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14790Re: [ANE-2] Zoroastrianism and its influence on Jewish thought

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  • Graham Hagens
    Mar 16 11:09 AM
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      I was hoping for list members more knowledgeable than I to respond to this extremely complex question. In the interim, however, here is an indirect 2 cents contribution.
      Any answer to this question must involve the broader question of  the nature of religio-syncretic studies  The collation of essays in  Leopold & Jensen (Syncretism in Religion,  Equinox, 2004),  helps to understand why syncretism tends to languish somewhere between an academic backwater and outright taboo.  (Cf. in that volume: Pye [1971]Syncretism and Ambiquity; Kurt [1992].Syncretism: From Theological Invective to a Concept in the Study of Religion; Baird [1991] Syncretism and the History of Religions).
      No true believers like to admit that their core values might have been compromised by outsiders, and so in spite of strong evidence that Zoroastrianism strongly influenced Greek, Judeo-Christian and South Asian thinking between ~600BCE-~300CE,  this topic nowhere achieves the status of a recognised academic discipline.  Mary Boyce touches on Zoroastrian influence on Judaism in several passages in her History, but I don't believe she gave it a thorough treatment anywhere - at least nothing like Martin West's contribution to Greek philosophy. Thomas McEvilley's excellent Shape of Ancient Thought, (Allworth 2002) has some references to Persian/Jewish syncretism - but it is not a core focus of his study.
      One major problem affecting all Zoroastrian studies - and one of particular concern of 'objectivist' archae-historians such as the so-called 'Copenhagen School', is that there are no primary documents.  This, not only because so many Persian documents were written on perishable materials, but because Zoroastrianism was an oral tradition, not committed to hard copy until Islamic times, perhaps two millennia after the compostion of the earliest gathas, and a millennium later than the timeframe of maximum contact with Judeo-Christianity.  
      So as far as I am aware a major study on Zoroastrian/Judeo-Christian syncretism has yet to be written. If anyone can correct this impression I would be delighted to learn of it.
      Graham Hagens
      Hamilton Ontario

      From: Daniel Grolin <dgrolin@...>
      To: ane <ane-2@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 6:13 PM
      Subject: [ANE-2] Zoroastrianism and its influence on Jewish thought


      I am interested in what the current attitudes are as to the influence of Zoroastrianism on Jewish thought. I am in particular interested in the Copenhagen school of thought's views on this matter. Can someone provide a summary and or references?


      Daniel Grolin
      Århus, Denmark

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