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Textual Sources for the Study of Zoroastrianism

Translated by Mary Boyce
"Boyce is a, perhaps the, world authority on Zoroastrianism. . . . Prefaced by a 27-page introduction, this anthology contains selections which offer a complete picture of Zoroastrian belief, worship and practice. There are historical texts from the sixth century B.C. onwards, and extracts from modern Zoroastrian writings representing traditionalism, occultism and reformist opinion. Anyone wishing to know more about this ’least well known of the world religions’ should sample these selections."—The Methodist Church

"Wide-ranging. . . . An indispensable one-volume collection of primary materials."—William R. Darrow, Religious Studies Review

Table of Contents

General introduction
1. Introduction
1.1. The textual sources
1.2. The religious background to Zoroastrianism
1.3. Zarathushtra and his teachings
1.4. Some reasons for diversity in modern studies of Zoroastrianism
1.5. The ancient Iranian world picture
1.6. The seven holy days of obligation
1.7. The Zoroastrian calendar
1.8. The Zoroastrian ’world year’
1.9. Chronological background to the texts
2. Tradition and doctrine
2.1. Ancient materials from the Yashts
2.2. Verses from the Gathas
2.3. Passages from the Zand of lost Avestan texts
3. Worship, prayer and confession
3.1. Selections from Yasna Haptanhaiti
3.2. Passages from the yasna liturgy accompanying the preparation of the haoma offering
3.3. The four great prayers
3.4. The creed (Fravarane)
3.5. The kusti prayers
3.6. The Hamazor
3.7. The benediction, or prayer for health (tan-dorosti)
3.8. From a general confession, Patet i Khwad
4. Rules and observances
4.1. The cult of fire
4.2. Concerning human ’nasa’ and the proper disposal of the dead
4.3. On ’taking the baj’
4.4. Festivals
5. The life and legend of Zarathustra
5.1. Passages from Younger Avestan texts
5.2. Passages from the Zand of lost Avestan texts
5.3. Kavi Vishtaspa and the early wars of the faith
6. The fate of the soul at death, and a vision of heaven and hell
6.1. The fate of the soul, from Younger Avestan texts
6.2. The fate of the soul, from Pahlavi sources
6.3. A vision of heaven and hell, from Arda Viraz Namag
7. Apocalyptic texts
7.1. On the coming of the Saoshyant, from Yasht 19
7.2. On the three World Saviours, from the Zand
7.3. On the seven ages of the world, and the coming of the Saviours, from the Zand of Vahman Yasht
7.4. On Yima’s var, from Vendidad 2
8. A Zoroastrian heresy: Zurvanism
8.1. A citation from Theopompus
8.2. Versions of the myth of Zurvan and his twin Sons
9. Dogmatic passages from ninth-century Pahlavi books
9.1. From ’Selected Precepts of the Ancient Sages’
9.2. From Shkand-gumanig Vizar, the ’Doubt-dispelling Exposition’
10. Historical texts
10.1. From the Achaemenian period
10.2. From the Parthian period
10.3. From the Sasanian period
10.4. Passages concerning the Arab conquest and the early centuries of Islam
10.5. Concerning the Irani and Parsi communities, fifteenth to eighteenth centuries A. C.
10.6. From the reports of Europeans, seventeenth to eighteenth centuries
11. The faith in modern times: the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
11.1. From nineteenth-century European writings on Zoroastrian dualism
11.2. Passages from Parsi theosophical writings
11.3. Writings by moderate and radical reformists
11.4. Tradition in belief and practice
11.5. Matters of controversy
11.6. Restatements and reappraisal
Glossarial index

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