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Old 07-10-2004, 02:28 PM   #46
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Well, it's been a while since I've commented in this thread, but I have something to add. I read an interesting blurb on this page, which focuses on the ancient people of Mesopotamia, starting with the Sumerians and ending with the Persians. Here's what the site had to say about the relationship between Zoroastrianism and Judaism:

http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/MESO/PERSIANS.HTM

Quote:
As one aspect of the religious eclecticism of Zoroastrianism and Cyrus's intentions, the conquest of Babylon led to the immediate freeing of the Hebrews who had been exiled in Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. Cyrus claimed to have been visited in a dream by Yahweh, the god of the Hebrews. Aligned with Ahura-Mazda, Yahweh demanded to be worshipped in the land of Judah; Cyrus freed the Hebrews with the specific intent that they reintroduce the proper worship of Yahweh in the Temple at Jerusalem. The Hebrews, however, took several Zoroastrian ideas with them; although these religious ideas simmered and brewed as unorthodox ideas among common people, they would eventually resurface with a vengeance in Christianity.
Very interesting. It should be noted that many of the empires of the day didn't force their conquered peoples to convert to their religion; in fact, they often assimilated their conquered peoples' gods into their own religion. Yahweh, for instance, became added to the Hittites' group of gods, and the Assyrians, who succeeded them, extended equal religious tolerance to Judaism, even if the Assyrians were responsible for starting the exile.

I'm doing on-and-off research currently on pre-Zoroastrian influenced Judaism, and the place to look, at first, is within Sumerian religion. The Sumerians were the inventors of the "great flood" myth, except in Sumerian tradition, the gods ("Elohim," which later became used in a singular form [also Elohim] to refer to God) hated their creation of humans and sent a flood to destroy them...except for the survival of one man who built a boat. It should also be noted that Abraham, the father of Judaism, is said in the Bible to be from Ur, the most powerful of the Sumerian city-states. The Code of Hammurabi, while written by the Amorites (the "Old Babylonians"), is thought to have reproduced Sumerian law quite accurately, and it should be noted that the most (in)famous of those laws, "an eye for an eye," came from the Code of Hammurabi and is (obviously) written in the OT.

All very interesting to me...

Melon
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Old 07-10-2004, 03:52 PM   #47
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intereresting. i've been facinated with zoroastrianism since i saw a pbs show on the three wise men.
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Old 06-05-2005, 11:49 PM   #48
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I've been talking about "subversion" lately, so I have something to add to my old thread here:

http://www.iranchamber.com/religions...astrianism.php

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The Subversion of Judaism

In 539 B.C. the great Persian king Cyrus conquered Babylon. His government was a Zoroastrian theocracy. Cyrus had a history of pretending to adopt a religion and then subverting it. In Egypt he claimed to be a god on earth. In Babylon his first act was to worship Marduk, claiming Marduk had sought a righteous prince and Cyrus was he. Later Cyrus mocked Marduk and had his image carted off. Likewise he subverted Baal, worshipping him at first, then appointing Baal's priests and finally destroying Baal's monuments and temples. Cyrus repatriated certain grateful Jewish proteges in 532 B.C. The Persian Kings restored them to their land; and designed and helped them build a Zoroastrian-style temple which was completed 516 B.C. after prolonged resistance from native Jews. In 350 B.C. a large number of Jews were exiled from Judea because of opposition to the Persian theocracy. Here was the overwhelming influence of a mighty state religion in a great empire in which the Jews were subjects. Jews were commanded to obey Cyrus in Isaiah 44 and 45. Not only did the Persian kings select the Jewish high priests, Persian Magi even masqueraded as Jewish Priests (Isaiah 66:21). The Pharisees had all the positions of power, gave the law, and wrote the holy books. Some Jews like Ezra and Daniel (Daniel 6:1-2) were paid agents of the Persians. "It needed the subsequent missions of Nehemiah and Ezra backed by the Achaemenian Imperial Government's authority to make them ruefully conform to the new ideals of monotheism and nationalism that had been conceived in adversity by the diaspora in Babylonia."[5] This interest by the Persian kings in the religion of his subjects was not limited to Jews. They seemed to put great importance on all of his subjects conforming to their religion - perhaps they regarded it as a glue to empire, perhaps they were religious fanatics. The Persians subverted Jewish theology, history, law, and even their language.
And...

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The myths and religious ideas of Genesis are nothing but borrowings from Zoroastrianism according to Dr. Friedrich Spiegal in Avesta die Heiligen Schriften der Persens (Wien 1853). Persian influence on post-exilic history was extreme. The post-exilic prophets acted as spokesmen for the Persian kings. Ezra and the others not only dated events by Persian reigns, but recorded the kings' edicts. In the Exilic books the name of Cyrus occurs 14 times, Darius 13 times, Xerxes 7 times and Artaxerxes about the same. There is no other religious book in the world that so honored foreign princes.

The total subordination can be shown in the extraordinary statements made about Persian officials in the Bible. Artaxerxes was requested to mediate Jewish prayers. Haggai in chapter 2:23 quotes God as calling Zerubbabel, the Persian governor of Judah, his "chosen one". Darius is revered second only to Cyrus and in Isaiah 45:1 Cyrus is called the "Anointed of the Lord," or "Messiah," or "Christ". There are more than one hundred Persian words in the Old Testament. Section after section of the Bible dates from the reigns of the Persian kings. At least Ezra, Nehemiah and Daniel were written originally in Aramaic, an official language of the Persian Empire, but possibly all the books of the Old Testament were. LAW The official version of how the Jews got their present code of laws is that a long-lost document of Moses' was found and original laws were "reintroduced". "At the present time, the Pentatuech contains a vast body of elaborate law, but this is almost all the work of priests in the exilic and post-exilic period of Israel's history."[10] These laws took centuries to produce, and therefore had to have been practised widely and long, but they were never practiced by the Jews. The impossibility of Moses writing a document of God's law and then ignoring it and centuries of priests also ignoring it is absurd. The fact that this transparent ruse had just been tried by Josiah a few years previously completely destroys the myth. Josiah's "newly discovered" laws of Moses were believed by the educated of the time to be the secret creation of High Priest Hilkiah, secretary Shapan, and the prophetess Huldah.[11] What language could they have been written in, since Moses wouldn't have known the canaanite language of Hebrew? A point should be made that Ezra's laws were not only different but more numerous than Joshiah's by a factor of fourteen.
And yet again...

Quote:
The Sadduccees were the vast majority of Jews. The politically connected Pharisees were the Persian faction. The word "Pharisee"; as well as "Parsee", Persians in India; and "Farsi" or "Pharsee" (Persian), are all derived from the name of the Persian town or region of Fars. The connotation given Pharisee was separated from the people of the land, the am ha-aretz. The people of the land were never in exile and therefore practiced true Judaism. There was mutual hostility between the Pharisees and the am ha-aretz. The Pharisees may not even have been Jews but Persian Magi, if Isaiah 66:21 means anything. That would explain "separated" as well as the mutual hostility with the true Jews. The Pharisees never numbered more than 6000 according to Josephus. "Now it was from this very creed (of Zoroaster) that the Jews derived all the angelology of their religion...the belief in a future state; of rewards and punishments, the latter carried on in a fiery lake;...the soul's immortality, and the Last Judgment-all of them essential parts of the Zoroastrian scheme, and recognized by Josephus as the fundamental doctrines of the Judaism of his own times."[12]

Only Pharisaism survived the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in 70 A.D. "Present-day Judaism is Pharisaic Judaism."[13] It was able to survive because of its Zoroastrian pacifism. Only the traitorous act of Rabbi Johann ben Zakkai's concordat with the Romans which allowed him to leave his fellow Jews to their deaths and remove himself to Jamnia kept Pharisaic Judaism alive.
I'd suggest reading the whole article. It's pretty interesting for people interested in Bible scholarship.

And, just to note, I've seen this article posted on several Zoroastrian websites. The "Iran Chamber" (unaffiliated with the government of Iran) has merely reposted it.

It makes me all the more wish that the Biblical canon of the Sadducees still existed. I would love to do a compare and contrast!

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Old 06-06-2005, 02:54 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally posted by Elvis

What I'm getting to, melon, is that perhaps instead of questioning how the Zoroastrian beliefs may have influenced Judaism, and Christianity, you should be questioning how Kabbalah perhaps influenced Zoroastrian beliefs, and how Kabbalah influenced others.

Now, if you go poking around on the net, or even most books, you're going to find that Kabbalah surfaces after the exile... but don't be mislead. Kabbalah was not to be taught or discussed among those that did not pursue it on their own. It is something within, which leads me to this...

Personally, I feel that most people can't understand what Kabbalah really is, there are currently tooooo many misdirections (which is ironic, seeing as though it's not supposed to be taught, etc). BUT... if you want a pretty good interpretation, just look at George Lucas' The Force.

Unfortunately, as far as Kabbalah goes, I've got no great web sites to quote for you melon, no great books to quote either... what's written is misleading, fiction, assumption, flat out wrong, and is simply that... written.

Language is mans gift, and tragedy.

Ah, the Kabbalah...

now we´re getting somewhere.

I had no idea you were interested in that kind of spiritual topics, Elvis
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Old 06-06-2005, 07:23 AM   #50
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Wow. This thread is definately one of the most impressive and enlightening things that I've read in FYM. Congratulations, everyone. Very nice thread indeed.
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Old 06-06-2005, 07:49 AM   #51
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The Avesta is most interesting to read, if you can ever come across it. They have their own section called the "Purity Codes," which reads a lot like the "Purity Codes" of the Old Testament. Unfortunately, just as the canon of the Sadducees is lost, as far as I know, the Avesta took a huge beating with the Islamic conquest of Persia and large portions of it are forever lost, as well.

What's interesting, as well, is that if Zoroastrianism subverted Judaism into the faith of the Pharisees, Jesus subverted the Pharisees, only to be resubverted by Zoroastrian Mithraism by St. Paul.

Not all the "subversion" is bad. Jewish Christianity suffered from too much exclusivity, whereas St. Paul opened wide the doors to faith.

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