Dear Mr. Faussette,
"The Achaemenid emperors lapsed into idolatry. This is a fact. Zoroaster created his religion in opposition to idolaters."
Alas, this may be a fact in your mind, but there is no tangible, contemporaneous evidence of the dates of Zoroaster's life nor that he post-dated any Achaemenid ruler. If anything he may have pre-dated them substantially.
To argue that the Achaemenid rulers "lapsed in idolatry" you would need to show definitively that there was an identifiable tradition of what - monotheism? Aniconic or anti-iconic worship? Achaemenid royal inscriptions mention a number of "gods' or divine beings. To argue that this represents a lapse, you have to come up with inscriptions that substantiate an earlier, different belief system. Without that documentation, this is just a pointless argument about beliefs, which is not the function of this list.
Trudy S. Kawami
] On Behalf Of richfaussette
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2013 6:50 PM
Subject: [ANE-2] Re: FW: Constantine and Ardashir (slightly OT)
--- In ANEemail@example.com<mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>, Trudy Kawami <tkawami@...<mailto:tkawami@...>> wrote:
I can only address a few of these issues. Everything you claim these two kings did, is what kings and other rulers since Sargon of Akkad have done - try to channel, control, manipulate, etc. the religious entities they have in the regions they control. And each one claims to go back to the "good old days," to renew temples their predecessors let fall into ruin, to renew the proper rituals, etc. You may believe their propaganda if you wish, but you cannot expect everyone else to believe it.
> Trudy S. Kawami
I am not deeply concerned with what "everyone else" believes nor do I believe your simply mentioning Sargon of Akkad equates what he might have done with what Ardashir or Constantine or Darius did. Renewing temples and rituals is not what Ardashir, Darius and Constantine were engaged in. They were engaged in strengthening and unifying their respective empires through a deliberate centralization of religion; its personnel and its texts. I don't believe the process they were engaged in was a channeling of propaganda.
The correspondence with Elephantine is objective. Why don't you mention it?
"The assumption that renewed fire altar construction can be equated with aniconism is also an assumption, not objective documentation."
The Achaemenid emperors lapsed into idolatry. This is a fact. Zoroaster created his religion in opposition to idolaters. It is not an assumption that Zoroastrian fire altars contain no graven images. It is a fact. To note a resurgence of fire altar construction in the wake of Ardashir's purported reformation of Zoroastrianism makes perfect sense.
You enjoy Briant but you do not share his conclusions.
"In 418, one Hanani (Nehemiah's brother?) came to Elephantine bearing a very important document that regulated the celebration of Passover by the Jews. It does seem that in this case the initiative came from the authorities in Jerusalem, who wanted to unify ritual throughout the diaspora."
Does Briant come to that conclusion because he believes the propaganda? Note his term is unifying (e.g. centralizing) not rehabilitating or renewing as Sargon did by your reckoning.
I believe that there is much more Persian influence in the Torah than is generally believed; more than I have presented here.
You can read my paper on the subject.
The Fundamental Structure and Systematic Theology of the Torah
At this link:
Click the download link. The other links are not formatted as well.
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