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Re: [tied] An Odd Question??? Could be Indo European???

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  • longgren@webtv.net
    Here is another article on the Zoroastrian origin of Judaism and Christianity: http://www.delphi.com/zoroastrianism1/messages/?msg=22.1 Click Here For A New
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 31, 2001
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      Here is another article on the Zoroastrian origin of Judaism and
      Christianity:
      http://www.delphi.com/zoroastrianism1/messages/?msg=22.1

      Click Here For A New Window
       From: PPROFESSOR 3/2/2000 11:33 pm To: ALL  22.1 
      Zoroastrianism and Judaism: The Genesis of Comparative Beliefs of two
      Great Faiths
      Ervard Dr. Jehan Bagli
      Zoroastrianism and Judaism have ties that were knotted many centuries
      before Christianity appeared on the religious stage of this planet. The
      Zoroastrian way of life has markedly influenced the early Hebrew
      religious fabric. Just how did this come about both at the social and
      doctrinal level is a subject worth exploring and understanding.
      The Achaemenian King most intimately associated with these events is
      Cyrus, the Great, a worshipper of Zoroaster's-God Ahura Mazda who became
      the King of Anshan in 558 B.C. and was heralded as the founder of the
      Achaemenian Empire. In this era Babylon was ruled by a tyrant named
      Nabonidus. He oppressed Babylonians in general and held the 'people of
      Israel' as captives in his land, in particular. Historical evidence
      suggests that learned and skilled Persian agents. must have infiltnated
      Babylon to convince the Marduk (God of Babylonia) Priesthood and the
      people of Israel, that their only salvation was to allow the take over
      of Babylon by Cyrus.
      Scholars suggest that the result of the work by Persian agents was
      clearly reflected in Cyrus's Proclamation that appeared as an oracle
      from the Gods of Babylonia empowering him to set Babylon free. A
      striking parallel to this is noticeable in the prophecies found in the
      Book of Jind Isaiah. The similarity of the two accounts clearly suggests
      that the prophet Isaiah was perhaps the first Jew to learn about Cyrus
      and Zoroastrianism from the Persian Magis. An example of these two
      parallels is given below:
      Cyrus' Proclamation portrays Marduk saying, "He (Marduk) scanned and
      looked (through) all the countries, searching for a righteous ruler.. he
      pronounced the name of Cyrus, King of Anshan. . .to become the ruler of
      all the world. Marduk the great Lord, a protector of his people beheld
      with pleasure his (Cyrus') good deeds and ordered him to march against
      the City of Babylon". Morton Smith, Jour. of Amer. Ori. Soc. 1963, 83,
      415.
      The verses of the IInd Isaiah reflects a strikingly parallel calling to
      Cyrus from the Hebrew God Jehovah (Yahweh).
      "The one saying of Cyrus, He is my shepherd and all that I delight in he
      wi1l completely carry out.' Even in (my) saying of Jerusalem, 'She will
      be rebuilt and the temple.....foundation laid" (verse 44.28).
      "This is what Jehovah has said to his anointed One, to Cyrus whose right
      hand I have taken hold of to subdue before him Nations..." (verse 45.1)
      "I myself have roused up someone in righteousness, He is the one that
      will build my city and those of mine in exile he will let go, not for a
      price nor for bribery. (verse 45.13).
      It is apparent from the above quotes that the Zoroastrian King Cyrus was
      called upon from two varied sources to perform a common duty. As
      expressed by Morton Smith (loc. cit), "To the Judeans they represented
      Cyrus, as chosen of Yahweh to unite Babylon and restore Israel; to the
      Babylonian Priesthood they represented him as chosen of Marduk to free
      Babylon from the tyranny of Nobonidus". It is interesting to note that
      utterance of IInd Isaiah speaks of violence in the takeover of Babylon
      (Isaiah 45.2). In contrast, the prophecy of Marduk Priesthood speaks of
      a totally non-violent entry in Babylon (Morton Smith loc. cit). Facts of
      history do record that Cyrus made a bloodless coup of Babylon. Professor
      Boyce notes that "the Verses of IInd Isaiah are remarkable in that in
      them alone, out of all the Old Testament, the term 'Messiah' in the
      sense of an anointed deliverer of the Jewish nation is used of
      foreigner, a non-Jew (Cyrus)", (History of Zoroastrianism. Vol. II, p.
      44).
      The evidence of the contact of the IInd Isaiah with a Persian
      (Zoroastrian) source is further augmented by the presence of various
      theological expressions in this scripture not frequently noted in Hebrew
      literature. Not only are these utterances foreign to the Hebrew
      tradition but they also bear a marked resemblance to the character of
      the Zoroastrian tradition. Concerning these similarities Smith remarks
      that it is rarely possible to establish the absolute genesis of a
      theological idea. However, the author adds, "What can be seen clearly is
      the way in which certain ideas formerly sporadic and unimportant
      suddenly finds frequent expression and are made central concern of
      important work" (loc. cit. p. 418). A case in point is the notion that
      'Yahweh created the world'. In traditional Hebrew literature this plays
      no conspicuous role. The insistence of Isaiah to utter this concept
      repeatedly led Morton Smith to conclude that this was a result of an
      outside influence, on the traditional Judaism. This she describes by
      saying, "...the fact that Isaiah got his political program from Persian
      propaganda of Cyrus, makes it plausible to look for the source of this
      influence in Persian (Zoroastrian) material...".
      Yasna 44 of GATHA USHTAVAITI - a passage often used by some of the
      scholars to support the notion, omnipotence of Ahura Mazda - consist of
      a series of profound questions by prophet Zoroaster to Ahura Mazda. The
      obvious answer to these may be formulated as "I am" or "I do" from the
      Wise Lord, Ahura Mazda. One finds a striking resemblance both in the
      style and in the substance of cosmological account of IInd Isaiah in
      verses 40 and 45, with those of Yasna 44. To quote but one such example,
      we read in Yasna 44.5:
      "This I ask Thee. Tell me truly which craftsman created the luminous
      bodies and the dark spaces? Which craftsman created both sleep and
      activity?..." S. Insler, Gatha of Zarathushtra p. 67.
      The above passage parallels remarkably well with verse 45.7 of IInd
      Isaiah which says: "Forming light and creating darkness, making peace
      and creating calamity, I Jehovah am doing all these things." Takino into
      consideration the historic time slot, a strong case for the influence of
      Zoroaster's teaching on the thinking of Isaiah, can be made.
      The Book of EZRA, believed to have been written ca. 460 B.C. starts by
      relating the decree of Cyrus (EZRA 1.1, 1.2). It began by saying, that
      Yahweh, the God had commissioned Cyrus to build him a house in
      Jerusalem. History records that the task was yet unfinished at that
      time. We read in verses 5.1 and 6.14, 15 of the Book of EZRA, request by
      prophets, Haggai and Zachariah to the Jews to build the 'House of
      Yahweh'. It is believed that after a search in the Royal records,
      Darius, then the ruling Zoroastrian monarch of Persia, complied to
      fulfill the decree of Cyrus. In the Hebrew scripture EZRA records this
      event (verse 6.15) by saying, 'And they completed this House (of
      Jehovah) by the third day of the lunar month of Adar - that is in the
      sixth year of the reign of Darius the King. It must be mentioned at this
      point, that Darius - the Zoroastrian ruler in aiding the Jews apparently
      gained two major concessions:
      1) The loyalty and gratitude of his Jewish subjects, and
      2) A safe passage to Egypt, since Palestine is strategically located on
      the road between Persia and Egypt.
      Over half a century later we arrive at the Achaemenian King Artaxerxes
      whose name also appears in Hebrew scriptures of EZRA (verses 7.7, 7.12).
      Artaxerxes followed the tradition of benevolence towards the Jews as set
      by his ancestors. He appointed NEHEMIAH one of his loyal servants to
      govern Jerusalem. We are told NEHEMIAH, who followed the Zoroastrian
      purity code rigidly, was responsible for the transition of the Jewish
      purity code, that solely concerned the cultic matters, to the purity in
      the individual's daily life, The purity laws, as observed by Prof.
      Boyce, were no longer restricted to the Temple, but had to be exercised
      in 'the fields, the kitchen, the bed and the street (History of
      Zoroastrianism Vol. II, p. 190).
      The works of 'EZRA the scribe' - knowledgeable in the law of the God of
      Heaven (EZRA 7.12) and in the law of Moses (EZRA 7.6) - are primarily
      responsible for the parallels in the beliefs between Zoroastrianisni and
      Judaism. EZRA was commissioned by emperor Artaxerxes to go to Jerusalem
      and to investigate the law of their God. The letter giving that decree
      is preserved in the Book of EZRA (7.11, -14), which says, "And this is a
      copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to EZRA, by me an order has
      been put through that everyone in my land of the people of Israel and
      their priest and levites that is willing to go to Jerusalem with you,
      should go. In as much as from before the King and his seven counselors
      (an order) was sent to investigate concerning Judah, and Jerusalem in
      the law of your God..."
      The 'seven counselors' referred to in the letter above reflects the
      Zoroastrian Doctrine of Heptad. The monarch in those days commanded the
      degree of respect on earth as the Creator in Heavens. The King then was
      the earthly reflection of Ahura Mazda. He thus constituted 'the seven'
      with his counsellors as the 'The Heptad' constituted by Ahura Mazda and
      the Amesha Spenta (Boyce, History of Zoroastrianism, Vol. II, p. 94).
      Of the first five books.of the old Testaments known as the PENTATEUCH,
      the post-exilic accounts are largely in 'Priestly code'. Prophet EZRA is
      associated with these accounts by modern scholars. The 'Holiness Code'
      of the Book of Leviticus and the first chapter of the Book of Genesis
      are attributed to these writings. They show profound Zoroastrian
      influences.
      It is important to note that the GENESIS account of the cosmogony in
      Chapter I is markedly different from the story of the Garden of Eden In
      Chapter II. The account of the first chapter bears marked resemblance to
      the Zoroastrian description. We read in Genesis,
      "In the beginning God created heaven and earth... Let light come to
      be... and God began calling the light Day but the darkness he called
      Night" (verse 1.3-5). This is followed by creation account of the other
      elements culminating in (verse 1.26-28) the creation of humans. The
      stark similarity of the above account to that of Zoroastrianism could be
      expected. The reason being, that by this time, knowledge of
      Zoroastrianism had become known to clergy and theologians of other
      faiths in that part of the world.
      The influence of Zoroastrianism on the eschatological aspect of Judaism
      is also noticeable in the post-exilic scriptures. In the early Hebrew
      writing joy in the hereafter was at best vaguely expressed. For the
      first time in IInd Isaiah one sees expressions as follows:
      "Your dead ones will live.. they will rise up. Awake and cry out
      joyfully....The earth will bring those long dead to birth again" (verse
      26.19).
      These expressions are clear overtones of the Zoroastrian revelations in
      this area. As concluded by Prof. Boyce, ".. it is difficult not to
      concede to Zoroastrianism both priority and influence; the more
      especially since elements cf Zoroaster's teaching can be traced far back
      in the ancient Indo-Iranian religious traditions, whereas those of
      Jewish apocalyptic first appear after the time of contact with the
      Persian faith".
      Finally, the concept of Zoroaster, of the 'Limited Time'; at the end of
      which 'evil' will be totally eradicated and the true kingdom of Ahura
      Mazda will prevail on this earth, is wholly unique to his faith. Even
      this concept appears to have permeated in the writings of IInd Isaiah
      where we read,
      "He will actually swallow up death forever and the Lord Jehovah will
      certainly wipe the tears from all faces" Verse 25.8
      It is indeed interesting to note that in the above passage the Lord
      Jehovah takes the supreme responsibility of wiping out the evil. He is
      thus held accepted as Omnipotent. This aspect of Judaism is, according
      to some scholars, at variance with Zoroastrianism, where they claim the
      Omnipotence of Ahura Mazda only at the time of FRASHO KERETI (period of
      eternal bliss).
      From the above it clearly appears that IInd Isaiah was.the first Jew who
      had heard of Zoroaster's teachings. The influence of Zoroastrianism thus
      spread over the people who were ruled by Zoroastrian Monarchs.. These
      emperors were not only dedicated believers in the teachings of
      Zarathosht but also were committed to spread those teachings across
      their vast Empire.
      Ervad Dr. Jehan Bagli obtained a Doctorate in Medicinal Chemistry from
      the University of London, and was the director of research at the
      Wyeth-Ayerst Reseach Laboratories in Princeton, NJ until his retirement.
      He became an ordained Zoroastrian priest at age 14, and established the
      first Zoroastrian publication in North America "Gavashni" in 1974. This
      publication has since become the FEZANA journal. Dr. Bagli is an
      accomplished Zoroastrian scholar and researcher.
       
       
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