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University of Toronto Mississauga

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE EXAM: On the final exam The exam will last three hours. It will include: A) Three questions to answer in essay form, for 65 marks. B) Five terms or concepts to define, for 35 marks. To get a good mark you must study: 1 1) All the class notes (which are found on the Portal under “Course materials”) 2) In M. Boyce Zoroastrians. Their religious beliefs and practices a) Chapter 2 (“Zoroaster and His Teachings”, pp. 17–29). b) Chapter 5 (“Under the Achaemenians”, pp. 48–77). c) The parts of the book dealing with the topics, the terms and the concepts listed below (in order to find these parts, use the “Index” of the book, found on pp. 237– 252). 3) The Encyclopaedia Iranica articles indicated below. O N THE FIRST THREE QUESTIONS : questions 1 and 2 are worth 20 marks, question 3 is worth 25 marks. You will have to reply to these questions in an expanded form, writing as much as you know about the topics, and trying to structure the answers clearly and in an organized way. One of the questions will include a brief portion of one of the following passages that we have read in class: a) The passage from the Avestan text Hadōxt Nask regarding the individual eschatology: see “Lesson 8b” (in the class notes) 1 Please note: whenever some information included in the class notes contradicts the information you find in the other sources (especially regarding Zoroaster’s message), I strongly encourage you to base your answers on the class notes, rather than on the other sources. In fact, only the class notes express a consistent view on the history of the Zoroastrian religion and of its doctrines. Of course, if you want you may say, for example “Mary Boyce has expressed a different interpretation of this doctrine, that is…” But you do not need to: it might take too much of your time and of your energies! b) The passages from the Pahlavi text Bundahišn regarding the cosmic history: see “Lesson 9b” and “Lesson 10b” (in the class notes) For question 3 you will have a choice between two topics. The topics to deal with for questions 1, 2 and 3 will be three of the following ones: 1- Zoroaster: his life, his message, and his legendary biography. Note: you may also read the comic book “Zarathushtra”, that I showed during the fourth lesson: it is not a scholarly source, but it may help you “visualize” the key points of Zoroaster’s legendary biography; you can find it at the library in the course reserves. - Zoroaster lived 3000 years ago, somewhere that is now known as Afghanistan - His disciples delivered his message and this message became the core or a religion -> followers of this religion are called Zoroastrians - Zoroaster was born in the Eastern part of the Iranian world - Scholars believe Zoroaster to either be a historical character or legendary - Lived in a semi-nomadic society o Society was ruled by warlike aristocracy that oppressed the poor - At some point he started to preach a new religious message o Faced hostility of traditional Iranian priests whose interests he damaged - Converted a king named Vishtaspa, who became his lifetime protector - In Zoroaster’s view the choice of two spirits is the model of the choice of humans and spiritual beings o All good things are brought forth by the spirits and humans choosing asha and evil things are brought forth by spirits and humans choosing drug o Zoroaster’s message is a dualistic monotheism: there is one god (Ahura Mazda) and there are two spirits, which are the original cause of all good and all evil in the world - Over centuries, Zoroastrians created a legendary biography of Zoroaster o These legends portray him s the paradigm of the partisan of Ahura Mazda and fighter against evil - Before Zoroaster was conceived, Ahura Mazda decided to have him born in the world, from human parents and formed Zoroaster through the combo of 3 elements: glory, spririt and body substance o Ahura Mazda created Zoroaster’s Glory (Glory is in heaven and gradually reaches earth) when he created Spiritual world o Created Zoroaster’s spirit when created the material world o Created Zoroaster’s body substance shortly after his birth - Zoroaster’s Glory was transmitted from the heavens to his grandparents’ house o Is transmitted to Zoroaster’s mother at the moment of her birth, which makes her extraordinarily luminous - When Doughdova (Zoroaster’s mom) is a young girl, demons and evil priests try to hae her killed and try to convince people that she’s a sorceress o To save her, her father sends her to the village of Spitama clan o In this village, she’s brought up in the house of Pourushaspa (future hubby) - By getting married to Doughdova, Pourshaspa receives Zoroaster’s Glory as well - Before Zoroaster’s conception, deities insert his spirit in a stalk of haoma that they transport to the earth o Spirits protect and keep animals away from the plant o Pourushaspa finds it and brings it home - Zoroaster’s body substance is made to rain on earth o 2 heifers led by Pourushaspa eat the plants grown from this rain and Doughdova milks these heifers - Before conceiving Zoroaster, Pourushaspa and Doughdova mix and ritually consume the milk and the haoma: now have all 3 components of Zoroaster - Demons unsuccessfully try to prevent Zoroaster’s parents from conceiving him o After 3 failed attempts, Zoroaster is conceived - In the womb, Zoroaster gets his 3 components - Demons make Doughdova sick but a divine voice tells her how to get better - From 3 days before birth of Zoroaster, his whole village is alight - Unlike all newborns, Zoroaster laughs at birth - A sorcerer convinces Pourushaspa that the prodigies accompanying Zoroaster’s birth mean that he’s evil and convinces him to kill him o Pourushaspa tries 4 times to kill him - When Zoroaster is 7, Durasraw (demon) and another evil priest go to where Zoroaster is playing with other children: all of the kids get scared except Zoroaster o They later go to Zoroaster’s house and when Pourushaspa asks Durasraw to consecrate the food, Zoroaster disputes with his dad 3 times to let him consecrate the food instead of Durasraw  Durasraw and Zoroater both curse each other and eventually Zoroaster defeats Durasraw - When Zoroaster is 30, he meets Ahura Mazda, from whom he receives the religious revelation - Over the course of 10 years, Zoroaster has 6 more encounters with Ahura Mazda o After the first one, Zoroaster begins to preach - To prevent Zoroaster from preaching, Angra mainyu sends demons to stop him but Zoroaster is able to defeat them through prayers o There’s also a time where a she-demon tries to seduce Zoroaster but Zoroaster realizes that she’s a demon and defeats her - For 2- The culture and religion of the Achaemenid empire. On this topic see also the article by M. Boyce "Achaemenid Religion." In Encyclopaedia Iranica, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org - Documents on the culture and religion of the Iranians in the Achaemenid period include o 1) royal inscriptions of the Achaemenid emperors  These inscriptions were written to celebrate the emperor’s deeds, but also have some religious content  They’re written in Old Persian, the language of Persia  Note: Old Persian wasn’t the official language of the Achaemenid empire: official language was Aramaic  Longest old Persion inscription: inscription by Darius I at Bistutun (dating from 520-518 BCE) o 2) foreign sources (principally Greek texts) dealing with the Achaemenid empire  Most important source: histories of the Greek historian Herodotus (5 th century BCE)  Note: the foreign sources give some information on the religion of the Iranians under the Achaemenids, but they aren’t always trustworthy, and are often hard to interpret  Greek authors were sometimes not well informed and/or wanted to ridicule the beliefs of the Iranians o 3) Archeological remains  They are a source of information of various types:  They represent religious symbols, give info on funerary practices etc. Zoroastrianism under the Achaemenids: - Analysis of the sources reveal that by the time of the foundation of the Achaemenid empire, Zoroastrianism had reached Persia and the rest of the western Iran - Zoroastrianism was the religion of Persian and of most Iranian subjects of the empire - Zoroastrianism was influenced by and influenced other religions o Some influence came for example from the Mesopotamian and the Egyption religion o This was a consequence of the material and cultural exchanges b/w Iran and other areas of the empire - Zoroastrianism though, was not the “official religion” of the empire: the Achaemenid empire had no official religion o Natural consequence policy of the Achaemenids - Achaemenid emperors didn’t impose their culture over their subjects -> where the first emperors to pursue this kind of policy o Was one of the reasons of their success in governing a huge territory o According to some modern interpreters: this policy was inspired by the Zoroastrian ethical code (good thoughts/words/deeds) o This interpretation is forceful: this policy was rather dedicated by the practical purpose of ruling over many different people o More importantly, the Achaemenids pursued this policy on the condition that the subject accepted their rule Religious contents of the Achaemenid Inscriptions - The Old Persian inscriptions include some name having a religious meaning: o 1) Ahuramazda  He is mentioned in numerous inscriptions  No other deities are mentioned in the inscriptions of the emperors before Artaxerxes II  Inscriptions call him the greatest god and the creator of the world o 2) Arta (Av. Asha/Order) and drauga (AV druj/Disoder)  These names recur in some inscriptions by Darius I and in one by Xerxes I th th (6 -5 century BCE) o 3) Artavan (Av. Ashavan lit. “possessing arta/asha” -> “righteous”)  This word is found in one inscription by Darius I  These inscriptions mention an afterlife reward for the artavan o 4) Daiva (Av daeva/demon)  The term is found in an inscription by Xerxes I  This inscription says that he has destroyed a temple of the daivas worshipped by a population  Has destroyed a sanctuary of the daiva, made a proclaim forbidding their worship and has established there the worship of Ahuramazda Avestan Themes in Achaemenid Inscription - Similarities b/w these inscriptions and the Avesta: o 1) the description of Ahura Mazda as the supreme god, creator of the world  Worship of Ahura Mazda is the core of the Zoroastrian religion from the origins to our days o 2) the call to acting in accordance with Order and being an enemy of Disorder  This is a key point of Zoroastrian ethics o 3) the refusal of the demons  Xerxes’ reference to his banishing the cult of the demons and his reinstatement of that Ahuramazda, can be seen as a reflex of Zoroastrian reform  Demon and their worshippers are the causes of Disorder, that Zoroastrians are called to fight o 4) the notion that the righteous person is rewarded after death  The righteous person acts in conformity with Order during life  As a result, he/she reaches the heavenly world afterlife  In heaven, everything is in conformity with Order and is not disturbed by the presence of evil Other religious themes in the Achaemenid Inscriptions: - 1) see the following expressions found in Achaemenid inscriptions: o “Ahura Mazda, the greatest god” o “Ahura Mazda and the other gods/and all the gods” - The emperors, then, admitted that “other gods” existed: who are these gods? o They’ve been identified at:  The other gods of non-Iranian populations and/or  Other deities worshipped by the Iranisns • Note: 2 inscriptions by Artaxerxes II mention, together with Ahura Mazda, 2 deities known from the Avesta: • Anahita and Mica (Avestan Mithra) - Does this mean the Achaemenids were polytheistic? Not necessarily o First of all: Ahura Mazda is called in the inscriptions the greatest of all “gods” o We may recognize in the Achaemenid inscriptions the theological perspective that is also proper to the Avesta  The Avesta mentions many diving entities in addition to Ahura Mazda (Amesha spentas and others) but  Ahura Mazda is The One God: • The other divine entities have no autonomous power: they are subordinated to Ahura Mazda - 2) some inscriptions highlight the relationship b/w the emperor and divine beings o For example some inscriptions say that the emperor rules by Ahuramazda’s will or that Ahuramazda and other “gods” help him perform his exploits o The idea underlying these expressions is that of a special relationship b/w emperor and divinity o This idea originates from Mesopotamia nd - The Achaemenid emperor Artaxerxes the 2 promoted the worship of the goddess Anahita o This goddess is not mention in the Old Avestan texts, but is prominent in the Young Avestan texts o She was considered to distribute gifts f different kinds, like:  Material wealth and fertility (to humans and land)  Strength to warriors  Wisdom 3- Zoroastrian cosmic history. On this topic see also the article by P. Kreyenbroek “Cosmogony and cosmology. i. In Zoroastrianism / Mazdaism.” In Encyclopaedia Iranica, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org, & the file “Chronology of the Zoroastrian Cosmic History”, available on the Blackboard, in the folder “Final exam”. - Version of cosmic history which was popular in the Sassanian period is described in the Pahlavi text Bundahishn - This history described in the Bundahishn is consistent with the Avestan view on cosmic history - In Gathas and in later parts of the Avesta, 3 historical phases are implied o 1) a beginning phase, when Ahura Mazda creates the universe, and the material world is free from evil o 2) an intermediate phase, when evil forces being evil into the material world o 3) a final phase, when evil spirits are defeated and evil is eliminated from the world - According to the Bundahishn: o Two spiritual beings, Ohrmazd (Ahura Mazda, the good one) and Ahriman (Angra mainyu, the bad one) exist from eternity  Ohrmazd is aware of Ahriman’s existence whereas Ahriman is for a long time not aware of Ohrmazd’s existence o The world history lasts 12000 years: o A) first 6000 years = Creation period: divided into two parts o 1) first 3000 (creation in the spiritual state – Pahlavi menog)  During this period, Ohrmazd shapes his creation in a spiritual state  This creation will be his instrument to defeat Ahriman  Meanwhile, Ahriman, who becomes aware of Ohrmazd’s existence, creates some other evil, demonis spirits (daeva)  At the end of this period, Ahriman and the daevas move to attack Ohrmazd’s creations  Before the fight starts, Ohrmazd and Ahriman make a treaty: they will wage war for 9000 in the world o 2) second 3000 years (creation in the material state – Pahlavi getig)  Right after the treaty Ohrmazd says the prayer Ahunwar, revealing to Ahriman his final defeat  Ahriman falls in a state of stupor, which he remains for all these 3000 years  During this period, Ohrmazd gives the spiritual creation a material form (getig) - Among the creations made by Ohrmazd during the second 3000 years of history the first 7 are the most important - Each of them is protected by an Amesha spenta o 1) sky  It is an egg, containing all other material creations and is made in metal  Is protected by Shahrewar (Khshatra Vairya) o 2) water  Fills the lower half of the egg  Protected by Hordad (Haurvatat) o 3) Earth  Is a disk, floating over water  Next 3 creations stand over it  Is protected by Spendarmad (Spenta Armati) o 4) plant  Has potential to procreate other plant species  Is protected by Amurdad (Aeretat) o 5) Bovine  Has both male and female attributes (produces both semen and milk)  Is protected by wahman (Vohu mnah) o 6) Man (named Gayomard)  He has spherical form  Is protected by Ohrmazd o 7) fire  This last creation permeates all others  Is protected by Ardwahisht (Asha vahishta) Mixture Phase: the Attack - The second 6000 of cosmic history are the mixture phase - In the year 6000 Ahriman attacks - The she-demon, Jeh, succeeds in waking him up from stupor - Together with the demons, Ahriman enters the sky and pollutes each other seven creations o Light in the sky goes dark, waters changes taste, earth shakes and gets filled with noxious creatures (snakes, scorpions etc.), plants withered, Bovine is killed, smoke is added to fire - The deities immediately respond to the attack: o Sky is made into a fortress – Ahriman and the demons are trapped inside it which will permit to destroy evil at the end of history o Water is purified o Mountains rise from the earth and make it firm (earth was previously flat)  Many noxious creatures are killed o The plant is pounded and mixed with water: vegetable specie are born from it o From the seed of the Bovine, animal species are born o When Gayamard dies, from his seed the first human couple is born and all humanity originates from them  Humans have a central role in limiting the power of evil forces during Mixture phase The World in the Mixture Phase - After Ahriman’s attack, the world is, unlike before, in movement and is populates with a variety of living forms - The counter attack of the divine beings has purified the world but only in part: o The world is in a state of mixture between good and evil and will remain in the state nd for the whole 2 half of the cosmic history Towards the End of Cosmic History - some of the main events that take place during mixture period are : o year 8970: Zoroaster is born o year 9000: Zoroaster receives the revelation from Ohrmazd that he will spread in the world  Zoroaster’s preaching is the first step towards the world’s salvation o Shortly before years 10,000, 11000 and 12000:  3 world saviors are born from virgin, who become with child from Zoroaster’s semen  Zoroaster’s semen is conserved on the bottom of a lake  The first two world saviors bring peace to the world for 3 years and 6 years respectively End of Cosmic History: Universal Eschatology - Last savior, Soshans, brings the final salvation to the world - Soshans performs the resurrection of the dead bodies which are reunited with their souls o Resurrection is followed by a universal judgment - A river of fire purifies humans from evil - All humans then drink a beverage which makes them immortal - Ohrmazd and his divine allies destroy the demons – Ahriman abandons the world, defeated - River of fire destroys hell - The mountains disappear - After these events, the 12000 years of the world history are over o The 3 and final stage of cosmic history, Separation, starts - The universe will live forever in purity and in spiritual and material bliss o People will enjoy spiritual and physical pleasures o One of these is sexual please o People will be able to copulate without having children 4- Zoroastrian individual and universal eschatology. On this topic see also the article by S. Shaked “Eschatology. i. In Zoroastrianism and Zoroastrian influence.” In Encyclopaedia Iranica, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org - Eschatology = set of doctrines regarding last events - Individual eschatology = doctrines on the fate of the soul after death - Collective eschatology = doctrines on the fate of the world and of humanity at the end - Individual eschatology according to Zoroaster o Zoroaster conserved the traditional notion that the soul is immortal o He introduced a new idea that the afterlife is retribution for the earthly behavior o The soul goes to: 1) Paradise: if the person has been a partisan of Asha (ashavan “righteous”) 2) Hell: if the person has been a partisan of Drug (drugvant “unrighteous”) o The good person, who is faithful to Ahura Mazda, will be rewarded after death o The deana will lead the evil person to Hell  Note: the daena is the personification of individual’s religious conscious (if person good, deana will be a beautiful girl and if bad, deana will be ugly woman) o Have to cross Account-Keeper’s bridge, which is the bridge souls cross after death to go to Paradise – Zoroaster will accompany them - Collective Eschatology o Zoroaster introduced new vision of history – history will end  Evil will be destroyed by fire  All humans will enjoy eternal bodily happiness  Liberation from evil will be facilitated by action of some world saviours o The notion of a final destruction of evil through fire and the figures of the world saviors are described in many Zoroastrian sources later than the gathas - Zoroaster’s Gathas are the first human documents describing eschatological doctrines - So..is Zoroastrianism the sources of the eschatological doctrines in all religions? - No necessarily o Expectation of afterlife punishment/reward and of a final liberation for evil can emerge as a response to experience of pain and injustice - Individuals belonging to different religions may have experiences such expectations without being influenced by other religions Article: - Zoroastrian eschatology is the necessary and consistent conclusion to the story of creation - World’s existence serves as a device for the battle between Ahura Mazda and Anga mainyu - Eschatological period marks the resolution of the cosmic struggle and brings to completion the effort of Ahura Mazda to being about the victory of the powers of good - Most prominent aspect of the eschatological descriptions is the allotting of reward or punishment in two ways, through a verdict reached by divine judges and though automatic determination of a person’s merit by an ordeal type of judgment - Two different positions coexist in Zoroastrian eschatological conceptions: o 1) absolute justice given to individual according to person’s merit o 2) posthumous fate of the person being determined as the outcome of a final struggle between the spirits of good and evil  Allows for an appeal by family and friends of the deceased to the deities to intercede on his behalf - Eschatology can be distinguished as o Between the fate of the individual soul after death and the fate of humanity as a whole after the end of the world o Between the various abodes to which the souls are allotted after death and the division of humanity after the final judgment o Between the events leading to the final dissolution of the world, which are expressed in prophecies regarding the end of time, and the ultimate fate of the world after it is reconstituted - Eschatology in the Gathas: individual is responsible eschatologically for his actions - Eschatology in the Younger Avesta: main elements are appearance of the savior, resurrection of the dead, victory over evil 5- The figure of Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism On this topic see also the article by M. Boyce “Ahura Mazda.” In Encyclopaedia Iranica, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org - Zoroaster’s message is focused on Ahura Mazda (“Wise Lord”) o He has all the characteristics of a monotheistic religion… - Ahura Mazda is the father of two twin spirits: Spenta mainyu (bounteous spirit) and Angra mainyu (evil spirit) o They’ve made opposite choices in their life **see notes on these two** o Further info found above + below 6- The Amesha spentas On this topic see also the article by M. Boyce “Amǝša spǝnta.” In Encyclopaedia Iranica, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org - Amesha spentas are a group of 6 divine beings o Meaning of amesha-spenta: “bounteous immortal” o Spenta is a characteristic word of his revelation, meaning “furthering, strengthening, bounteous, holy” - Indo-Iranians worshipped all Immortals, called daevas, but Zoroaster rejected them as being evil and instructed his followers to venerate only those he held to be a spenta (those who exert their power for good) - They are the most powerful divine beings after Ahura Mazda and Spenta mainyu - They were created before the material world was created o Have human forms - They are linked to 6 of the basic components that form the world: o Cattle o Fire o Metal o Earth o Plants o Water The Amesha spenta are: - Vohu manah (Good Purpose) o Embodies good purpose, i.e. the good moral condition of a person’s mind that permits to him/her to perform his duties o He is linked to cattle o Cattle is the good animal creation on which human life depends o It represents the symbol of goodness suffering in the world, and the motion towards goodness o The herd of cattle is a metaphor of the community of the righteous - Asha vahishta (Best Order) o Embodies the principle asha, which is present in the whole universe and regulates life o He is linked to fire o Like the principle asha, this element (fire) pervades all creation o Like the sun, a fiery celestial body, regulates the seasons and the alternation of day and night - Khshatrhra vairya (Desirable Dominion) o Embodies power o He’s linked to metal  In the form of weapons, metal is an instrument to exert power o Can also be associated with the sky: Avestan and Pahlavi texts which refer to the sky being of metal
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