Zoroastrian Influence on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Right now I’m working on a term paper about the many influences Zoroastrianism has had on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The most notable influences being on Heaven and Hell, the eternal Soul, he Devil, a messianic saviour, and an end of the world scenario. I don’t know why, but I find Zoroastrianism a fascinating subject, but that’s not important.

What I need are good websites about Zoroastrianism, particularly in regards to interpretating the Yasnas, Gathas, and possibly the Venidad. Though I have numerous books from the library at my disposal, none of them seem to be too helpful when it comes to interpretation of Zoroastrian scripture. I figure this forum is the best place to look for this help. Any help will be appreciated

I haven’t read any serious scholarship on the issue but here is an interesting essay I found on the topic of Zoroastrian influence:

 The areas of influence identified include beliefs in angels, Heaven and Hell and apocalyptic myths. I expect **Tamerlane** will be able to provide more detailed sources and information.


you might try looking under "yezidi(s)–a modern remnant in s.western Iran (i think) notable for their continued fire rituals and confinement in “magic circles” google yezidi, who knows.

Good links, but what I really need desperately is a site which interprets the sacred Zoroastrian scriptures so I can make citations to back up my claims.

Did you try running it through Google? I got this one just by typing in “Zoroastrian scriptures” and there are plenty more where that came from.

DaPearl, I’ve been trying to find scholarly references on this, too. Have you found any good books or papers that discuss these influences?

I too would be very intersted in what your researches turn up, and hope you will dfo a post or series of posts summarizing what you find.

One key and interesting point is that the Satan concept – the angel-in-rebellion-against-God who tries to turn humans to evil – common to all three Abrahamic faiths, appears to owe a great deal to the idea of Angra Mainyu (Ahriman).

Such little evidence of pre-Exilic Judaism as we have with regard to this concept appears to place the Tempter in a Ken Starr role – one who places temptation in the way of the human, investigates whether he/she has succumbed to it, and then accuses him/her before God, a kind of cosmic D.A.-cum-Bureau-of-Investigation in the Divine Court structure, and not a rebel at all. (See the Prologue to Job for the most thoroughly spelled out example of this role.)

But the dualistic nature of Mazdism, with forces of Good and Evil in eternal conflict, seems to have altered the view of the Satan into a spirit in rebellion, a demigod-of-evil role paralleling that of Ahriman.

I’m not sure what you are asking for, translations of the documents from the religion or commentary on them. If the former, one place to go when looking for documents on religions or the like is http://www.sacred-texts.com/index.htm and sure enough they have a Zoroastrianism page with several texts up.

I can’t help with the latter. Sorry.

Well, its done. Despite what some may think, not my most fun night.

That said, I’d still love to continue a Zoroastrian discussion. My paper focused on the dualistic aspects of Zoroastrianism that Judaism, Christianity, and islam adopted, namely: concept of Heaven and Hell, the eternal soul, the Devil, and eschatology; all of which have their roots in Zoroastrianism. If I wasn’t pressed for time I might have done a little on cosmology and mysticism movements, but that wasn’t in the works.

Actually Polycrap, the Book of Job was my main support for the pre-exhilic Satan being in league with God and not evil.

FriendRob, its not the easiest subject to research unfortunately. I suggest trying to find books which compare multiple religions. Zoroastrianism seems to be included in many due to its historical influence and the fact its studied alongside both eastern and western religions. For something more specific but a little more difficult to digest try Mary Boyce’s Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. What I really could’ve used more than anything though was a good, comprehensive, interpretive translation of the Gathas.

Check out http://www.religioustolerance.org/zoroastr.htm, which gives a good outline of Zoroastrianism has links at the bottom to several sites discussing the sacred texts in more depth.

Also sprach Zarathustra!

At least one serious historian (Toynbee, “Study of History”) holds a view that Zoroastrianism and Judaism were sister religions that flourished in the Middle East before ancient Greeks’ invasion, kind of like Christianity was co-existing with many other religions, often more popular, during the early years of Roman Empire. If this is true, there may be mutual influences observed in Zoroastrianism and Judaism, but who is adaptor and/or adaptee, remains unclear. Judaism is an extremely old religion. Christianity and Islam mostly adapted from Judaism, certainly.