REL 1020 Zoroastrianism
REL 1020 Zoroastrianism REL 1020
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by jschric on Wednesday September 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to REL 1020 at Clemson University taught by Brett Patterson in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see World Religions in Religion at Clemson University.
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Date Created: 09/28/16
Zoroastrianism Origins • Zarathustra (greek: zoroaster) three millenia ago • Central teaching of dualism: the ongoing opposition between the forces of order (good) and chaos (bad) • Live mainly in India, Mumbai, and Iran Background • The Indo-‐Iranians • Iranian Peoples and languages ○ Older and Younger Avesta (first of sacred writings) ○ Old Persian ○ Middle Persian (Pahlavi) Pre-‐Zoroastrian Religion • Affinities with Vedic (Hindu) religion • Daevas-‐cause trouble, "demons", evil forces • Ashuras-‐lord, forces of order • Asha and the Struggle against Chaos Zarathustra • Estimates of life vary widely f550 BCE-‐0 • Lives privileged life, gets married, has family • Age 20, goes out on own • Age 30, revelatory visions from Ahura Mazda: cosmic battle ○ Taken up into heavenly court ○ Ahura Mazda: supreme god in visio • New Teachings of Zarathustra: morality over sacrifices • Scriptures: ○ Avesta: liturgy, hymns, Z's life, strategies to oppose daevas, creation story, prayers ○ Denkard and Bundahishn • Ultimately: live good moral life, we will be judged for how we lived History: 550-‐330 BCE • Persian empire ○ Herodotus (Greek Historian) gave account ○ Achaemenid Dynasty of Persia (Paris) ○ Darius 1 (reigh:-‐485 BCE) accredited his power to Ahura Mazda ○ Magi (Persian priests) had power 550-‐330 BCE • Persian empire Herodotus (Greek Historian) gave account ○ ○ Achaemenid Dynasty of Persia (Paris) ○ Darius 1 (reigh:-‐485 BCE) accredited his power to Ahura Mazda ○ Magi (Persian priests) had power ○ Fell to Alexander the Great 247BCE-‐224CE • Pathian Empire ○ A resurgence of Persian after the conquest of Alexander the Great in 330 ○ Blending of Iranian and Greek deities ○ Less support for Zoroastrianism 224-‐651 CE • Sassanid Empire ○ Last Persian empire before the arrival of Islam ○ Zoroastrianism as the state religion ○ Zurvanite Zoroastrianism § High god Zirvan: Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu (evil) as twins • Arab Rule (651 onward) ○ Zoroastrians win and lose status as a "People of the Book" ○ Persecution and marginalization: conversions to Islam References in Modern Period • Raphael (painter): The School of Athens • Voltaire: rationalism • Mozart: The Magic Flute • Nietzsche: Also Sprach Zarathustra • Population Declining in World Today ○ India (Parsis): Mumbai, Iran (Iranis and Zarathrushtis) Smaller numbers in Great Britain, Australia, Pakistan, Singapore, and ○ Hong Kong Foundation: Cosmic Dualism • Order and Chaos ○ Order (asha) opposes "the Lie" (duja) • Spirit and Matter ○ The dualism of spirit and matter correlates to the dualism of order and chaos The Divine Realm • Ahura Mazda • Divine Forces of Good ○ The seven Amesha Spentas (chief: Spenta Mainyu, Ahura Mazda's spirit) § Function as servant forces, assisted by many deities (yazatas) • The Forces of Evil (The Lie) ○ Angra Mainyu (The Foul Spirit) and the demonic powers (daevas) The Created World • Divine Forces of Good ○ The seven Amesha Spentas (chief: Spenta Mainyu, Ahura Mazda's spirit) § Function as servant forces, assisted by many deities (yazatas) • The Forces of Evil (The Lie) ○ Angra Mainyu (The Foul Spirit) and the demonic powers (daevas) The Created World • Three phases: 1. Creation of the physical world 2. Mixing in physical world of evil and good forces 3. The final cleansing of world from evil forces • Creation myth: Ahura Mazda secured support of pre-‐existing guardian spirits of human beings Human Nature and Destiny • Dualism in Human Life: Ethical Choice ○ Human beings are free to choose to live in harmony with cosmic order (asha) or give into the Lie (druj) • Judgment of the Soul ○ After death the soul will meet the Daena and cross Chinvat Bridge § Bridge: takes form based off of what kind of life you live • The Final Triumph: Human beings play a part in cosmic struggle ○ The combined efforts of each individual's work will eventually overcome evil Way of Life • Ethical Responsibilities: "Good thoughts, good words, and good deeds" • Prayer (5 times a day), Kusti Ritual (tying and untying cord), purification by water • Worship in temples (kitchens, ceremonial rooms, and fire chamber (kept constantly lit)) • Dead people: not cremated/buried bc sacred (fire/earth) Rituals and Holy Days • Sacred Fire • Priests • Rites of Passage: including the investiture ceremony (Navjote in India, Sudre-‐h Pooshi in Iran) • Calendar with Holy Days (7, most popular is Nowruz (new year/fire)) • Funeral Rites: vultures/tower of silence to ensure purity
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