Influence of Zoroastrianism on Some Important Beliefs of Judaism and Christianity

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Influence of Zoroastrianism on Some Important Beliefs of Judaism and Christianity

In order to have a greater understanding of current religions, it is necessary to have an understanding of past religions, even those of ancient times. From as early as 4000 BCE when mythical
Egyptian gods were recorded, to the writings of the New Testament in the last half of the first century
AD, to rejection of several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church by Martin Luther, older religious beliefs have influenced those that followed. Over time, whether from divine revelation or self-proclamation, humans came to new understandings or found disagreement with established religions or belief systems. One lesser known religion that has had major influence on modern Judaism and Christianity is Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism is credited by many researchers and scholars as the first religion to present the concepts of monotheism (one supreme god), dualism (the concepts of good and evil), the apocalypse when good triumphs over evil (Satan), and the conscious choice of good over evil in order to be admitted to heaven as opposed to being banished to hell.

As with most religions, Zoroastrianism has a founder, Zarathustra (from the Greek), also known as Zoroaster. Mary Boyce in her work, Zorastrians, Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, says
Zoroaster lived in the area of ancient Persia (which includes today's Iran), some time between 1700 and
1500 BCE, but other sources date is life as late as the 6th century BCE. According to Richard Foltz in his work, Spirituallity in the Land of the Noble, the oldest evidence of him can be found in portions of the Avesta (scriptures) known as the “Gathas”, poems or verses which are believed to be the preserved words of Zoroaster himself. There is general agreement that priests compiled the Zoroastrian religious

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