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Zoroastrian pseudepigrapha


Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


Extract

[ xviii ] The Greeks of the Hellenistic age (3rd century bce and later) held in high repute the sages, real and imagined, of alien cultures [14]. Among these were the Persian M agi in general and Z oroaster in particular. Consequently, much literature came into circulation attributed to these figures [11; 10]. The actual authors are unknown. It used to be supposed that this corpus was ultimately the product of Hellenized magi of the Iranian diaspora in Asia Minor, the so-called Magusaeans [11; on actual Zoroastrianism of that period and region, 12: viii–xi ]. With the likely exception of the Oracles of Hystaspes and of some material preserved in Dio Chrysostom (see below), this view is now untenable, since it has been demonstrated that apart from a few trace elements the bulk of the Zoroastrian pseudepigrapha transmits not the teachings of Z oroastrianism , but the miscellaneous encyclopedic information of Hellenistic learning [10]. Its authors used the names and authority of Zoroaster and the magi for legitimation, not to deceive but under the sincere misapprehension that they were transmitting the wisdom of the sages of long ago and far away. Except for the recently recovered Zostrianos , the pseudepigrapha are extant only in quoted fragments and references. The material falls generally into one of two classes, astrology or magic. Most of the astrology was attributed to ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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