Mazdeans and Christians Facing the End of the World: Circulations and Exchanges of Concepts
Keywords:eschatology, millenarianism, Mazdeism, origenism, apokatastasis, evil, psychology
This contribution offers a conspectus of the parallel treatment of some eschatological subjects in the comparative framework of Mazdean and Christian sources. Although some impact of the Judeo-Christian tradition on Iranian apocalypticism has been fittingly detected in previous studies, the author insists on evidence showing a sort of circular exchange between Christians and Mazdeans, where, for instance, chiliasm presents some Iranian (and not only Babylonian) resonances, while the well-known Zoroastrian doctrine of universal mercy and of the *apokatastasis* shows impressive correspondences with the Origenian doctrines. What distinguishes the Iranian framework is the fact that millenarianism, apocalypse and *apokatastasis* did not directly contrast, as it happened in the Christian milieu. These Christian doctrines played a certain influence in Sasanian Iran, although their diffusion and acceptance was probably slow and progressive, and became dominant among Zoroastrians only after the fall of the Sasanian period, when the Mazdean Church was no longer the pillar of the state and the social and legal order. The diffusion of the doctrine of universal mercy was a later acquisition, as shown from the evidence that earlier Mazdean doctrines did not assume a complete salvation for the wicked but prescribed a harsh and eternal punishment for them. Furthermore, the author focuses on his own research on these subjects and summarises some results concerning a new and original presentation of the Mazdean concept of evil as a manifestation of suffering, comparable to a state of mental 'sickness.'
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Copyright (c) 2020 Antonio Panaino
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