Zoroaster - The Chaldean Oracles (97.0 Kb)
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THESE Oracles are considered to embody many of the principal features of Chaldan philosophy. They have come down to us through Greek translations and were held in the greatest esteem throughout antiquity, a sentiment which was shared alike by the early Christian Fathers and the later Platonists. The doctrines contained therein are attributed to Zoroaster through to which particular Zoroaster is not known historians give notices of as many as six different individuals all bearing that name, which was probably the title of... More >>>
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THESE Oracles are considered to embody many of the principal features of Chaldan philosophy. They have come down to us through Greek translations and were held in the greatest esteem throughout antiquity, a sentiment which was shared alike by the early Christian Fathers and the later Platonists. The doctrines contained therein are attributed to Zoroaster through to which particular Zoroaster is not known historians give notices of as many as six different individuals all bearing that name, which was probably the title of the Prince of the Magi, and a generic term. The word Zoroaster is by various authorities differently derived: Kircher furnishes one of the most interesting derivations when he seeks to show that it comes from TzURA = a figure, and TzIUR = to fashion, ASH = fire, and STR = hidden from these he gets the words Zairaster = fashioning images of hidden fireor Tzuraster = the image of secret things. Others derive it from Chaldee and Greek words meaning "a contemplator of the Stars."
It is not, of course, pretended that this collection as it stands is other than disjointed and fragmentary, and it is more than probable that the true sense of many passages has been obscured, and even in some cases hopelessly obliterated, by inadequate translation. Where it has been possible to do so, an attempt has been made to, elucidate doubtful or ambiguous expressions, either by modifying the existing translation from the Greek, where deemed permissible, or by appending annotations.
A certain portion of these Oracles collected by Psellus, appear to be correctly attributed to a Chaldan Zoroaster of very early date, and are marked "Z," following the method indicated by Taylor, with one or two exceptions. Another portion is attributed to a sect of philosophers named Theurgists, who flourished during the reign of Marcus Antoninus, upon the authority of Proclus,*** and these are marked "T." Oracles additional to these two series and of less definite source are marked "Z or T." Other oracular passages from miscellaneous authors are indicated by their names.
Zoroaster (from Greek Zoroastres), also known as Zarathustra (Avestan: Zaratustra, Persian: Zartosht, Zardosht), or as Zarathushtra Spitama, was the founder of Zoroastrianism. Though he was a native speaker of Old Avestan and lived in the eastern part of the Iranian Plateau, his birthplace is uncertain. Zoroastrianism was the official religion of Persia and its distant subdivisions from 600 BCE to 650 CE. In modern scholarship Zoroaster is often dated to the 10th century BC, though the religion named for him is not attested to historically until the 5th century BC.
He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrian thinking. Most of his life is known through the Zoroastrian texts.
Zoroaster initially learned the trade of a cobbler and lived by the rivers of Bactria. By the age of 30, he was a preacher of monotheism and his followers were adherents of Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord).
He received revelations and saw a vision of Amesha Spenta, and his teachings were collected in the Gathas and the Avesta. His teachings of the Golden Rule and as a shaman had gained him much attention among the leading figures of his time.
His thoughts about free will earned him a patron ruler named Vishtaspa an early adherent of Zoroastrianism (possibly from Bactria according to the Shahnameh).
Zoroaster was interested in the occult, such as the spirit elements of Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. His ideas about the secrets of beauty and health had gained him much prosperity and wealth possibly in gemstones. Persian rulers associated the faith with prosperity and fortune (except Cyrus the Great).
He married Hvovi (an Avestan high priestess). He opposed the use of the hallucinogenic Haoma plant, polytheism and an oppressive class system in Persia. His followers spread throughout Rsis, Elam, Babylon, Media, Sardis; Fire temples were built in Armenia in his honor and led to the rise of the Achaemenid Empire.
Zoroaster was murdered because he opposed the Daevas. The Shahnameh, however claims an obscure conflict with Turan, in which Zoroaster was murdered. Jamaspa, his son-in-law, then became Zoroaster's successor.