Comparing Judaism and Christianity
Judaism and Christianity are both major monotheistic religions in today's world. Upon taking a closer look at these western religions one can't help but notice a common thread running through them. The concepts of "one omniscient God" (monotheism) and "final judgement" (resulting in spending an eternity in heaven or hell), are ever present. How do these largely practiced belief systems have so much in common? Who is responsible for creating the basic ideology of millions of believers today? The answer to these questions may lie with a man who lived, possibly, thirty-five hundred years ago.
Zoroastrians are the followers of the Achaemenian prophet or priest Zarathustra (or Zoroaster as the Greeks called him). (For clarification, I will use present day Iran in place of the Achaemenian Empire). Due to invasions of Iran and the destruction of their libraries, there are no sources to pinpoint the exact time frame of Zoroaster's life. According to documents that survived the eradication, Zoroaster flourished "…258 years before Alexander the Great..."(Frye 27). Alexander the Great sacked the Iranian capitol in 330 BC. Subtracting 258 years from that date would conclude the prophet was born circa 628 BC. Other scholars estimate his birth around 1400 BC.
Where Zoroaster was born and lived is almost as uncertain as when he lived. Arab scripts state that "...Zaratusht arose from Ragh..." which researchers have concluded as Rhages, or present day Tehran Iran. (Finegan 86) The area in which he lived had an economy based on animal husbandry. Nomads who frequently raided those people were viewed by Zoroaster as evil men, and called them "followers of the lie". So begins the basis of Z...
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...0,000 individuals. Most of the followers live in India, Iran and various parts of the western world. Though the numbers may be relatively small in comparison to today's population, the impact that Zoroaster has created on today's monotheistic religions is enormous.
Clark, Peter. Zoroastrianism: An Introduction to an Ancient Faith. Brighton, Portland: Sussex Academy Press, 1998.
Dawson, Miles. The Ethical Religion of Zoroaster. New York: Ams Press, 1969.
Finegan, Jack. The Archeology of World Religions. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1952.
Frye, Richard. The Heritage of Persia. Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1963.
Wadia, Ardaser. The Message of Zoroaster. London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., (copyright unknown).
Zaehner, R.C.. The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism. New York: G.P. Putman's Sons, 1961.