Zoroastrianism

The study of religious or heroic legends and tales. One constant rule of mythology is that whatever happens amongst the gods or other mythical beings was in one sense or another a reflection of events on earth. Recorded myths and legends, perhaps preserved in literature or folklore, have an immediate interest to archaeology in trying to unravel the nature and meaning of ancient events and traditions.

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Postby Digit » Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:45 am

He times his prayers for the start of the rainy season.


Stone Age Boats


"THERE AIN'T NO SUCH THING."


You rotten cynics you lot! :lol:
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:06 am

Speak for yourself! :lol:

But it's occurred to me that the old saying 'he who controls the information, controls the power" is no longer true, now that we have the internet. So our Glossary could challenge the Club's hold on what is allowed to be true. And as long as we made sure that its content was presented in a scholarly way, and are rigorous on what we will or won't accept, applying fair criteria throughout, it would be respected in its right - rather like Wikipedia.

When Wiki first came out, most serious discussion boards like this one wouldn't accept it as authorative means of reference, preferring only established encyclopedias. But now, Wiki has really come into its own. We prefer it because we know its information is up to date (unlike with more established encyclopedias), and they also do have a rigorous criteria for what they will accept, and where anything falls below that criteria, it is signposted in no uncertain terms.

For instance, yesterday I went on to the Aryan Invasion Theory page for the first time in a year, and it had changed out of all recognition. For one thing, now if you type in Aryan Invasion Theory, you are quickly made to realise that you need to go Indo-Aryan Migrations, where the whole debate is laid out fairly and correctly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Aryan_migration. I still think they need to rethink, now, how they introduce it, how they frame it ... but after that, any serious scholar who can be bothered to read through it can easily find the latest thinking on it from not just Witzel's linguists (as it was before) but also archaeologists and geneticists.
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:55 am

john wrote:
Ishtar,

The Shamanic worldview takes time, space, matter and awareness as simultaneous, heterogenous, and manipulable. Therefore, we are each and all of us are ultimate beings (this includes all forms of life, including planets, galaxies, rocks, oceans, etc.) who happen to share the responsibility for keeping this simultaneous and heterogenous
order in harmony.


Yes! 8)
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Postby Minimalist » Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:59 am

Back on topic, Ish. Boyce notes that the proto-Indo-Iranians maintained a common culture from the 4th to the 3d millenium and then:

eventually -- it is thought early in the thrid millenium - the proto-Indo-Iranians drifted apart, to become identifiable by speech as two distinct peoples, the Indians and Iranians. They were still pastoralists; and they had contact, presumably through trade, with the settled peoples to the south of them.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:25 am

Good. In that case, she and I would have a lot to say to one another.

I love it how the world view is changing! When I first started saying on archaeology discussion boards that the AIT was wrong, I'd get stuff thrown at me! :lol:
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Postby Minimalist » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:16 am

Which does bring up the question of who were those "settled people" to the south? What is south of the Russian steppes? Afghanistan?
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:53 am

Minimalist wrote:Which does bring up the question of who were those "settled people" to the south? What is south of the Russian steppes? Afghanistan?


We need to look at this map again:

Image

You see that great swathe across southern Russia. That's Siberia, and they are IE speakers, or were until the Moslems starting coming in.

So that's the seed bed for the IE language.

The Russian Steppes are to the southwest of Siberia:


The world's largest zone of all steppes, often referred to as "the Great Steppe", is found in southwest Russia and neighbouring countries in Central Asia, stretching from Ukraine in the west to the Ural Mountains and the Caspian Sea. To the east of the Caspian Sea, the steppes extend through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to the Altai, Koppet Dag and Tian Shan ranges. The vast Eurasian Steppe, as it is called, incorporates all of these steppes. The area is bordered in the north, on the eastern side of the Urals, by the forested West Siberian Plain taiga, extending nearly as far as the Arctic Ocean.


They have found a lot of archaeological remains in this area, but none - and I repeat none - leading into India. Which is why most archaeos say:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Aryan_migration

Jim Shaffer wrote, "Current archaeological data do not support the existence of an Indo-Aryan or European invasion into South Asia any time in the pre- or protohistoric periods. Instead, it is possible to document archaeologically a series of cultural changes reflecting indigenous cultural developments from prehistoric to historic periods"[12] The vast majority of the professional archaeologists Bryant (2001) interviewed in India insisted that there was no convincing archaeological evidence whatsoever to support any claims of external Indo-Aryan origins.[13] Kenoyer (as cited in Bryant 2001:231) and Shaffer (as cited in Bryant 2001:232) argue that current evidence does not support an invasion of South Asia in the pre- or proto-historic periods.


And the geneticists do not support any migration, AT ANY TIME, through the northwest passage:

Kenneth A.R. Kennedy, a U.S. expert who has extensively studied such skeletal remains, observes, "Biological anthropologists remain unable to lend support to any of the theories concerning an Aryan biological or demographic entity."[23] Chaubey et al. (2007) find that most of the India-specific mtDNA haplogroups show coalescent times of 40 to 60 millennia ago. Sahoo et al. (2006) states that "there is general agreement that Indian caste and tribal populations share a common late Pleistocene maternal ancestry in India" and that it is not necessary, based on the current evidence, to look beyond South Asia for the origins of the paternal heritage of the majority of Indians at the time of the onset of settled agriculture. The perennial concept of people, language, and agriculture arriving to India together through the northwest corridor does not hold up to close scrutiny. Recent claims for a linkage of haplogroups J2, L, R1a, and R2 with a contemporaneous origin for the majority of the Indian castes' paternal lineages from outside the subcontinent are rejected, although our findings do support a local origin of haplogroups F* and H. Of the others, only J2 indicates an unambiguous recent external contribution, from West Asia rather than Central Asia.


The last sentence refers to the Parsees who migrated into India to escape the Moslem invasion of Persia around 1000 years ago.

So if the Iranians did not break away from the Indians on their way going south from the Russian Steppe (as we know the Indians didn't go that way), then when did they?

Indian historians say that they are mainly the Anu tribe who migrated north-west out of India when they were pushed out by the Puru tribe.
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Postby Ishtar » Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:09 am

Another way of looking at this problem is by looking at and tracing the names of the good guys and the bad guys in the literature.

S turns into H as it travels westward (for instance, the Vedic homa is the Indian soma). So the good, over-riding godhead Ahura Mazda is a Vedic asura, or good spirit. However, in Vedic literature, the asura is only revered as a good divinity in the Rig-veda. Later on, in the Vedic Puranas, the asuras become the bad guys to the deva good guys.

So my view on this is that the Iranians must have split away from the Vedics when the asuras were still regarded as good. Thus, it must have been during Rig-vedic times.

The Rig-vedic story of Sudas and the Ten Kings recounts a battle where Sudas (a Puru) defeats ten tribes who all have Persian/Iranian sounding names.

Another bad guy in the Avesta has the name ‘angra’ – Angra Mainyu. The Angirasa rishis were the shamans of the Purus, the same Purus who defeated these ten tribes.

Wiki quote:

Avestan 'angra mainyu' "seems to have been an original conception of Zoroaster's."[1] In the Gathas, which are the oldest texts of Zoroastrianism and are attributed to the prophet himself, 'angra mainyu' is not yet a proper name.[a] In the one instance in these hymns where the two words appear together, the concept spoken of is that of a mainyu ("mind", "mentality", "spirit" etc) that is angra ("destructive", "inhibitive", "malign" etc). In this single instance - in Yasna 45.2 - the "more bounteous of the spirits twain" declares 'angra mainyu' to be its "absolute antithesis."[1]
Last edited by Ishtar on Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Minimalist » Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:42 am

Yeah....I just got into that part last night. Boyce places Zoroaster himself between 1700 - 1500 BC and cites his "revelation" of the good god (Ahura Mazda) and the evil god (George Bush...or something) thus to sometime in the Middle Bronze Age which was exceedingly early. My initial impression was one of henotheism ( Ah-Maz) as some sort of king of the gods rather than true momotheism but I was getting tired when I finished that part last night so I'll have to go back and re-read.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Postby Minimalist » Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:14 pm

Anyway, even henotheism seems pretty advanced for a pastoralist economic system in 1500 BC. Akenaten's short-lived experiment was still 50 or so years off in Egypt and how long did it take the Babylonians to make Marduk "king of the gods?" 8th century BC?
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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Postby Ishtar » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:59 pm

Min, I don't understand why scholars tihnk henotheism or monotheism began with Zoroaster. An was the king of the Sumerian gods in 3,000 BC.
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Postby Minimalist » Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:28 pm

I probably didn't say that right, Ish. The Sumerians were an advanced agricultural society. We've kicked around the reasons for their decline c 2000 BC finally settling on drought as I recall. But the Proto Indo-Iranians were pastoralists and it just seems odd that they should be so advanced.

Maybe Zoroaster really did have a "revelation?"




Naaaahhhh!
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Postby Ishtar » Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:43 pm

Well, if it's true (which I believe it is) that he came from a long line of Bhrigus, who were the fire priests to the Vedic Anu tribe, then all he did was his own version of the Vedas, with a few extra stories and characters flung in.

I think what he did do, that was different to the Rig-veda, was to get into this whole good and evil thing, with good and bad spirits. There were no bad spirits in Rig-vedic times and no 'karma' (i.e. sin). In India, this way of thinking doesn't appear until the later (c. 1,000 BC) Puranas.

But changes in religious thinking tend to happen at the same time across whole areas of a part of the world, rather than just country by country. So working on that criteria, I would suggest that Zoroaster is a descendant of the Bhrigus who followed the Anu out of India when the Rig-vedic thinking was still in vogue, which is why he has the asura/ahura as good. But he wasn't born until the thinking changed a couple of thousand years later, to enable him to introduce 'bad spirits'.

PS I still don't follow why you think people cannot be advanced in their philosophical thinking while being HGs or pastoralists? The existence of belief in gods/spirits was not created by religion, but by shamanism. Religion just hijacked and corrupted it.
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Postby Minimalist » Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:30 am

PS I still don't follow why you think people cannot be advanced in their philosophical thinking while being HGs or pastoralists?



Because generally speaking they don't have time. Agriculture is what provides the food surpluses for a leisure/intellectual class to develop. HGs and pastoralists are always too busy surviving.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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Postby Ishtar » Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:55 am

Minimalist wrote:Agrculture is what provides the food surpluses for a leisure/intellectual class to develop.


How much surplus and intellect and leisure do you have? Masses. And how religious are you?

In fact, the more surplus we amass in the West, the less religious we are becoming.

I'm not saying that these two are linked... in the same way that I find your two circumstances not to be linked either.

HGs and pastoralists are always too busy surviving.


This is not in line with current thinking about the HG lifestyle - that we never had it so good and it was the 'original affluent society'.

http://foragers.wikidot.com/hunter-gatherers

As American anthropologist Marshal Sahlins pointed out, many hunter-gatherer societies represent the original affluent society because only a small proportion of their time was spent obtaining food and the basic needs of life.


The Vedics, who we know were semi-nomadic, had a very deep philosophic relationship with the cosmos, plus a pantheon of gods (as the Greeks would say) with a father of the gods called Dyaus Pitar.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyaus_Pita

In the Vedic religion, Dyaus Pitar is the Sky Father, husband of Prithvi and father of Agni and Indra (RV 4.17.4).

His origins can be traced to the Proto-Indo-European sky god *Dyeus, who appears in Greek as Zeus pater (accusative Día, genitive Diòs), in Latin as Jupiter (from archaic Latin Iovis pater, "Sky father"), in Slavic mythology as Div, and Germanic and Norse mythology as Tyr or Ziu.


... and in Judaeo Christianity as God the Father.

You really need to move a few boxes around! :lol:
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