Comparing Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity Essay

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Comparing Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity

Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity share so many features that it seems that there must be a connection between them. There is a great deal of Zoroastrian influence in both Judaism and Christianity.
In 586 BCE, the forces of the Babylonian Empire conquered the Jews, destroying their Temple and carrying off a proportion of the Jewish population into exile. It was during the end of the Exile, among the Jews now living in the Persian Empire, that the first significant contact was made between the Jewish and Iranian cultures. And it is evident in the Bible that Jewish thinking changed after the Exile. During the Exile, Jews had to change not only how they worshipped, since
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And as the Jewish religion was re-made after the catastrophe of the Exile, these Zoroastrian teachings began to filter into the Jewish religious culture.
The monotheists of Zarathushtra were able to incorporate the veneration of subordinate divinities into their worship, as long as these subordinates were recognized as creations of the One God and not gods in their own right. The Jews would recognize angels as semi-divine intermediaries, but would not go so far as the Zoroastrians in honoring those intermediaries with hymns of praise such as the Yashts.
One of the most important differences between Jewish monotheism and Zoroastrian monotheism is that Jews recognize the one God as the source of both good and evil, light and darkness, while Zoroastrians, during all the phases of their long theological history, think of God only as the source of Good, with Evil as a separate principle. There is a famous passage in Second Isaiah, composed during or after the Exile, which is sometimes cited as a Jewish rebuke to the Zoroastrian idea of a dualistic God: "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." (Isaiah 45:7) This passage, which is a major source for Jewish speculation on the source of good and evil in the world, denies the Zoroastrian idea of a God who is the source only of "good" and favorable things.

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