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Judaism and Zoroastrianism *

Museum of Zoroastrians

Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest continuously practiced religions, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster. Zoroastrianism enters written history in the 5th century BCE.

The sacred Zoroastrian pilgrimage shrine of Chak Chak in Yazd, Iran.
Photo: Abolfazl Ahmadi 

The historical features of Zoroastrianism, such as its monotheism, messianism, judgment after death, heaven and hell, and free will are similar to other religious and philosophical systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Greek philosophy, Christianity, Islam, the Baháʼí Faith, and Buddhism.

Some claim that Zoroastrianism influenced the other major Western religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Christians identified Zoroaster with Ezekiel, Nimrod, Seth, and Balaam. Some scholars say that tenets of Zoroastrianism helped to shape the major Abrahamic religions—including post Biblical Judaism, Christianity and Islam—through the influence of the Persian Empire and Babylonia, where people from the Kingdom of Judea had been living in captivity for decades.

There is a great deal of claims of Zoroastrian influence on Judaism and Christianity, but the
problem is that it is hard to document this exactly, especially in the early stages of Judaism. The evidence may be there, but it is all “circumstantial” evidence and often does not stand up to the rigorous judgment of scholarship.

Faravahar (or Ferohar), one of the primary symbols of Zoroastrianism, believed to be the depiction of a Fravashi or the Khvarenah.
Author: Kevin McCormick
Fire Temple in Yazd, Iran
Tour du silence à Yazd
Photo: Bernard Gagnon 

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