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Zoroaster should be an old testament prophet and is part of

Postby Timber » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:52 am

Zoroaster should be an old testament prophet and is part of Christianity.

So traditionally, the Jewish Cannon more or less has served as the old testament for Christianity.

Jesus fulfills various prophecy from this Cannon, making the connection relevant and why it was paired with the later books.

Now what about the wise men? The Zoroastrian priests who followed the star were the first to witness the baby Jesus. A holy message obviously bestowed them as they knew to bring gifts for this new king.

Zoroaster himself was the first to reveal one true God. Does this not strike you as perhaps the first big step?

There are even messianic references in a few Zoroastrian works.

Now obviously the Avesta or Gathas aren't going to be in a Jewish Cannon. But in the overall arch of Christianity? Honestly, the works of Zoroaster seem to have a place to me. If not in the old testament, maybe a prequel, the initial testament.
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Re: Zoroaster should be an old testament prophet and is part

Postby jimwalton » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:11 am

> Zoroaster should be an old testament prophet and is part of Christianity

I disagree. The OT prophets were men and women who became spokespersons for YHWH, who revealed Himself directly to them. Zoroaster does not qualify for being a receptor of direct, special revelation from YHWH.

> So traditionally, the Jewish Cannon more or less has served as the old testament for Christianity.

fyi, it's "canon," not cannon. But you're right that the Hebrew Tanakh has definitely (not more or less) served as the OT for Christianity.

> Jesus fulfills various prophecy from this Cannon, making the connection relevant and why it was paired with the later books.

The NT goes further than that, specifying that Jesus fulfilled it ALL (Mt. 5.17). But you're right that Jesus is the glue that unites the OT & NT.

> Now what about the wise men? The Zoroastrian priests who followed the star were the first to witness the baby Jesus. A holy message obviously bestowed them as they knew to bring gifts for this new king.

They were not. The Bethlehem shepherds were the first (Lk. 2.16). The Persian magi didn't arrive to see Jesus until possibly a year or two later. Joseph and Mary were situated in a house by then (Mt. 2.11). Herod's act to kill children 2 and younger (Mt. 2.16) implies that Jesus could have possibly been as old as 2 by then.

> A holy message obviously bestowed them as they knew to bring gifts for this new king.

As far as we know, the only message they perceived was astrological (Mt. 2.2). We are not aware of any holy message as far as prophetic revelation and cannot speak from silence, speculating what the text doesn't say.

> Zoroaster himself was the first to reveal one true God. Does this not strike you as perhaps the first big step?

I'm not sure what you mean by this. If you mean historically, Zoroastrianism isn't written until about 600-500 BC, though there are speculations about its existence before then. Judaistic monotheism appears as early as 2000 BC (Gn. 12.1), and starts to appear in writing as early as 1300 BC. If you mean the birth story of Jesus, Jesus is first revealed by the angel to Mary (Lk. 1.26-38), and then to the shepherds (Lk. 2.16). The magi are brought into the story in Matthew 2 as a demonstration that Jesus came for the whole world (Jews and Gentiles alike), a common theme throughout Matthew's Gospel.

> There are even messianic references in a few Zoroastrian works.

I would be interested to know these, to add to my notes. Do you have references for them?

> Now obviously the Avesta or Gathas aren't going to be in a Jewish Cannon. But in the overall arch of Christianity? Honestly, the works of Zoroaster seem to have a place to me. If not in the old testament, maybe a prequel, the initial testament.

Every religion has truth in it. Whether you examine the holy books of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, or Jainism, you will find things that are true. Zoroastrianism, likewise, has true teaching in it and can make for beneficial reading. There is no indication, however, that either the OT or the NT consider Zoroastrianism to be a legitimate source for revelation from YHWH. There is no hint that Z has a place in YHWH's revelation to humanity.
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Re: Zoroaster should be an old testament prophet and is part

Postby Conga » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:35 am

I am Muslim and you have found the center of all discussions in Jesus' life.

God gave Books through messengers since first man, and Zoroaster was one of His messengers. Gatha forms the core of Zoroastrian religion, the collection as we name Avesta are the side stories which include duality and various myths and depictions of wars between evil and good. Stories in Avesta might be originating from Indian culture, or Zoroastrian culture might be feeding Indian culture, in the end we know that Gathas are revelation from God and they contain a very clean cut version of religion.

During their exile to Babylon, we know that Israelites had adopted into lifestyle of locals moreover the religion of Persia had influenced them. The notion of messiah as we tell today is coming from Zoroastrian mythology. It depicts the second coming of Messiah, and it depicts the situation where all lives in peace and in state of everlasting/perpetual life. This is the definition of Judgment Day.

Also three kings and 25th of December is the depiction of start of new year hence the life used in Persian calendar. Two planets and one star aligns in the sky right before the dawn, then the sun comes up.

Western society took many aspects from Roman way of living, which originated from Greek culture, that has been established by Buddhists. After Christianity's development by Romans various notions from Zoroastrianism came into "massmedia".

As you have pointed out, Gatha contains God's wisdom and matches with Jesus' teachings, but we have to keep in mind that there is a huge backstory coming from Zoroastrian practice.
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Re: Zoroaster should be an old testament prophet and is part

Postby jimwalton » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:35 am

> The notion of messiah as we tell today is coming from Zoroastrian mythology.

The Jewish concept of Messiah predates the Israelite exile. David, Isaiah, and Micah, as well as others, all spoke of the Messiah before the exile in Babylon.

> Also three kings and 25th of December is the depiction of start of new year hence the life used in Persian calendar. Two planets and one star aligns in the sky right before the dawn, then the sun comes up.

There is no credible case for Jesus being born in December.

> Gatha contains God's wisdom and matches with Jesus' teachings, but we have to keep in mind that there is a huge backstory coming from Zoroastrian practice.

The life and teachings of Jesus stem from the Tanakh which predates both Zoroastrianism and the Jewish exile in Babylon. The backstory of Jesus and the NT are Judaism and the Tanakh, not Zoroastrian practice.

I would like to discuss this further.
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Re: Zoroaster should be an old testament prophet and is part

Postby YC Christian » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:43 am

Christianity is an outgrowth of Judaism, not Zoroastrianism. Judaism is an outgrowth of West Semitic polytheism, not Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism likely reinforced monotheistic thought in Judaism, but the degree of its influence is debated and, imo, overstated. Mark S. Smith, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism:

"Some scholars locate [the] shift to monotheism in the Persian period. The date of "Second Isaiah" at the beginning of the Persian period might lend support in this direction, and the other biblical texts in question have likewise been dated to the Persian period by some scholars. Accordingly, the emphasis on a single divine power of good in Zoroastrianism has been thought to provide a model for the monotheism expressed in the Bible. I have reservations about this theory, apart from the dating of the biblical texts in question. (...) [Zoroastrian] dualism does not truly resemble biblical monotheism. Indeed, a principle of evil, for example Belial, Satan, or the devil, began to appear only in the latest biblical works and in other Second Temple literature. Furthermore, the language of biblical monotheism appears to represent, at least in its formulations developments of older language exalting the national god. (...) On the other hand, this is not to say that Persian religious tradition did not reinforce monotheistic rhetoric in this period or influence some biblical conceptions of divinity."

And while Zoroastrianism has an eschatological savior figure, this isn't the Davidic messiah. Religions are complicated, they share lots of features due to cultural exchange and common ancestors. You could try to form a religion that cobbles together the Old and New Testaments with Zoroastrian scripture, and you might as well throw in Ugaritic literature as well, and Hellenic, and Babylonian. But this isn't going to result in a very coherent belief system.
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Re: Zoroaster should be an old testament prophet and is part

Postby jimwalton » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:44 am

I agree and also shared that Christianity derived from Judaism and not Zoroastrianism, but I disagree that Judaism is an outgrowth of Western Semitic thought. While Mark Smith shows laudable research at showing the similarities between WS thought and Judaism, he fails to prove derivation. Certainly Israel was part of the ancient Near Eastern cultural river, but the similarities of Judaism to certain other select features of Canaanite cultic practice and belief don't prove derivation. (Actually, derivation is impossible to prove, though Smith claims it.) We actually don't have a reliable chronology and chain of custody to prove derivation. The issue of religious evolution is indecisive. Monotheism and the uniqueness of YHWH were part of Judaistic theology from the start. The revelation of the Israelite God was leading them to something different, but it was a process. When YHWH first appeared to Abram, he neither clarified nor even discussed how many gods there were or whether Abram needed to consider him the only God. When we get to Moses, the Decalogue states first that no other gods should be worshipped before YHWH. Yet even that phrase stops short of saying how many gods there are.
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Re: Zoroaster should be an old testament prophet and is part

Postby YC Christian » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:01 pm

> Monotheism and the uniqueness of YHWH were part of Judaistic theology from the start.

What start, exactly? Moses and the Exodus aren't historical, Israelites are native Canaanites, whose chief god El was merged with Yahweh when the latter's cult moved northward into Israel from the region of Edom/Midian/Teman. Smith isn't an outlier here, these are the prevailing opinions in biblical scholarship.
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Re: Zoroaster should be an old testament prophet and is part

Postby jimwalton » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:30 pm

> What start, exactly?

There is never any teaching in the Bible that is contra-monotheistic. While some say Judaism's monotheism evolved from Canaanite polytheism, that has never been and can't be proved just by showing similarities between the cultic cultures. Similarity doesn't mean derivation. Much of our knowledge of the area and era come from the Amarna letters, which realistically means we know less than 5% of what there is to know about the culture. Not exactly strong footing.

Smith certainly isn't an outlier; his theories are well-researched. But they're far from proved or established. Smith notes similarity and claims derivation, which is not good enough. The issue of religious evolution is not able to be substantiated by the limited information we have. We cannot know whether the distinction between YHWH and other false gods was always clear and the Israelites either failed to understand this important distinction, rejected its truth, or neglected to reflect it in their daily lives. In other words, a difference should be noted between the revelation and its corresponding expectation on the one hand, and Israelite practice with all of its shortcomings on the other.

There is also no clear and definitive evidence of monotheism's origins. We have at present no way to track it with the kind of confidence Smith claims. The term itself is a problem. Israel always insisted that YHWH was categorically supreme. Deut. 4.39 makes a claim that appears to be an absolute expression of monotheism, as does Ex. 20.3. Neh. 9.6 mentions "a host of heaven" that worships YHWH. Was that the angels or a divine council? What counts as "gods"? False gods? Idols? Did Israel occasionally recognize other deities as part of their apostasy, part of their syncretism, or part of the their theology? The answers are far less precise and fruitful than we would wish.

> Moses and the Exodus aren't historical

You can't know that, and you can't conclude that. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. There are many reasons to believe they are historical, despite the lack of hard positive evidence. And it's a truth that there is no hard evidence to support that they aren't historical. So it's a logical fallacy to conclude, "We don't have any concrete positive evidence, so that proves it's false." It does no such thing.

> Israelites are native Canaanites

There are several speculations about the origin of the Israelites. One theory is that they are native Canaanites. One is that they are of Aramean extract. Another is that they were a unique cultural group that entered the land at a specific time (there is proof for this perspective). What is definite is that you cannot conclude they are native Canaanites. That is not proved.

> whose chief god El was merged with Yahweh when the latter's cult moved northward into Israel from the region of Edom/Midian/Teman.

This is not proved. Smith speculates it on the basis of similarity, but similarity doesn't mean derivation. There are other views just as academic and reputable. Yehezkel Kaufmann argued in an 8-volume Religion of Israel that Israel knew nothing of the polytheism, magic, or idolatry of its Canaanite neighbors. William Albright argues in Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan that Israel was monolatrous. Smith argues that they emerged from Canaanite polytheism. Smith’s response is respectable, but it doesn’t address the difficult question of how widely and when monolatrous or monotheistic beliefs took hold, or whether those beliefs developed in a linear fashion. Such things are impossible to know. You simply cannot conclude what you are concluding. It's one perspective among others.
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Re: Zoroaster should be an old testament prophet and is part

Postby Conga » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:41 pm

> The Jewish concept of Messiah predates the Israelite exile. David, Isaiah, and Micah, as well as others, all spoke of the Messiah before the exile in Babylon.

Messiah and Mahdi points to same person, the last messenger, Jews still expect it, not only them but Christians, Hindus, Zoroastrians. Because God gave everybody to support upcoming messenger. Everybody received revelation from God, not exclusively Israelites.

> There is no credible case for Jesus being born in December.

The story of Christ-mass had been retold by Church to encapsulate pagan beliefs, most holy places known in Middle East are originally pagan belief centers as well. Jesus was born in late August-mid September.

> The life and teachings of Jesus stem from the Tanakh which predates both Zoroastrianism and the Jewish exile in Babylon. The backstory of Jesus and the NT are Judaism and the Tanakh, not Zoroastrian practice.

Jesus knew Torah and Midrash. God gave a very lengthy revelation series to Israelites but as records prove they were lost or mixed up. What Jesus said was above and beyond of Torah teaching, because it includes detailed references to Midrash.

> I would like to discuss this further.

I tried to chirp in from Islam side, Jesus and Israelites are important figures to Arabian peninsula, because they have witnessed these events/miracles. There were trade routes passing through all the region, and these stories were known in Africa as well.
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Re: Zoroaster should be an old testament prophet and is part

Postby jimwalton » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:41 pm

> Messiah and Mahdi points to same person, the last messenger, Jews still expect it, not only them but Christians, Hindus, Zoroastrians. Because God gave everybody to support upcoming messenger. Everybody received revelation from God, not exclusively Israelites.

Yes, many religious cultures believe in a messiah, but that doesn't make them parallel beliefs. It's quite impossible that all the religions are true. They contradict each other in significant ways, even in relation to the messiah. And therefore we cannot go with the concept that God gave everybody a revelation about the messiah. If that were the truth, then God contradicts himself and he is therefore a liar. It cannot possibly be true that everybody received revelation from God.

> The story of Christ-mass had been retold by Church to encapsulate pagan beliefs, most holy places known in Middle East are originally pagan belief centers as well.

The story of Christmas had its origin in historical occurrences, and it is told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke to communicate the historicity of the incarnation. It has no connection with pagan beliefs until future eras when part of the church had a period of corrupt leaders and practices.

> Jesus was born in late August-mid September.

This is possibly true. It could have been spring or fall, most likely the fall, perhaps September/October.

> Jesus knew Torah and Midrash.

Jesus certainly knew the Torah, but the Midrash were not around until after his death, so Jesus didn't know midrash.

> God gave a very lengthy revelation series to Israelites but as records prove they were lost or mixed up

Records do not prove this. There is no record of the revelation of God being lost. It is preserved for us in the Tanakh (the Old Testament). There is no evidence, either, for the records being mixed up.

> What Jesus said was above and beyond of Torah teaching, because it includes detailed references to Midrash.

You would have to give evidence of this for me to believe you. I think it's untrue.
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