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Re: Achaemenid period creativity

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  • Graham Hagens
    Z could certainly be late so long as one recognises that by the time his religion reached Persia it was already old Graham Hagens Hamilton, Ontario
    Message 1 of 16 , Jun 2, 2010
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      Z could certainly be 'late' so long as one recognises that by the time his religion reached Persia it was already 'old'

      Graham Hagens
      Hamilton, Ontario

      ed, 6/2/10, Brian Colless <briancolless@...> wrote:

      > From: Brian Colless <briancolless@...>
      > Subject: Re: Achaemenid period creativity
      > To: "Graham Hagens" <rgrahamh@...>
      > Date: Wednesday, June 2, 2010, 9:31 AM
      > Graham,
      >
      > I would be pleased if you put all you have said to me into
      > the forum.

      >
      > Brian
      >
      > On 3/06/2010, at 12:36 AM, Graham Hagens wrote:
      >
      > >
      > > Brian - I have just realized that I did not copy the
      > ANE list on my 
      > > response.
      > >
      > > so our exchange is off-list. Do you mind if I submit
      > this exchange?
      > >
      > > Also: regarding the Iron Age/Bronze Age question - are
      > you familiar 
      > > with Mary Boyce's comments about the dating of Z? -
      > she suggests 
      > > that the teachings arose during a period of societal
      > disturbance and 
      > > conflict between warriors and tribesmen sometime in the
      > late 2nd 
      > > millennium.  The terms Iron/Bronze don't really
      > mean  anything in 
      > > the south Asian steppes in that timeframe.

      > So, Z could just as well be late!
      > I don't want to be quoted as denying the BAge dating for Z;
      > I just 
      > want to consider both possibilities carefully.
      >
      > > The social tensions were most probably related to
      > climate change, 
      > > and dessication of grazing land (she doesn't say that,
      > other 
      > > researchers do).
      > >
      > > Graham
      > >
      > > --- On Wed, 6/2/10, Brian Colless <briancolless@...>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > >> From: Brian Colless <briancolless@...>
      > >> Subject: Re: Achaemenid period creativity
      > >> To: "Graham Hagens" <rgrahamh@...>
      > >> Date: Wednesday, June 2, 2010, 12:29 AM
      > >>
      > >> Graham,
      > >>
      > >> This is interesting and possibly enlightening!
      > >>
      > >> Today I have set out an argument for Zarathushtra
      > in the
      > >> Iron Age, rather than the Bronze Age (though I am
      > not
      > >> denying this possibility).
      > >>
      > >> Brian
      > >> On 30/05/2010, at 6:43 AM, Graham Hagens wrote:
      > >>
      > >>> Thanks Brian.
      > >>> I am astonished that it takes so long to get
      > into NS's
      > >> Last Word. That would explain why I never see
      > answers to
      > >> questions which so often interest
      > me.   How
      > >> does Jon Richfield manage to do one a week?
      > >>>
      > >>> Anyway to get to your main point about
      > Zarathustra.
      > >>>
      > >>> In my slightly humble opinion, the dating of
      > his life
      > >> is almost completely irrelevant when considering
      > the impact
      > >> of Zoroastrian ideas on the ANE.
      > >>>
      > >>> Two primary points emphasized by Mary Boyce
      > are:
      > >>>
      > >>> (i) Based on the Avestan preserved in the
      > earliest
      > >> Gathas she concluded (and the vast majority of
      > Zoroastrian
      > >> scholars now agree), by the time Zoroastrianism
      > reached
      > >> Media/Persia in the 7th century Zarathusthra had
      > been dead
      > >> for centuries: 5 or 10? it doesn't matter. 
      > By then the
      > >> religion he started had become a highly
      > structured,
      > >> inflexible priest controlled organisation with a
      > long list
      > >> of impossible rules & regulations.
      > >>> (ii) Cyrus I (or II, the guy who conquered
      > Media)
      > >> appears to have been a recent, perhaps reluctant,
      > convert to
      > >> Zoroastrianism. It is not even clear that he
      > actually
      > >> followed its precepts. (The suggestion being that
      > he may
      > >> have pretended to convert in order to marry into
      > the Median
      > >> royal family).
      > >>> The consequences of his ambivalence (like
      > Henry VIII's
      > >> catholicism) may have been profound, for his
      > various courts
      > >> entertained philosophers and religious teachers
      > from all
      > >> over the empire, and the Jews were not the only
      > group to get
      > >> a letter of commendation and praise for their
      > Deity. His
      > >> scattered subjects felt free to pick and choose
      > whichever
      > >> elements of the religion appealed to them. 
      > And they
      > >> did.
      > >>>
      > >>> Graham Hagens
      > >>> Hamilton, Ontario
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>> --- On Fri, 5/28/10, Brian Colless <briancolless@...>
      > >> wrote:
      > >>>
      > >>>> From: Brian Colless <briancolless@...>
      > >>>> Subject: Achaemenid period creativity
      > >>>> To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      > >>>> Cc: rgrahamh@...
      > >>>> Date: Friday, May 28, 2010, 9:14 AM
      > >>>>
      > >>>> On 22/05/2010, at 3:12 AM, Graham Hagens
      > >>>> wrote:
      > >>>> Brian
      > >>>> - now that I know, thanks to New Scientist
      > that
      > >>>> you can wiggle your own ears I have more
      > respect
      > >> than ever
      > >>>> for your contributions to this list.
      > >>>> That
      > >>>> NS contribution was heavily edited, and
      > only
      > >> published after
      > >>>> a long delay (nine months of gestation
      > and
      > >> digestation),
      > >>>> much longer  than happens in this
      > forum,
      > >> while the
      > >>>> committee considers whether my submissions
      > are
      > >> libelous or
      > >>>> libidinous or too libertarian to let
      > through.
      > >>>> If you want to see the original
      > Australasian
      > >>>> sardonic version, it is preserved here
      > (until the
      > >> wonderful
      > >>>> wizard's web collapses):
      > >>>> http://bonzoz.blogspot.com/2009/07/earwiggling.html
      > >>>> But this discussion has inspired me to put
      > my
      > >>>> teaching materials on Zoroastrianism onto
      > the web,
      > >> adding an
      > >>>> ANCIENT PERSIA section to:
      > >>>> http://sites.google.com/site/collesseum/
      > >>>> At a religion conference in Auckland,
      > Lloyd
      > >>>> Geering gave a lecture on the axial
      > period; he
      > >> made a big
      > >>>> thing of it in his books; Peter Craigie
      > gave a
      > >> critique, the
      > >>>> main point being the uncertain date of
      > >>>> Zarathushtra.
      > >>>> Iif the Iranians are not in the axial
      > period it
      > >>>> certainly deserves to be trashed.I have
      > brooded
      > >>>> over the date of Zarathushtra for many
      > years (you
      > >> know me,
      > >>>> if there is a puzzle to be solved I will
      > chew on
      > >> it till it
      > >>>> releases its marrow).
      > >>>> Here are two relevant extracts from my
      > >>>> notes: (1) The lifetime of
      > >>>> ZarathushtraThis is not known. Was it the
      > >>>> sixth century
      > >>>> B.C.E., or was it much earlier?We could
      > argue for
      > >> the sixth
      > >>>> century in
      > >>>> this way: Cyrus (559-530 B.C.E.),
      > >>>> the founder of the
      > >>>> Persian Empire,  mentions the god
      > >>>> Ahura Mazda, the god proclaimed by the
      > prophet
      > >>>> Zarathushtra, though
      > >>>> he also names other gods as his
      > >>>> patrons.Darius (a successor of Cyrus
      > >>>> but not a
      > >>>> descendant ) likewise acknowledges
      > Auramazda but
      > >> also
      > >>>> "the gods that
      > >>>> there
      > >>>> are";
      > >>>>
      > >>>> the name of the king who
      > >>>> protected
      > >>>> Zarathushtra was Vishtaspa, and that was
      > also the
      > >> name of
      > >>>> the father of
      > >>>> Darius,
      > >>>> who  ruled Parthia
      > >>>> while Darius was  emperor;
      > >>>> so Zarathushtra lived in
      > >>>> eastern Iran (in
      > >>>> or near Parthia) during the reign of
      > >>>> Darius (522-486). But Vishtaspa may have
      > >>>> been an ancient name revived by Darius's
      > >>>> family.
      > >>>> And, some scholars
      > >>>> (notably Mary Boyce) suggest,
      > >>>> on the basis of Iranian and Greek
      > traditions, that
      > >> the
      > >>>> prophet belongs
      > >>>> in the
      > >>>> second millennium B.C.E., perhaps
      > contemporary
      > >> with Moses,
      > >>>> rather than
      > >>>> with
      > >>>> Ezekiel and Jeremiah, and the Buddha, in
      > the sixth
      > >> century
      > >>>> B.C.E. However, the Islamic
      > >>>> author al-Biruni gives
      > >>>> the date
      > >>>> of Zarathushtra as 258 years before
      > Alexander the
      > >> Great.
      > >>>> The date of
      > >>>> Alexander's
      > >>>> defeat of Darius III of Persia was 330
      > >>>> B.C.E.;subtracting 258 from this (or
      > >>>> adding 258 to 330!) produces 588
      > >>>> B.C.E., as the birth-year of the
      > prophet;tradition
      > >> says that he died
      > >>>> at the age of
      > >>>> seventy-seven;  this gives his
      > >>>> dates as 588-511 (6th century, anyway).
      > >>>> (2) Notes
      > >>>> to my translation of selected Gathas
      > >>>> Yasna 53 is the
      > >>>> last in the
      > >>>> collection of Gathas. It seems to be a
      > sermon
      > >> delivered by
      > >>>> the prophet at the
      > >>>> wedding of his daughter Pouruchista, who
      > is named
      > >> in the
      > >>>> third verse. It also
      > >>>> mentions his protector Kavi Vishtaspa.
      > >> Zarathushtra exhorts
      > >>>> his followers, both
      > >>>> men and women, to good works and good
      > thought. The
      > >> homely
      > >>>> setting of this
      > >>>> homily is enough to dispel any idea that
      > this
      > >> prophet is a
      > >>>> religious fiction of
      > >>>> the Zoroastrians. There was certainly a
      > >> historical
      > >>>> Zoroaster, as there was a
      > >>>> historical Jesus and Muhammad and Gautama.
      > Which
      > >> century of
      > >>>> history he belongs
      > >>>> to remains uncertain. Scholarly opinion
      > has tended
      > >> to place
      > >>>> him in the sixth
      > >>>> century B.C.E., along with the Sage
      > Confucius, and
      > >> Gautama
      > >>>> the Buddha, and
      > >>>> Ezekiel (who like Zoroaster was both
      > priest and
      > >> prophet).
      > >>>> The fact that
      > >>>> Vishtaspa was the name of the father of
      > Darius the
      > >> Great
      > >>>> (522-486) is an
      > >>>> important fact for this case. But there is
      > a
      > >> growing
      > >>>> feeling that Zarathushtra
      > >>>> belongs with Moses in the second
      > millennium B.C.E.
      > >> Mary
      > >>>> Boyce would date him to
      > >>>> the Bronze Age, more specifically between
      > 1400
      > >> and
      > >>>> 1200.
      > >>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>> One thing that came up in the
      > >>>> discussion is the archaic look about the
      > language
      > >> of the
      > >>>> Gathas (translating some of them was one
      > of the
      > >> hardest
      > >>>> tasks I have ever undertaken), I invoked
      > the
      > >> analogies of
      > >>>> Classical Hebrew and Arabic, where Arabic
      > retained
      > >> all the
      > >>>> noun-cases; and similarly modern English
      > and
      > >>>> German.
      > >>>> I had thought that the divine title Ahura
      > Mazda,
      > >>>> Mazda Ahura, Mazda might have helped in
      > dating
      > >> (>
      > >>>> Ahuramazda, and Ohrmizd).
      > >>>> Anyway, the Iranians certainly transmitted
      > old
      > >>>> and new ideas into Judaism (and
      > Christianity):
      > >> resurrection,
      > >>>> judgement.And the winged sun-disc from
      > Egypt,
      > >>>> passed through Mesopotamia to Persia and
      > Parsee
      > >> religion
      > >>>> (with Ahura Mazda in the disc; this is
      > denied, and
      > >> I do not
      > >>>> know what the truth is), but George
      > Mendenhall
      > >> (Tenth
      > >>>> Generation) reported one from Anatolia
      > with the
      > >> head of
      > >>>> Jesus Christ in the disc.
      > >>>>
      > >>>> The estimated birthdate of
      > >>>> the Buddha I
      > >>>> saw a good argument for putting Gautama at
      > the
      > >> same time,
      > >>>> 580 -500 (he lived 80 years)
      > >>>> Brian CollessMassey University,
      > >>>> NZ
      > >>>> maintained
      > >>>> by various Buddhist communities range over
      > 177
      > >> years from
      > >>>> 624 to 447BCE.  Although the 563 is
      > most
      > >> commonly,
      > >>>> there are good arguments that he lived
      > between
      > >>>> 463-383BCE by which time the Achaemenid
      > satrapies
      > >> in
      > >>>> Gandhara (eponymous  Kandahar) had
      > been in
      > >> existence
      > >>>> for several decades. There is also a body
      > of
      > >> (admittedly
      > >>>> anecdotal) evidence to suggest that
      > Siddartha
      > >> Gautama spent
      > >>>> some years practising meditation prior to
      > his
      > >>>> Enlightenment in what is today southern
      > >>>> Afghanistan.
      > >>>>
      > >>>> According to Diringer the
      > >>>> Karoshthi script had arrived in north
      > western
      > >> India by
      > >>>> the 5th century - and the oldest extant
      > Buddhist
      > >> Gandhari
      > >>>> canon  is written that script, 
      > However
      > >> most
      > >>>> Buddhist traditions were oral - and not
      > put to
      > >>>> writing, in Brahmi, until the time of
      > Ashoka, 3rd
      > >>>> century.
      > >>>>
      > >>>> Graham Hagens
      > >>>> Hamilton
      > >>>>
      > >>>> --- On Thu, 5/20/10, Brian
      > >>>> Colless <briancolless@...>
      > >>>> wrote:
      > >>>>
      > >>>> From: Brian Colless <briancolless@...>
      > >>>> Subject: [ANE-2] Achaemenid
      > >>>> period creativity
      > >>>> To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      > >>>> Date: Thursday, May 20, 2010,
      > >>>> 8:39 AM
      > >>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>> On 17/05/2010, at 1:54 AM,
      > >>>> Graham Hagens wrote:
      > >>>>
      > >>>>> That two century Achaemenid
      > >>>> period was arguably one of the most
      > >>>>> creative in the long
      > >>>> history of what we like to call
      > civilization.
      > >>>>>
      > >>>> Yes, it has been called 'the
      > >>>> axial period'.
      > >>>>
      > >>>> I had never thought of the
      > >>>> Akhaemenid connection for the Indian
      > >>>> movements, only the question
      > >>>> whether Zarathushtra's protector Kavi
      > >>>> Vishtaspa was the same ruler as
      > >>>> the father of Darius the Great (Greek
      > >>>> Hystaspes).
      > >>>>
      > >>>> I always thought the Buddha
      > >>>> belonged around 500, but I did not think
      > >>>> of an Iranian connection.
      > >>>>
      > >>>> I am wondering now whether this
      > >>>> is when the Indian scripts begin,
      > >>>> based on the Aramaic alphabet.
      > >>>> Is this something you considered?
      > >>>>
      > >>>> Brian Colless
      > >>>>
      > >>>> Massey Univrsity, NZ
      > >>>>
      > >>>>> In a forthcoming article in
      > >>>> the classics journal Mouseion I argue
      > >>>>> that the Achaemenid
      > >>>> satrapies in Gandhara played a pivotal
      > role in
      > >>>>> the emergence of western
      > >>>> and eastern (Greek, Buddhist, Upanishad,
      > >>>>> Jain) philosophies.
      > >>>> Syncretic evidence supports the seldom
      > cited 5th
      > >>>>> century BCE chronology of
      > >>>> Siddartha Gautama and major Upanishad
      > >>>>> teachers suggesting that
      > >>>> they like Herodotus, Democritus, Isaiah
      > II/
      > >>>>> III, Nehemiah etc. were all
      > >>>> at one time subjects of the same empire,
      > >>>>> and enjoyed similar degress
      > >>>> of freedom to explore new ideas.
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>> Graham Hagens
      > >>>>> Hamilton
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>> [Non-text portions of this
      > >>>> message have been removed]
      > >>>>
      > >>>> [Non-text portions of this
      > >>>> message have been removed]
      > >>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      >
    • Graham Hagens
      ... . Most scholars now date the death of the historical Buddha (once again, *if* he was a historical character, which is not granted at all!) to around 400
      Message 2 of 16 , Jun 2, 2010
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        --- On Sat, 5/29/10, Francesco Brighenti <frabrig@...> wrote:


        .>Most scholars now date the death of the "historical" Buddha (once again, *if* he was a >historical character, which is not granted at all!) to around 400 BCE or a little later.
        >The "new dating" of the Buddha, on which a consensus was arrived at on the occasion of >a colloquium held in 1988 under the auspices of H. Bechert (see H. Bechert, ed., _The >Dating of the Historical Buddha / Die Datierung des Historischen Buddha_, Göttingen, >Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1991-2), implies that the Buddha's period of teaching activity >was in the second half of the 5th c. BCE, perhaps extending into the first quarter of the >4th c. BCE -- see at

         
        Francesco, thank you very much for this reference - it supports the theme of my forthcoming article, but I had missed it.  Hopefully not too late to make an insertion. 
        One more example of why this forum is so valuable.
         
        I'm not sure about  'most scholars' now supporting the 5th century dating, however. The traditional 6th century dating still appears to be very popular.
         
        Graham Hagens
        Hamilton, ON


        From: Francesco Brighenti <frabrig@...>
        Subject: [ANE-2] Re: Achaemenid period creativity
        To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Saturday, May 29, 2010, 12:23 PM


         





        Dear Brian,

        You write:

        > [T]his discussion has inspired me to put my teaching materials on
        > Zoroastrianism onto the web, adding an ANCIENT PERSIA section to:
        >
        > [ http://sites.google.com/site/collesseum/iranian-documents ]
        >
        > [...]
        >
        > Here are two relevant extracts from my notes:
        >
        > "The lifetime of Zarathushtra -- This is not known. Was it the
        > sixth century B.C.E., or was it much earlier? [...] [S]ome scholars
        > (notably Mary Boyce) suggest [...] that the prophet belongs in the
        > second millennium B.C.E."

        Forget about the 6th c. BCE date. This is excluded, _in primis_, on linguistic grounds:

        http://iranica.com/articles/zoroaster-iii-zoroaster-in-the-avesta
        "As a result of such linguistic arguments, we can rule out with certainty that Zaraθuštra was a contemporary of the early Achaemenids, because the language of the Avesta does not allow such a late date."

        Zaraθuštra is mentioned several times in all five Gâthâs (the oldest Avestan texts) and, therefore, *if* he was a historical character, he must be coeval with them. The Old Avestan period was roughly "contemporary with the reign of the Hittite king Hattusilis (ca. 1300) and the Mycenean Greek culture (1600-1100)" -- see O.P. Skjærvø at

        http://blagoverie.org/files/385/oldavestanprimer.pdf
        (pp. IX-X in the paper)

        See also Skjærvø's discussions of the historicity vs. non-historicity of Zaraθuštra at

        http://tinyurl.com/328x9j
        (pp. 52-56 in the paper)

        and at

        http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/Skjaervo.pdf
        (pp. 9-11 and 20-25 in the paper)

        > I saw a good argument for putting Gautama at the same time, 580-500
        > (he lived 80 years).http://indology.info/papers/cousins/node4.shtml

        and at

        http://www.buddhistethics.org/15/prebish-article.pdf

        Kindest regards,
        Francesco Brighenti
        Venezia











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      • Don Mills
        ... Archaizing language can be used in sacred contexts, as happened in  ancient Egypt, for example (and in the Book of Mormon). ... At risk of being
        Message 3 of 16 , Jun 17, 2010
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          Brian Colless (whose postings I always enjoy, especially as a fellow Kiwi.  Hey, we thrashed Slovakia, 1-all!) wrote:

          -----<snip>-----
          Archaizing language can be used in sacred contexts, as happened in 
          ancient Egypt, for example (and in the Book of Mormon).
          -----<snip to end>-----

          At risk of being off-topic: the language of the good ol' St James Version ( :-) ) of the Bible, published 1611, was also archaising.

          (The language of the Revised Version was unintelligible.)

          -- Don Mills,
          London

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • jgibson000@comcast.net
          ... *St *James version??? New one on me, and I thought I knew most of the English translations! Jeffrey -- Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon) 1500 W. Pratt
          Message 4 of 16 , Jun 17, 2010
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            On 6/17/2010 2:46 PM, Don Mills wrote:
            > Brian Colless (whose postings I always enjoy, especially as a fellow Kiwi. Hey, we thrashed Slovakia, 1-all!) wrote:
            >
            > -----<snip>-----
            > Archaizing language can be used in sacred contexts, as happened in
            > ancient Egypt, for example (and in the Book of Mormon).
            > -----<snip to end>-----
            >
            > At risk of being off-topic: the language of the good ol' St James Version ( :-) ) of the Bible, published 1611, was also archaising.
            >
            *St *James version???

            New one on me, and I thought I knew most of the English translations!

            Jeffrey

            --
            Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
            1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
            Chicago, Illinois
            e-mail jgibson000@...
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