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Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xxxvi ] ‘Time’, made into the first cause in the major heresy within Z oroastrianism , Zurvanism. The origins of the heresy are unknown. It was perhaps the dominant tradition at the court of the Sasanians (224–642 ce ) and lasted into Islamic times, but then withered away. Speculation on Time as the source and controller of all things may well have been due to B aby lonian influence on Zoroastrianism. Zurvan was thought of as the father of the ‘twin spirits’, A hura mazda and A ngra mainyu and therefore, by implication, beyond the distinctions of good and evil. This led to some un-Zoroastrian teachings, for example that if Time controls all things then it follows that man has no free will, an idea alien to the prophet Z oroaster. Also, with Zurvan as father of the twin spirits, Ahura Mazda is no longer the sole creator and alone worthy of absolute worship. It also suggests that good and evil are not absolute opposites as they are traditionally conceived in Zoroastrianism. There is no evidence to show that Zurvanism ever involved a separate ritual and it may be doubted if it ever formed a separate cult; it was rather perhaps an aberrant movement within Zoroastrianism [10: 67–70, 112–13, 118–23; 53a; 62; 64: viii–ix ]. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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