Theology & Religion

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An Introduction to an Ancient Faith

In the series Religious Beliefs & Practices

Author Text to Follow

This introduction to Zoroastrianism assumes no prior knowledge of the faith. It is presented here as a living faith with a coherent theology and a persuasive ethic of good thoughts, good words and good deeds.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-898723-78-3
Paperback Price: £19.95 / $29.95
Release Date: September 1998
Page Extent / Format: 232 pp. / 216 x 138 mm
Illustrated: No


Foreword by W. J. Johnson

I An Ancient Faith: Zarathushtra – Prophet and Priest
1 The Gathas of the Prophet Zarathushtra
2 The Transmission of the Gathas
3 The Authorship and Integrity of the Gathas
4 Dating the Prophet – the Gathic Evidence (and other suggestions)
5 The Problem of the Prophet's Homeland
6 Zarathushtra’s Death

II Ahura Mazda, Spenta Mainyu and the Divine Heptad
1 Zarathushtra on Ahura Mazda and the “Divine Relationship”
2 Spenta Mainyu and the Individual Amesha Spentas: Their functions and liturgical representations
3 The Divine Heptad and the Individual Zoroastrian
4 Ahura Mazda and the Amesha Spentas in the Later Literature
5 Some Other Important Ahuric References

III Zoroastrian Eschatology
1 The Eschatology of the Gathas
2 The Eschatology of the Later Literature

IV The Two Existences and the Problem of Evil
1 Menog and Getig
2 The Problem of Evil Creatures in the Vendidad
3 Eschatological Considerations: The Stages of History and the Human Journey

V Zoroastrianism and Fire
1 Zoroastrianism in Exile
2 Sacred Fires, Holy Places

VI A Living Faith – Zoroastrian Worship, Rituals and Other Observances
1 The Yasna, an “Inner” Ceremony
2 The Afrinagan, an “Outer” Ceremony
3 Birth and Early Infancy
4 Initiation – the Navjote Ceremony
5 Initiation and Vocation – the Zoroastrian Priesthood
6 Marriage
7 Death and Funerary Rites
8 Purification: The Barashnum i-no shab
9 The Instrumental and Expressive Functions of Zoroastrian Ritual
10 Holy Days, Holy Months and a Disputed Calendar
11 A Worshipping Community and Three Zoroastrian Prayers

VII A Living Faith – Zoroastrian Ethics
1 Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds
2 The Five Faculties and Truth
3 Justice
4 The Unbreakable Nature of the Contract as an Ethical Paradigm
5 Putting it into Practice: Charity, Benevolence and the Parsi Zoroastrians

VIII Identity, Unity and Disparity: Zoroastrianism Today
1 Who is a Zoroastrian?
2 The Europeans and the Zoroastrians: Orthodoxy and Reform, Text and Praxis
3 The Status of Women in Contemporary Zoroastrianism
4 Other Issues in Contemporary Zoroastrianism and a Glance to the Future

Appendix 1: Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity
Appendix 2: The Roman Mithraic Mysteries

Chart 1: The historical relationship between Zoroastria and Judeo-Christian Religion
Chart 2: The possible thematic relationships between Vedic, Zoroastrian and Judeo-Christian Religion
Chart 3: Ahura Mazda, Spenta Mainyu and the Amesha Spentas 


Recommended for general readers, all academic levels, and professionals and practitioners.

The author brings new ideas and insight to issues which have long been the focus of academic debate.
The Expository Times

Everyone who needs to know about Zoroastrianism must read this well written book.
Dr Pallan R. Ichaporia, co-author/co-translator of the Gathas

Zoroastrianism addresses, in a unique and compelling way, ethical issues that are still alive in the modern world. Not only does it raise fundamental questions about what it is to be a human being, and the nature of good and evil, it also considers the relationship of humans to the natural world in a vibrantly positive light.
Dr W.J. Johnson, Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies, University of Wales, Cardiff

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