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(1,300 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael
(1854-1933) Parsi priest, scholar, public servant, and community activist. Modi produced scholarly works on a great range of subjects, and he may well have been the most prolific Parsi scholar of modern times. MODI, JIVANJI JAMSHEDJI (1854-1933), Parsi priest, scholar, public servant, and community activist (Figure 1).Modi was the only son of a priest who served as the first head priest (Panthaki) of a fire-temple in South Bombay (Seth Jejeebhoy Dadabhoy Agiary, Colaba, consecrated in 1836). At the age of 11, Modi obtained his first-grade initiation into priesthood ( navar), and he …
Date: 2021-05-21

Hinduism and Zoroastrianism

(8,088 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael
The term “Zoroastrianism,” coined in the 19th century in a colonial context, is inspired by a Greek pseudo-etymological rendering (Zoro-astres, where the second element is reminiscent of the word for star) of the ancient Iranian name Zaraϑuštra (etymology unclear apart from the second element, uštra [camel]). This modern name of the religion reflects the emphasis on Zarathustra (Zoroaster) as its (presumed) founding figure or prophet.Zoroastrianism and Hinduism share a remote common original ancestry, but their historical trajectories over the millennia have…
Date: 2020-05-18


(2,436 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael | Cancik, Hubert | Seidl, Theodor | Kollmann, Bernd | Schneider-Ludorff, Gury | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies As with many animals, purification is a basic area of human behavior. Mutual purifying implies and generates expectations, trust, solidarity, and hierarchy. Religious actions (e.g. the purifying of statues and pictures of gods) go back to identical structures. Purifying is a fundamental element of ritual actions. Ritual objects, but also the actors themselves, are purified. This process is often self-referential: purification happens not with regard to something unclean, but for the ritual. Purifica…

Pure and Impure

(4,031 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael | Seidl, Theodor | Kollmann, Bernd | Schneider-Ludorff, Gury | Wandrey, Irina | Et al.
[German Version] I. Comparative Religion In differentiated religious systems or cultures, the categories of clean and unclean, or purity and impurity, represent a key classificatory-communicative distinction which determines the course of inner boundaries (e.g. those between clergy and laity or women and men) and outer boundaries (e.g. between believers and “pagans,” in-group/out-group). It enjoys particular plausibility in the context of dualistic models such as Zoroastrianism, for example (Zarathu…

Rite and Ritual

(6,139 words)

Author(s): Hutter, Manfred | Stausberg, Michael | Schwemer, Daniel | Gertz, Jan Christian | Hollender, Elisabeth | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. The terms The terms rite and ritual are often used synonymously, both in daily speech and in the specialized language of religious studies, leading to a lack of clarity. “Rite” is etymologically related to Sanskrit ṛta, “right, order, truth, custom,” and may thus be regarded as the “smallest” building block of a ritual, which can be defined as a complex series of actions in a (logical) functional relationship. Within a three-level sequence, cult (Cult/Worship : I, 2) must also be taken into cons…


(1,961 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael
Ancient Iranian religion, widespread to this day. [German version] I. Definitions The term Zoroastrianism derives from the name Zoroaster (for dates and name forms cf. Zoroaster), who is considered as 'founder', 'prophet' and 'apostle' of this religion. Its members have also been using the term Zoroastrianism to refer to themselves since the British colonial period. Self-designations found in older (Avestan = Av., Middle-Persian = MP and New-Persian = NP) sources, by contrast, derive from the worship of the god Ahura Mazdā (Av.; MP Ohrmazd): the 'good religion worshipping Mazd…


(508 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael
[German version] (Ζωροάστρης/ Zōroástēs, Avestan Zara θ uštra, Middle Persian Zardu(x)št, New Persian Zartošt or Zardošt). First mentioned by Xanthus [5] the Lydian, later the most widespread (and also astrologically inspired) Greek form of the Old Iranian male name Zaraθuštra, which is of unclear etymology. Only the latter part, ° uštra- ('camel'), can be clearly determined. Zaraθuštra's (extended) family is supposed to have borne the epithet spitāma-, its precise significance is also unknown. When Zaraθuštra lived and where he worked are notoriously disputed (if in…


(2,300 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael
Stausberg, Michael [German version] A. Antiquity (CT) The reception history in the West of the figure of Zoroaster and of the religious traditions that trace themselves to it, the religion of Zarathustra, also known as Zoroastrianism or Mazdaism, begins with Greek reports [2; 6]. Early examples include Herodotus' description of the nomoi of the Persians and the report of Xanthus the Lydian, transmitted in Diogenes Laertius (1, 2), according to which Zoroaster (Zarathuštra) - there are several Greek variants of the name - lived 6000 years before …


(453 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael
[English version] (Ζωροάστρης, avestisch Zara θ uštra, mittelpers. Zardu(x)št, neupers. Zartošt oder Zardošt). Die erstmals von Xanthos [5] dem Lyder bezeugte, später meistverbreitete (und zugleich astrologisch inspirierte) griech. Namensform des altiranischen Männernamens Zaraθuštra, dessen Etym. unklar ist. Eindeutig läßt sich allein das Hinterglied ° uštra- (“Kamel”) bestimmen. Zaraθuštras Familie bzw. Klan soll das Epitheton spitāma- getragen haben, dessen genaue Bed. ebenfalls unklar ist. Lebenszeit und Wirkungsstätte Zaraθuštras sind notorisch umstrit…


(1,756 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael
Antike, bis heute verbreitete iranische Religion. [English version] I. Selbst- und Fremdbezeichnungen Die Bez. “Z.” leitet sich von dem Namen Zoroastres her (zu Datier. und Namensformen s. dort), der als “Stifter”, “Prophet” oder “Apostel” dieser Rel. gilt. Seit der britischen Kolonialzeit wird der Begriff Z. von Angehörigen dieser Rel. auch als Selbstbezeichnung geführt. Die in älteren (avestischen = av., mittelpers. = mp., und neupers. = np.) Quellen verwendeten Selbstbezeichnungen stellen demgegenüber die Verehrung des Gottes Ahura Mazdā (av.; mp. Ohrmazd) ins Zentrum: …


(1,888 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael
Stausberg, Michael [English version] A. Antike (RWG) Die westl. Rezeptionsgeschichte der Z.-Gestalt und der sich auf sie berufenden rel. Traditionen, die Religion Zarathustras, auch Zoroastrismus oder Mazdaismus genannt, beginnt mit den griech. Berichten [2; 6]. Frühe Beispiele sind Herodots Beschreibung der nomoi der Perser und die bei Diogenes Laertios (1,2) überlieferte Nachricht von Xanthos dem Lydier, wonach Zoroastres (Zarathuštra) - es gibt mehrere griech. Varianten des Namens - 6000 J. nach Xerxes' Überquerung des Hellesponts …


(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,’…