Zarathustra in the Book of the Bee

Bruce Michael

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Hi All,
The Book of the Bee is a Nestorian Christian sacred history. According to Budge it was written ca. A.D. 1222 by a Syrian bishop named Solomon (Shelêmôn). There is very little about the work itself in the Preface to this edition, it being concerned primarily with the manuscript sources. In the Introduction to the Book of the Cave of Treasures, Budge says that Solomon's object in writing the Book of the Bee was to present "a full history of the Christian Dispensation according to the Nestorians."

The Book of the Bee has an interesting description of the Star of the Magi:
As touching the nature of that star, whether it was a star in its nature, or in appearance only, it is right to know that it was not of the other stars, but a secret power which appeared like a star; for all the other stars that are in the firmament, and the sun and moon, perform their course from east to west. This one, however, made its course from north to south, for Palestine lies thus, over against Persia. This star was not seen by them at night only, but also during the day, and at noon; and it was seen at the time when the sun is particularly strong, because it was not one of the stars.

Also THE COMING OF THE MAGI FROM PERSIA- though there are twelve of them:

WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah, and the star appeared to the Magi in the east, twelve Persian kings took offerings--gold and myrrh and frankincense--and came to worship Him. Their names are these: Zarwândâd the son of Artabân2, and Hôrmîzdâd the son of Sîtârûk (Santarôk), Gûshnâsâph (Gushnasp) the son of Gûndaphar, and Arshakh the son of Mîhârôk; these four brought gold. Zarwândâd the son of Warzwâd, Îryâhô the son of Kesrô (Khosrau), Artahshisht the son of Holîtî, Ashtôn`âbôdan the son of Shîshrôn; these four brought myrrh. Mêhârôk the son of Hûhâm, Ahshîresh the son of p. 85 Hasbân, Sardâlâh the son of Baladân, Merôdâch the son of Beldarân; these four brought frankincense. Some say that the offerings which the Magi brought and offered to our Lord had been laid in the Cave of Treasures by Adam1; and Adam commanded Seth to hand them down from one to another until our Lord rose, and they brought (them), and offered (them) to Him. But this is not received by the Church.

Before these items appear in the book there is an ancient prophecy connected with the destiny of Zarathustra (Zerdosht).

This prophecy was preserved from approximately the sixth century B.C.
Chapter XXXVII - The Prophecy of Zârâdôsht Concerning Our Lord

Here is the passage I talked of before, where Dr. Steiner explains the notion of redemption as taught by the followers of Zarathustra.

"Wherever we look there is a world that descended from divine-
spiritual heights but now has fallen very far from its earlier

"But man has the hope of being able to lead it upwards again."

"We will now further translate into words of our language what an
Iranian felt, and try to convey how a teacher would have spoken to
his pupils. He might have said: Think of the wolf. The animal living
as the physical wolf you now see has fallen from its former estate,
has become decadent. Formerly it did not manifest its bad qualities.
But if good qualities germinate in you and you combine them with your
spiritual powers, you can tame this animal; you can instil into it
your own good qualities, makling the wolf into a docile dog who
serves you! ...."
"If I leave Nature as she is, she sinks lower and lower; everything
becomes wild. But I can direct my eyes of spirit to a good Power in
whom I trust; then that Power will help me and I shall be able to
lead upwards again what is in danger of sinking. This Power gives me
hope that further development in possible."

-Lecture one, St. Matthew's Gospel

To these strongly Manichean thoughts you can add Dr. Steiner's oft quoted Persian story of the dead dog's teeth.

In the above lecture series you can read about Zarathustra's incarnation as Zarathas or Nazarathos, in Chaldea and his teaching of the Hebrew initiates during the Captivity.

The practices of the Nazarites were carried out in stricter form by the Essenes. The Essenes were under the influence of the Maitreya Bodhisattva who worked through Jeshu Ben Pandira (the Teacher of Righteousness).

I wonder if the Buddhist influence we find later in Manicheanism, is also one from the Maitreya Bodhisattva. It seems that way to me. We also find the Nazarite and Essene practices of abstinence of meat eating and alcohol in the Manichean communties- as I mentioned, Clement says that Matthew was a vegetarian.