Comparing Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity Essay

Comparing Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity Essay

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Comparing Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity


Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity share so many features that it seems that there must be a connection between them. There is a great deal of Zoroastrian influence in both Judaism and Christianity.
In 586 BCE, the forces of the Babylonian Empire conquered the Jews, destroying their Temple and carrying off a proportion of the Jewish population into exile. It was during the end of the Exile, among the Jews now living in the Persian Empire, that the first
significant contact was made between the Jewish and Iranian cultures. And it is evident in the Bible that Jewish thinking changed after the Exile. During the Exile, Jews had to change not only how they worshipped, since they no longer had their temple or the animal sacrifices which had been at the center of their faith, but also how they thought about God. The Jewish concept of God as their tribal protector, who would save them from being conquered or exiled, had to undergo revision.
Both factors are present, inspiring the changes in post-exilic Judaism: not only the Jews thinking new thoughts about God and humanity, but also contact with the Zoroastrian religion of the Persian Empire. Most of Zoroastrianism, known and practiced among the people, existed in oral tradition: through word of mouth, not by the study of written scriptures. This oral tradition included stories about God, the Creation, the ethical and cosmic conflict of Good and Evil, the divine Judgment and the end of the world. The tradition would also include the well-known Zoroastrian symbolism of fire, light and darkness, as well as stories and prayers about the yazatas or intermediate spiritual beings and the Prophet Zarathushtra. These are all...


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...yptic, which comes from the Greek word apokalypsis which means "revelation". This is a form of religious storytelling, poetry, and preaching which uses a high level of mythological symbolism to describe not only a cosmic battle between the forces of Good and Evil, but also a schedule for the coming End of Time.
It is very evident to see that even though the original text of the Gathas was most probably inaccessible to the Jews, the teachings of Zarathushtra were part of the religious culture of the Persian people among whom many Jews lived. Zoroastrianism, from the beginning, has taught that time and God's creation has a beginning, a middle, and an end-time in which all souls will be judged. This is the basis of what the Christian belief is based upon and it is easy to draw the conclusion that Zoroastrianism had a great influence on Christianity and on the Bible.

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