Mathra-Spenta ("Holy Words"). Daena has been used to mean religion, faith, law, even as a translation for the Hindu and Buddhist term Dharma, often interpreted as "duty" but can also mean social order, right conduct, or virtue. The metaphor of the 'path' of Daena is represented in Zoroastrianism by the muslin undershirt Sudra, the 'Good/Holy Path', and the 72-thread Kushti girdle, the "Pathfinder". Farsi redirects here. ... For other uses, see Dharma (disambiguation). ... Kushti also called Kusti, is the sacred girdle worn by Zoroastrians around their waists. ...


Daena should not be confused with the fundamental principle asha (Vedic rta), the equitable law of the universe, which governed the life of the ancient Indo-Iranians. For these, asha was the course of everything observable, the motion of the planets and astral bodies, the progression of the seasons, the pattern of daily nomadic herdsman life, governed by regular metronomic events such as sunrise and sunset. All physical creation (geti) was thus determined to run according to a master plan — inherent to Ahura Mazda — and violations of the order (druj) were violations against creation, and thus violations against Ahura Mazda. This concept of asha versus the druj should not be confused with the good-versus-evil battle evident in western religions, for although both forms of opposition express moral conflict, the asha versus druj concept is more systemic and less personal, representing, for instance, chaos (that opposes order); or "uncreation", evident as natural decay (that opposes creation); or more simply "the lie" (that opposes truth, righteousness). Moreover, in his role as the one uncreated creator of all, Ahura Mazda is not the creator of druj which is "nothing", anti-creation, and thus (likewise) uncreated. Thus, in Zoroaster's revelation, Ahura Mazda was perceived to be the creator of only the good (Yasna 31.4), the "supreme benevolent providence" (Yasna 43.11), that will ultimately triumph (Yasna 48.1). In Vedic Sanskrit, Rta literally means the course of things. ...


In this schema of asha versus druj, mortal beings (humans and animals both) play a critical role, for they too are created. Here, in their lives, they are active participants in the conflict and it is their duty to defend order, which would decay without counteraction. Throughout the Gathas, Zoroaster emphasizes deeds and actions, and accordingly asceticism is frowned upon in Zoroastrianism. In later Zoroastrianism this was explained as fleeing from the experiences of life, which was the very purpose that the urvan (most commonly translated as the 'soul') was sent into the mortal world to collect. The avoidance of any aspect of life, which includes the avoidance of the pleasures of life, is a shirking of the responsibility and duty to oneself, one's urvan, and one's family and social obligations. The Gathas (Gāθās) are the most sacred of the texts of the Zoroastrian faith, and are traditionally believed to have been composed by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) himself. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Thus, central to Zoroastrianism is the emphasis on moral choice, to choose between the responsibility and duty for which one is in the mortal world, or to give up this duty and so facilitate the work of druj. Similarly, predestination is rejected in Zoroastrian teaching. Humans bear responsibility for all situations they are in, and in the way they act to one another. Reward, punishment, happiness and grief all depend on how individuals live their life. Predestination (also linked with foreknowledge) is a religious concept, which involves the relationship between the beginning of things and their destinies. ...


In Zoroastrianism, good transpires for those who do righteous deeds. Those who do evil have themselves to blame for their ruin. Zoroastrian morality is then to be summed up in the simple phrase, "good thoughts, good words, good deeds" (Humata, Hukhta, Hvarshta in Avestan), for it is through these that asha is maintained and druj is kept in check. Yasna 28. ...


Through accumulation several other beliefs were introduced to the religion that in some instances supersede those expressed in the Gathas. In the late 19th century the moral and immoral forces came to be represented by Spenta Mainyu and its Satanic antithesis Angra Mainyu, the 'good spirit' and 'evil spirit' emanations of Ahura Mazda respectively. Although the names are old, this opposition is a modern western-influenced development popularized by Martin Haug in the 1880s, and was in effect a realignment of the precepts of Zurvanism (Zurvanite Zoroastrianism), which had invented a third deity, Zurvan, in order to explain a mention of twinship (Yasna 30.3) between the moral and immoral. Although Zurvanism had died out by the 10th century the critical question of the "twin brothers" mentioned in Yasna 30.3 remained, and Haug's explanation provided a convenient defence against Christian missionaries who disparaged the Parsis (Indian Zoroastrians) for their 'dualism'. Haug's concept was subsequently disseminated as a Parsi interpretation, thus corroborating Haug's theory and the idea became so popular that it is now almost universally accepted as doctrine. Look up Antithesis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Angra Mainyu is the Avestan language name of the hypostasis of the destructive spirit. The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman. ... Martin Haug (January 30, 1827 - June 3, 1876), German Orientalist, was born at Ostdorf, today belonging to the Balingen municipality, Württemberg. ... Zurvan is the Persian god of infinite time, space and fate. ... This article is about the Parsi community. ...


Achaemenid era (648–330 BCE) Zoroastrianism developed the abstract concepts of heaven, hell, personal and final judgement, all of which are only alluded to in the Gathas. Yasna 19 (which has only survived in a Sassanid era (226–650 CE) Zend commentary on the Ahuna Vairya invocation), prescribes a Path to Judgement known as the Chinvat Peretum or Chinvat bridge (cf: As-Sirāt in Islam), which all souls had to cross, and judgement (over thoughts, words, deeds performed during a lifetime) was passed as they were doing so. However, the Zoroastrian personal judgement is not final. At the end of time, when evil is finally defeated, all souls will be ultimately reunited with their Fravashi. Thus, Zoroastrianism can be said to be a universalist religion with respect to salvation. The Gathas (Gāθās) are the most sacred of the texts of the Zoroastrian faith, and are traditionally believed to have been composed by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) himself. ... The Sassanid Empire in the time of Shapur I; the conquest of Cappadocia was temporary Official language Pahlavi (Middle Persian) Dominant Religion Zoroastrianism Capital Ctesiphon Sovereigns Shahanshah of the Iran (Eranshahr) First Ruler Ardashir I Last Ruler Yazdegerd III Establishment 224 AD Dissolution 651 AD Part of the History of... Ahuna Vairya is the Avestan language name of the most sacred of the Gathic hymns of the Avesta, the revered texts of Zoroastrianism. ... The Chinvat bridge or Chinvat peretum is Zoroastrianisms bridge of judgement that all souls of the dead must cross. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Sirat al-Jahim. ... Faravahar, believed to be a depiction of a Fravashi. ...


In addition, and strongly influenced by Babylonian and Akkadian practices, the Achaemenids popularized shrines and temples, hitherto alien forms of worship. In the wake of Achaemenid expansion shrines were constructed throughout the empire and particularly influenced the role of Mithra, Aredvi Sura Anahita, Verethregna and Tishtrya, all of which, in addition to their original (proto-)Indo-Iranian functions, now also received Perso-Babylonian functions. Mithra (Avestan Miθra, modern Persian مهر Mihr, Mehr, Meher) is an important deity or divine concept (so called Yazata) in Zoroastrianism and later Persian mythology and culture. ... Aredvi Sura Anahita is the Avestan language name of an (Indo-)Iranian cosmological figure, venerated as the divinity of the Waters (Aban) and hence associated with fertility and increase. ... Vahrām or Bahrām (modern Persian, var: Behrām; middle Persian: Warahran) is the Zoroastrian concept of victory over resistance and, as the hypostasis of victory, is one of the principal figures in the Zoroastrian pantheon of yazatas. ... Tishtrya is the Avestan language name of an Indo-Iranian benevolent divinity associated with life-bringing rainfall and fertility. ...


Although the worship of images would eventually fall out of favour (and be replaced by the iconoclastic fire temples), the lasting legacy of the Achaemenids was a vast, complex hierarchy of Yazatas (modern Zoroastrianism's Angels) that were now not just evident in the religion, but firmly established, not least because the divinities received dedications in the Zoroastrian calendar, thus ensuring that they were frequently invoked. Additionally, the Amesha Spenta, the six originally abstract terms that were regarded as direct emanations or aspects or "divine sparks" of Ahura Mazda, came to be personified as an archangel retinue. A Zoroastrian Fire Temple is a place of worship for Zoroastrians. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Zoroastrian angelology. ... The Zoroastrian calendar is a religious calendar used by members of the Zoroastrian faith, and it is an approximation of the (tropical) solar calendar. ... In Zoroastrianism, Amesha Spentas are the Holy Immortals, the equivalent of Archangels in Christian theology. ...


Adherents

The Zoroastrian temple of Yazd.
The Zoroastrian temple of Yazd.

Small Zoroastrian communities may be found all over the world, with a continuing concentration in Western India and Central Iran. Zoroastrians of the diaspora are primarily located in Great Britain and the former British colonies — in particular Canada and Australia — but the United States has become a preferred destination in recent decades. Zoroastrian communities are comprised of two main groups of people: those of Indian Zoroastrian background, who are known as Parsis (or Parsees), and those of Iranian background. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2272x1704, 1087 KB) Summary Ateshkadeh (Zoroastrian temple of fire) in Yazd, Iran. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2272x1704, 1087 KB) Summary Ateshkadeh (Zoroastrian temple of fire) in Yazd, Iran. ... a person from Pars (the middle-Persian word for Fars), a region now within the geographical boundaries of Iran, and is roughly the original homeland of the Persian people. ...


In Greater Iran

Main article: Zoroastrians in Iran

Communities exist in Tehran, as well as in Yazd, Kerman and Kermanshah, where many still speak an Iranian language distinct from the usual Persian. They call their language Dari (not to be confused with the Dari of Afghanistan). Their language is also called Gabri or Behdinan (literally "Of the Good Religion"). Sometimes their language is named for the cities in which it is spoken, Yazdi or Kermani. Iranian Zoroastrians were historically called Gabrs, originally without a pejorative connotation but in the present-day derogatorily applied to all non-Muslims. Zoroastrian Fire Temple in Yazd Zoroastrians in Iran have had a long history, being the oldest religious community of that nation to survive to the present-day. ... Yazd or Yezd (In Persian: یزد), is the capital of Yazd province, one of the most ancient and historic cities in Iran and a centre of Zoroastrian culture. ... For the U.S. city, see Kerman, California. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Farsi redirects here. ... The main Zoroastrian fire temple in Yazd, Iran. ... Dari is the local name for the variety of Persian spoken in Afghanistan. ... Gabr (also gabrak, gawr, gaur, gyaur, gabre) is a New Persian term originally used to denote a Zoroastrian. ...


There is some interest among Iranians, as well as people in various Central Asian countries such as Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, in their ancient Zoroastrian heritage; some people in these countries take notice of their Zoroastrian past. At the instigation of the government of Tajikistan, UNESCO declared 2003 a year to celebrate the "3000th anniversary of Zoroastrian culture", with special events throughout the world. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1945. ...


In the Indian Subcontinent

Main article: Parsi
Parsi Navjote ceremony (rites of admission into the Zoroastrian faith)
Parsi Navjote ceremony (rites of admission into the Zoroastrian faith)

Following the fall of the Sassanid Empire in 651 many Zoroastrians migrated. Among them were several groups who ventured to Gujarat on the western shores of the Indian subcontinent, where they finally settled. The descendants of those refugees are today known as the Parsis. The year of arrival on the subcontinent cannot be precisely established and Parsi legend and tradition assigns various dates to the event. This article is about the Parsi community. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (450x800, 122 KB) Summary Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Religion in India Zoroastrianism Parsi Talk:Parsi/Archive1 Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (450x800, 122 KB) Summary Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Religion in India Zoroastrianism Parsi Talk:Parsi/Archive1 Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added... This article is about the Parsi community. ... The Sassanid Empire or Sassanian Dynasty (Persian: []) is the name used for the third Iranian dynasty and the second Persian Empire (226–651). ... This article is for the Indian state. ... Map of South Asia (see note) This article deals with the geophysical region in Asia. ...


On the Indian subcontinent these Zoroastrians enjoyed tolerance and even admiration from other religious communities. From the 19th century onward the Parsis gained a reputation for their education and widespread influence in all aspects of society, partly due to the divisive strategy of British colonialism which favored certain minorities. Parsis are generally more affluent than other Indians and are stereotypically viewed as among the most Anglicised and "Westernised" of the various minority groups. They have also played an instrumental role in the economic development of the region over many decades; several of the best-known business conglomerates of India are run by Parsi-Zoroastrians, including the Tata, Godrej, and Wadia families. The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ... Tata may refer to: Tata Group, a multinational company based in India Tata Motors, one of Indias largest automobile company known for its hatchback motorvehicle Tata Indica Tata Steel, worlds fifth largest steel producer Tata Consultancy Services, Indias largest IT company Tata Airlines, now Air India Tata... Godrej Group Of Companies, they are named after The Godrej family of India. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


Demographics

In 1996 the number of Zoroastrians worldwide was estimated to be "at most 200,000".[14][15] India's 2001 Census found 69,601 Parsi Zoroastrians. In Pakistan they number 5,000, mostly living in Karachi. Anglo America is thought to be home to 18,000–25,000 Zoroastrians of both South Asian and Iranian background. Iran's figures of Zoroastrians have ranged widely; the last census (1974) before the revolution of 1979 revealed 21,400 Zoroastrians.   (Sindhi: , Urdu: ) is the largest city in Pakistan and is the provincial capital of Sindh province. ... Anglo America Anglo-America: dark green indicates countries traditionally included in the region (Canada and the United States), while light green indicates regions where English is prevalent, or where people have English historical roots, and blue indicates the Canadian province of Quebec where French predominates. ... Map of South Asia South Asia is a subregion of Asia comprising the modern states of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, . It covers about 4,480,000 km², or 10 percent of the continent, and is also known as the Indian subcontinent. ... This article is about the 1979 revolution in Iran. ...


Few, if any, adherents remain in the Central Asian regions that were once considered the traditional stronghold of Zoroastrianism, i.e. Bactria (see also Balkh) which is in Northern Afghanistan, Sogdiana, Margiana and other areas closest to Zoroaster's homeland (for the location of Zoroaster's homeland, see Zoroaster#Place). Map of Central Asia showing three sets of possible boundaries for the region Central Asia located as a region of the world Central Asia is a vast landlocked region of Asia. ... Bactria, about 320 BC Bactria (Bactriana, Bākhtar in Persian, also Bhalika in Arabic and Indian languages, and Ta-Hia in Chinese) was the ancient Greek name of the country between the range of the Hindu Kush and the Amu Darya (Oxus); its capital, Bactra or Balhika or Bokhdi (now... Today Balkh (Persian: بلخ) is a small town in the Province of Balkh, Afghanistan, about 20 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Mazari Sharif, and some 74 km (46 miles) south of the Amu Darya, the Oxus River of antiquity, of which a tributary formerly flowed past Balkh. ... Sogdiana, ca. ... Margu (Greek Margiana) was a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire, mentioned in the Behistun inscriptions of ca. ... Zoroaster (Greek Ζωροάστρης, Zōroastrēs) or Zarathustra (Avestan: Zaraθuštra), also referred to as Zartosht (Persian: ; Kurdish: ), was an ancient Iranian prophet and religious poet. ...


In the Indian census of 2001 the Parsis numbered 69,601, representing about 0.006% of the total population of India, with a concentration in and around the city of Mumbai (previously known as Bombay). Due to a low birth rate and high rate of emigration, demographic trends project that by 2020 the Parsis will number only about 23,000 or 0.002% of the total population of India. The Parsis will then cease to be called a community and will be labelled a "tribe". , Bombay redirects here. ...


Noted Zoroastrians

For a list of Zoroastrians with Wikipedia articles, see List of Zoroastrians and Category:Zoroastrians.

Noted Parsis include the pioneering Indian industrialist and philanthropist Jamshedji Tata; the industrialist and founder of Indian Civil aviation J. R. D. Tata; Indian political activists Pherozeshah Mehta, Dadabhai Naoroji and Bhikaiji Cama; conductor Zubin Mehta and rock artist Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara); British actor and Film Producer Ray Panthaki; nuclear scientist Homi J. Bhabha, the similarly named philosopher Homi K. Bhabha; Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, author and screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala (of the films Salaam Bombay and Mississippi Masala), authors Rohinton Mistry and Bapsi Sidhwa. Parsis famed for their philanthropy include Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy and the eponymous Cowasji Jehangir Readymoney, both of whom were knighted for their munificence. The Indian industrial families Tata family, Godrej family and Wadia family are also of Parsi Zoroastrian background. Noted members of the more recently arrived Irani community include Bollywood director Ardeshir Irani and cricketer Ronnie Irani. Ronnie Screwvala, the noted film producer, owns UTV Motion Pictures. Zoroastrianism is a religion that originated in ancient times in Persia, founded by Zoroaster. ... Jamshedji Tata (1839-1904) was a pioneer in the field of modern industry. ... Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (July 29, 1904–November 29, 1993) was a pioneer aviator and important businessman of India. ... The Indian Independence Movement was a series of revolutions empowered by the people of India put forth to battle the British Empire for complete political independence, beginning with the Rebellion of 1857. ... Sir Pherozeshah Mehta was an early Indian political leader and social activist, and a renowned and wealthy barrister. ... Statue of Naoroji in Mumbai Dadabhai Naoroji (6 September 1825 – 30 June 1917) was a Parsi intellectual, educator, cotton trader, and an early Indian political leader. ... Bhikaiji Rustom Cama (Madam Cama, Madame Cama) (September 24, 1861 - August 13, 1936) was a prominent figure in the Indian Nationalist Movement. ... Zubin Mehta (b. ... Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British musician, best known as the lead singer of the rock band Queen (inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001). ... Ray as Vincent in The Feral Generation. ... This page is about the physicist, Homi J. Bhabha. ... Homi K. Bhabha (born 1949) is a postcolonial theorist, currently teaching at Harvard University, where he is the Chair of the Program in History and Literature. ... Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, MC, (Sam Bahadur) (born April 3, 1914) is a retired Indian Army officer. ... Sooni Taraporevala is best known as the screenwriter for the Oscar-nominated Salaam Bombay! and Mississippi Masala, both directed by Mira Nair. ... Rohinton Mistry (born 3 July 1952) is considered to be one of the foremost authors of Indian heritage writing in English. ... Bapsi Sidhwa (1938 - ) is an important author of Pakistani origin who writes in English. ... Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy, Baronet (also seen as Qamsetji, and Jeejeebhoy, Jejeebjoy, Qijibhai) (1783-1859) was an Indian merchant and philanthropist. ... Sir Cowasji Jehangir Readymoney (1812-1878), was the first baronet of Bombay, India. ... The Tatas are a wealthy family of Parsi Zoroastrians in India. ... Godrej family is a wealthy Parsi family of India. ... The Wadia (Whit) family is an old Parsi family originally based in Surat. ... Irani is a term used to denote Indian Zoroastrians whose ancestors emigrated from Iran within the last two centuries, as opposed to the longer residing Parsis. ... Bollywood (Hindi: , Urdu: ) is the informal term popularly used for Mumbai-based Hindi-language film industry in India. ... Ardeshir Irani was an early director, actor, and producer in Bollywood. ... Ronald Charles Ronnie Irani (born 26 October 1971 in Leigh, Lancashire), was an English cricketer who spent most of his career at Essex County Cricket Club, latterly as captain. ...


Noted Iranian Zoroastrians include Dr. Farhang Mehr, former deputy prime minister of Iran, Boston University professor emeritus, longtime activist for religious freedom, and subject of the biography "Triumph Over Discrimination" by Lylah M. Alphonse. Dr. Farhang Mehr served as Irans governor in OPEC, Chancellor of Pahlavi University in Shiraz, and revolutionized Irans oil and insurance industries. ... For the similarly named institution in Chestnut Hill, see Boston College. ... Lylah M. Alphonse is a Zoroastrian who was born and raised in Princeton, N.J., the oldest of three children. ...


Notable converts to Zoroastrianism include Swedish artist and author Alexander Bard. Alexander Bard (born March 17, 1961 in Motala) is a Swedish author, songwriter, producer, singer and actor. ...


Bibliography

References
  1. ^ A. D. Nock (1929), "Studien zum antiken Synkretismus aus Iran und Griechenland by R. Reitzenstein, H. H. Schaeder, Fr. Saxl", The Journal of Hellenic Studies 49 (1), p. 111-116 111.
  2. ^ A. D. Nock (1929), "Studien zum antiken Synkretismus aus Iran und Griechenland by R. Reitzenstein, H. H. Schaeder, Fr. Saxl", The Journal of Hellenic Studies 49 (1), p. 111-116.
  3. ^ David N. Livingstone (2002), The Dying God: The Hidden History of Western Civilization, p. 144-145, iUniverse, ISBN 0595231993.
  4. ^ David N. Livingstone (2002), The Dying God: The Hidden History of Western Civilization, p. 147, iUniverse, ISBN 0595231993.
  5. ^ Buillet 1978, p. ???.
  6. ^ VoHuman.org, Islamic era history of Zoroastrians of Iran.
  7. ^ Buillet 1978, p. 37,138.
  8. ^ Buillet 1978, p. 59.
  9. ^ Boyce 1979, p. 1.
  10. ^ Black & Rowley 1987, p. 607b.
  11. ^ Duchesne-Guillemin 1988, p. 815.
  12. ^ e.g. Boyce 1982, p. 202.
  13. ^ Zaehner 1956, pp. 53-54.
  14. ^ Melton 1996, p. 837.
  15. ^ cf. Elidae & Couliano 1991, p. 254.
Works cited
  • Black, Matthew & Rowley, H. H., eds. (1982), Peake's Commentary on the Bible, New York: Nelson, ISBN 0-415-05147-9
  • Boyce, Mary (1984), Textual sources for the study of Zoroastrianism, Manchester: Manchester UP, ISBN 0-226-06930-3
  • Boyce, Mary (1987), Zoroastrianism: A Shadowy but Powerful Presence in the Judaeo-Christian World, London: William's Trust
  • Boyce, Mary (1979), Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, London: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-23903-6
  • Boyce, Mary (1975), The History of Zoroastrianism, vol. 1, Leiden: Brill, ISBN 90-04-10474-7 (repr. 1996)
  • Boyce, Mary (1982), The History of Zoroastrianism, vol. 2, Leiden: Brill, ISBN 90-04-06506-7 (repr. 1997)
  • Boyce, Mary (1983), "Ahura Mazdā", Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. 1, New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul pages 684–687
  • Bulliet, Richard W. (1979), Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period: An Essay in Quantitative History, Cambridge: Harvard UP, ISBN 0-674-17035-0
  • Carroll, Warren H. (1985), Founding Of Christendom: History Of Christendom, vol. 1, Urbana: Illinois UP, ISBN 0-931888-21-2 (repr. 2004)
  • Clark, Peter (1998), Zoroastrianism. An Introduction to an Ancient Faith, Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, ISBN 1-898723-78-8
  • Dhalla, Maneckji Nusservanji (1938), History of Zoroastrianism, New York: OUP
  • Duchesne-Guillemin, Jacques (1988), "Zoroastrianism", Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 29, Danbury: Grolier pages 813–815
  • Duchesne-Guillemin, Jacques (2006), "Zoroastrianism: Relation to other religions", Encyclopædia Britannica (Online ed.), <http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9207>. Retrieved on 31 May 2006
  • Eliade, Mircea & Couliano, Ioan P. (1991), The Eliade Guide to World Religions, New York: Harper Collins
  • Kellens, Jean, "Avesta", Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. 3, New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul pages 35-44.
  • King, Charles William (1887). Gnostics and their Remains Ancient and Mediaeval. London: Bell & Daldy. ISBN 0-7661-0381-1 (repr. 1998). 
  • Melton, J. Gordon (1996), Encyclopedia of American Religions, Detroit: Gale Research
  • Malandra, William W. (1983), An Introduction to Ancient Iranian Religion. Readings from the Avesta and Achaemenid Inscriptions, Minneapolis: U. Minnesota Press, ISBN 0-8166-1114-9
  • Malandra, William W. (2005), "Zoroastrianism: Historical Review", Encyclopaedia Iranica, New York: iranica.com
  • Moulton, James Hope (1917), The Treasure of the Magi: A Study of Modern Zoroastrianism, London: OUP, 1-564-59612-5 (repr. 1997)
  • Russell, James R. (1987), Zoroastrianism in Armenia (Harvard Iranian Series), Oxford: Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-96850-6
  • Simpson, John A. & Weiner, Edmund S., eds. (1989), "Zoroastrianism", Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.), London: Oxford UP, ISBN 0-19-861186-2
  • Stolze, Franz (1882), Die Achaemenidischen und Sasanidischen Denkmäler und Inschriften von Persepolis, Istakhr, Pasargadae, Shâpûr, Berlin: A. Asher
  • Zaehner, Robert Charles (1961), The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism, London: Phoenix Press, ISBN 1-84212-165-0

This article is about the year 111. ...

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Zoroastrianism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4884 words)
Nonetheless, it was during the Achaemenid period that Zoroastrianism gained momentum, and a number of the Zoroastrian texts (that today are part of the greater compendium of the Avesta) have been attributed to that period.
Environmentalism: Nature is central to the practice of Zoroastrianism and many important Zoroastrian annual festivals are in celebration of nature: new year on the first day of spring, the water festival in summer, the autumn festival at the end of the season, and the mid-winter fire festival.
Zoroastrian fire temples, as well as community centers (which are more common in the diaspora than temples, because of fire-consecration issues) are also found wherever Zoroastrian communities exist.
Zoroastrianism - MSN Encarta (1692 words)
Zoroastrianism, religion that arose from the teachings of the devotional poet Zoroaster, known as Zarathushtra to ancient Iranians, who is regarded as the faith’s founding prophet.
Zoroastrians regard fire as a pure creation, and thus fire became the symbol of Zoroastrianism much as the cross is the symbol of Christianity.
Zoroastrians who continued to reside in Islamic Iran had to endure periodic persecutions and pay a special tax to Muslim authorities until 1854, when Zoroastrians from India convinced the Qajar dynasty of Iran to abolish the religious tax.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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