The Daēva Cult in the Gāthās: An Ideological Archaeology of Zoroastrianism (Iranian Studies)

The Daēva Cult in the Gāthās: An Ideological Archaeology of Zoroastrianism (Iranian Studies)

Language: English

Pages: 315


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Addressing the question of the origins of the Zoroastrian religion, this book argues that the intransigent opposition to the cult of the daēvas, the ancient Indo-Iranian gods, is the root of the development of the two central doctrines of Zoroastrianism: cosmic dualism and eschatology (fate of the soul after death and its passage to the other world).

The daēva cult as it appears in the Gāthās, the oldest part of the Zoroastrian sacred text, the Avesta, had eschatological pretentions. The poet of the Gāthās condemns these as deception. The book critically examines various theories put forward since the 19th century to account for the condemnation of the daēvas. It then turns to the relevant Gāthic passages and analyzes them in detail in order to give a picture of the cult and the reasons for its repudiation. Finally, it examines materials from other sources, especially the Greek accounts of Iranian ritual lore (mainly) in the context of the mystery cults. Classical Greek writers consistently associate the nocturnal ceremony of the magi with the mysteries as belonging to the same religious-cultural category. This shows that Iranian religious lore included a nocturnal rite that aimed at ensuring the soul’s journey to the beyond and a desirable afterlife.

Challenging the prevalent scholarship of the Greek interpretation of Iranian religious lore and proposing a new analysis of the formation of the Hellenistic concept of ‘magic,’ this book is an important resource for students and scholars of History, Religion and Iranian Studies.

















the phrase expresses a speculation about the ‘true’ origin of the worldly phenomenon in question (cf. Yt 13.87). Is the supposed idiomatic usage adopted from the Gāthic Y 32.3 or does it underlie the latter? Or, a third possibility, are the two independent from each other? If the second scenario is right, the idiom must have already developed into a fixed formula in the Gāthās, since it escapes the rule of the agreement of the subject and the attribute in case, number and gender. As far as I

use of ápi with the locative is rare in Vedic. 40 Kellens and Pirart (1990, p. 201) believe aipī is used in all three passages as a verbal prefix, i.e. aipī + √ah, requiring a complement in the locative. But it is not the verbal prefix alone that decides the case of the complement; one must also consider the actual semantics of the verb. 41 See Renou 1968, p. 290. 42 See De Vaan 2003, p. 396. 43 See Kellens and Pirart 1991, pp. 84–85. 44 Bailey seems to derive the sense of taking an oath

Aorist, Mouton & Co., ’s-Gravenhage. Gonda, J 1963, The Vision of the Vedic Poets, Mouton & Co., The Hague. Hintze, A 1994, Der Zamyād-Yašt. Edition, Übersetzung, Kommentar, Reichert Verlag, Wiesbaden. Hintze, A 2007a, A Zoroastrian Liturgy. The Worship in Seven Chapters (Yasna 35–41), Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden. Hintze, A 2007b, ‘Sims-Williams, Nicholas (ed.): Indo-Iranian Languages and Peoples’, Indo-Iranian Journal, vol. 50, pp. 173–83. Hintze, A 2013, ‘Perceptions of the Yasna

Widerspruch zu der von ihm selber gelehrten monotheistischen Weltanschauung mit dem einen guten Gott’ (Bartholomae 1924, p. 13). Bartholomae understands Zoroastrian dualism as a solution to the problem of evil posed by Zarathuštra’s monotheism, which is itself simply assumed or rather conjured up through the assimilation of the ‘Iranian prophet’ to the figure of Biblical prophet: Zoroastrianism is ‘entitled’ to the description ‘monotheism’ just as much as Semitic religions and in particular

pastoralist tribes in search of settlement’ – more or less the same values that Bartholomae (1924, pp. 16–17) saw reflected in the ‘third stage’ of the development of Zarathuštra’s doctrine – opposed by the ‘ruthless, predatory’ warriors ‘delighting in combat for its own sake and for the booty it could bring’.24 These warlike bands ‘would naturally have worshipped the unscrupulous Indra, warlike and bountiful, whereas settled peoples were much more likely to have offered their heartfelt prayers

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