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ZOROASTER

Note: Wikipedia

    Born c. 1500-650 BCE. Died c. 1000-500 BCE. Venerated in Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Bahá’í Faith, Mithraism, Ahmadiyya. Attributes: Zoroastrianism, founder.

    Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, Zarathushtra Spitama, or Ashu Zarathustra - was the prophet of ancient Iran, whose transformation of his inherited religion, Zoroastrianism, inaugurated a movement that eventually became the dominant religion in Iran up until the triumph of Islam. He was a native speaker of Old Avestan and lived in the eastern part of the Iranian Plateau, but his exact birthplace is uncertain.

    Zoroaster dating is uncertain as there is no scholarship consensus, on linguistic and socio-cultural evidence is dated around 1000 BCE and earlier, while others put him in the 7th and 6th century BCE as a contemporary or near-contemporary of Cyrus the Great and Darius I. Zoroastrianism was already an old religion when was first recorded, and it was the official religion of Persian Empires (Modern Iran) and its distant subdivisions from 6th century BCE to 7th century CE. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrian thinking. Most of his life is known through the Zoroastrian texts.

    By any modern standard of historiography, no strictly historical evidence can place him into a fixed period, and the historicization surrounding him is part of a trend from before the 10th century which historicizes legends and myths.

    There is no consensus on the dating of Zoroaster, the Avesta gives no direct information about it, while historical sources are conflicting. Some scholars base the date reconstruction on the Proto-Indo-Iranian language and Proto-Indo-Iranian religion, and thus it is considered some place in the north-east and time between 1500 and 500 BCE.

    The birth place of Zoroaster is also unknown, and the language of the Gathas is not similar to the proposed north-western and north-eastern regional dialects of Persia. It is also suggested that he was born in one of either area, and later lived in the other area.

    The 2005 Encyclopedia Iranica article on the history of Zoroastrianism summarizes the issue with “while there is general agreement that he did not live in western Iran, attempts to locate him in specific regions of eastern Iran, including Central Asia, remain tentative”.

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