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ZOROASTER AND THE ROOTS OF MONOTHEISM
ONLY AVAILABLE ON IDEAINDIA.COM
EBOOK FOR DOWNLOAD
eBook Size: 117 KB; 33 pages;
Only US$ 2
© Roderick Matthews 2007
Scholars now have little doubt that Zoroaster (Zarathushtra, Zardosht) was a real historic personage. However, there has been a very long and technical debate about the exact dates of his life. The disagreement is mainly between scholars who place his birth at an earlier date, around 1200-1000 BCE and Zoroaster’s own followers, who uphold a date around 630 BCE. Remembering that in religious terms ancient origins are generally better than modern ones, this represents a highly unusual situation, where the believers have a precise, late date for the life of their Prophet and disinterested unbelievers are prepared to make him much more ancient.
Although very little is known of Zoroaster, even less is agreed. For a figure that had such a long-lasting and profound effect on the course of world religion, this is remarkable. It has meant that since his time (whenever that was) the things he said (whatever they were) have never quite stood still and have been constantly reinterpreted in ways that often tell us more about the interpreters than they do about Zoroaster’s life and teachings. All the familiar problems of ancient history, problems of language, chronology, partisan bias and anachronistic assumptions, appear to obstruct our understanding of the subject. This eBook looks at some of these issues.
Roderick Matthews, Historian, Obtained a First from Balliol College, Oxford in Modern History. Studied Medieval History under Maurice Keen. Studied Tudor and Stuart History under Christopher Hill, Master of Balliol College. Studied European History under Colin Lucas, later Master of Balliol College and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University. Studied Imperial History under Professor Paul Longford, Rector of Lincoln College.