Zoroastrianism's effect on other faiths


God is NOT about Fear
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Deepest Darkest, NZ
What effect has Zoroastrianism had on other religions?

Let me quote from a site:

. . . In 539 BC, Cyrus The Great, Emperor of Persia, conquered Babylon. The effect of this conquest on the Jewish captivity was to have monumental repercussions in world history. Cyrus was a practicing believer in the Zoroastrian religion. His exceedingly kind and farsighted rule has been attributed the result of his religious beliefs. For the Jews accustomed to harsher Babylonian rule, this leniency showed by Cyrus must have come as a surprise.

Cyrus was not content with being a benevolent ruler, driven perhaps by his religious beliefs, perhaps by an uncommon political wisdom, Cyrus set about righting the wrongs committed by the Babylonians upon their defeated victims. It was the Jews that were to make this policy of Cyrus famous. But listen to the Bible:

"And He (Yahweh) says of Cyrus; He is my shepherd, and he will accomplish everything that I want, he will say to Jerusalem You shall be built, and her ruins I shall rebuilt. So does Yahweh say to His anointed, to Cyrus, I have taken you by your right hand, that you might submit nations before you and undo the sustenance of kings; to have doors open in front of you, which doors shall not be closed. I will go before you, and I will straighten all the crooks on your paths; I will smash to pieces bronze doors (for you) and (for you) I shall shatter locks of iron. I shall give you the hidden treasures, and the most guarded secrets..."
Isaiah 44:28 - 45:3. (NRSV)

To understand, the import of the above passage we must understand its meaning in the Jewish context. For the Jews, the Gentiles were impure; they were not to associate with them outside business or casual contact. Now there is a prophet of God, extolling the virtues of a Gentile king, and conferring upon him, specific Jewish religious titles! When a prophet of Yahweh calls Cyrus His shepherd, the religious implications had to be mind-boggling. A shepherd in this context is a religious and political leader of Israel, a national hero like David. One that was appointed by Yahweh Himself!!

This amounts to installing Cyrus and through him all the following Persian emperors as super kings and priests over Israel.

There is no questioning Cyrus for he has "...been taken by his right hand..." by Yahweh Himself!! In addition Yahweh calls Cyrus "my anointed". This is a very specific and technical Jewish religious term. The 'anointed' in Jewish religion were the kings of Israel, their prophets and the high priests (Lev. 8:12, 1 Sam. 9:16, 10:1, 16:13, 2Chr 23:11, 1Kings 1:39 etc.); this verifies our interpretations of the term 'shepherd'. But this is not the only implication here, anointed in the Hebrew is Messiah. Messiah in turn is the Jewish word translated into Greek as Christos or in English Christ. Yahweh has anointed Cyrus as king, priest and savior over Israel; this gives Cyrus total authority over Israel in all matters, political as well as religious.

If we include the fact that Cyrus, according to Zarathushtrian theology would, as head of state, also be the protector of Mazdayasna, we can begin to appreciate Yahweh's statement. For with this statement Judaism comes under the authority (by God's stated will) of the Persian Empire and religion.

This is confirmed when Judaism goes on to adopt many doctrines of Zoroastrianism. The Devil, the after life, "good" people go to a "heaven" and "evil" doers go to a place of punishment. These are places which are identical to the "Best" and "Worst" Existences of Mazdayasna.

Doctrines belonging to Zarathushtra´s followers, such as resurrection of the dead, were accepted at this time, at least by the Persian faction, which came to be known as Pharisees (from Persians, Pharsees). More doctrines such as the coming savior became part of Judaism. All these doctrines were to pass from Judaism into Christianity and Islam.

It is interesting to point out that the Qumram sect, responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls, was a Zoroastrian heretic group, as can be seen by studying the sect's documents. Specifically their doctrines of the two spirits and the two ways. Other influences on Christianity and Islam include, but are not limited to, Islam's 5 prayer times, Muhammad's Night Journey to Jerusalem and Heaven and the Sarat Bridge. In Christianity we have among others the Lake of Fire and titles such as King of Kings. . . "


What do you think of the claims made? Just how much can one religion influence another? What does such influence mean for claims of inspiration? for claims of uniqueness?

Be interested to see what folk write.
the Qumram sect, responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls, was a Zoroastrian heretic group
Can you explain "Zoroastrian heretic group" are they refering to them as hereitics in the eyes of Jews or Heretics in the eyes of Zoroatrians?

As to what the Hebrew text refers to in relation to Cyrus...I await commentary from our Jewish friends...
Here is an interesting quote: "...according to Max Muller, had it not been for the Persian defeats at the decisive battles of Marathon and Salamis, if, in other words, the western march of the Persian Empire had not been stopped there, Zoroastrianism rather that Judeo-Christianity would undoubtedly have been the prevailing religion of Europe and the Americas."