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(1,227 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael
No one knows exactly when and where Zarathustra, the ‘founder’ of → Zoroastrianism, lived. In fact, it is not even certain whether Zarathustra represents a historical individual at all. Even in the most ancient sources, the ‘historical Zarathustra’ appears as a remarkably nebulous figure, later to be repeatedly overlaid with mythology, theology, ritual, literature, iconography, and ideology. The Gathas The name Zarathustra (or Zarathushtra) appears in five very ancient hymns, the ‘Gathas’ (‘songs’), composed in an ancient Iranian language. It is not cer…


(4,121 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael
Designations ‘Zoroastrianism’ is the modern designation (established in colonial times) for one of the oldest living religious traditions of mankind. The name refers to one of the Greek names of its ‘founder’ Zoroaster, known as Zarathushtra in the sources from ancient → Iran (→ Zarathustra). In antiquity, most Greek authors referred to the religion simply as ‘the religion of the Persians,’ while indigenous sources termed it as the ‘good’ or the ‘mazda-worshipping’ religion—the latter term focusi…


(3,943 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael
Even if one's point of departure is the premise that the human being is by nature predisposed to religion (cf., Lat.: homo naturaliter religiosus; homo religiosus)—to a certain extent recent cognitive approaches to the study of religion present a resurgence of that view—it still remains to be explained how, ideally, a helpless nursling becomes a competent member or competent client of a given religion. From generation to generation, religions must be creatively reproduced. ‘Socialization,’ and ‘upbringing,’ ‘education,’…