We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. The work does not seem to have been actually completed, however, until the reign of Shapur II (309-379 CE) and was not finalized until that of Kosrau I (531-579 CE). The Avesta (Modern Persian: اوستا‎; /əˈvɛstə/), is the primary collection of religious texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in Avestan language.[1]. Although often overlooked, the fragments are not inconsequential and include information on pre-Zoroastrian deities and important theological subjects such as the end of the world and redemption. Anquetil-Duperron's manuscripts are at the Bibliothèque nationale de France ('P'-series manuscripts), while Rask's collection now lies in the Royal Library, Denmark ('K'-series). Its principles informed the policies of the greatest empires of the ancient East and its theology would influence the later monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The longer ("great Siroza") has complete sentences and sections, with the yazatas being addressed in the accusative. Afterwards, Zoroastrianism was suppressed and only preserved by the Parsees – Persian Zoroastrians who fled to India – and Iranians who managed to keep the faith alive in their native country. 35-44, The Gathas of Zarathushtra from Avesta.org, Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War, The Armies of Ancient Persia: The Sassanians, The Persians: Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Iran, Gods in the Desert: Religions of the Ancient Near East, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, Siroza – Invocations of deities in times of need, Nyayeshes – Prayers to divine elements of fire, water, and to the sun and moon, Gahs – Invocations of and prayers to the Five Deities of the Day, Afrinagans – Blessings for the Dead and for the Seasons. The prayers of the Visperad are never recited independently of the yasnas as they serve to expand upon and develop the hymns’ concepts. Mark, J. J. He has taught history, writing, literature, and philosophy at the college level. Only texts in the Avestan language are considered part of the Avesta. The British Library: Discovering Sacred Texts - Zoroastrianism, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Avesta&oldid=990835197, Articles containing Persian-language text, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The Vendidad includes all of the 19th nask, which is the only nask that has survived in its entirety. Mark, Joshua J. The Avesta is the scripture of Zoroastrianism which developed from an oral tradition founded by the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht) sometime between c. 1500-1000 BCE. Mark, Joshua J. However, there is a ceremony called the Vendidad, in which the Yasna is recited with all the chapters of both the Visparad and the Vendidad inserted at appropriate points. The work, as recognized today, contains the original compositions attributed to Zoroaster as well as ecclesiastical laws, commentaries, customs, and beliefs which developed later after Zoroastrianism was accepted and became a widespread belief. The Seleucids were succeeded by the Parthian Empire (247 BCE-224 CE) whose upper class did embrace Zoroastrianism, and early scholars of the religion claimed that a version of the Avesta was written at this time. The text consists of 22 Fargards, fragments arranged as discussions between Ahura Mazda and Zoroaster. In this hymn – as in all the others – the importance of the pursuit of truth (asha) and wisdom (mazda) is emphasized as well as the transcendent nature of Ahura Mazda (Lord of Wisdom) and the necessity of resisting evil to maintain order. I who would serve you, O Mazda Ahura and Vohu Mano, do ye give through Asha the blessings of both worlds, the bodily and that of the Spirit, which set the faithful in felicity. This original work was then memorized, recited at services (yasna), and passed down through the generations until committed to writing by the Sassanians, at which time it was accompanied by commentaries and other works such as the Zend (also given as Zand) and, later, the Denkard, and the Bundahisn. It consists of 72 sections called the Ha-iti or Ha. Zoroastrianism's scriptures are the Avesta or the Zend Avesta [Pahlavi avesta=law, zend=commentary]. When was the Avesta written? Mark, published on 08 January 2020 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Come thou with Good Thought, give through Asha, O Mazda, as the gift to Zarathushtra, according to thy sure words, long enduring mighty help, and to us, O Ahura, whereby we may overcome the enmity of our foes. 2. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. Most of the oldest written versions of it have now been lost, and the oldest surviving copy dates from 1323 CE. That master copy, now lost, is known as the 'Sassanian archetype'. There was a priesthood, which attended to the gods, and services conducted, but what form these rituals took is unknown. Roughly between c. 1500-1000 BCE, one of these priests, Zoroaster, received a vision from Ahura Mazda through a being of light who appeared to him on a riverbank. Zend Avesta—A Neglected Hindu Scripture By D B Thengadi written on 22-2-67 (From his book The Perspective, page 32) “ The Vishva Hindu Parishad is trying to bring together Hindus all over the world on a common platform. The Avesta (Zoroastrian scriptures) is the primary source in the section known as the Yasht which deals with pre-Zoroastrian deities, spirits, and … The so-called Minor Texts are prayers and invocations of various deities for assistance. These hymns, together with five other short Old Avestan texts that are also part of the Yasna, are in the Old (or 'Gathic') Avestan language. The Visperad collection has no unity of its own, and is never recited separately from the Yasna. The texts became available to European scholarship comparatively late, thus the study of Zoroastrianism in Western countries dates back to only the 18th century. The Visparad is subdivided into 23 or 24 kardo (sections) that are interleaved into the Yasna during a Visperad service (which is an extended Yasna service). [9] Tansar's work was then supposedly completed by Adurbad Mahraspandan (high priest of Shapur II, r. 309–379 CE) who made a general revision of the canon and continued to ensure its orthodoxy (Dk 4F, AVN 1.12–1.16). Extensions to the Yasna ceremony include the texts of the Vendidad and the Visperad. Define Avestan. Correspondingly, the nasks are divided into three groups, of seven volumes per group. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 08 Jan 2020. Of or relating to Avestan. They address the god directly and ask for guidance in living the life he expects from adherents. by Jozka (Public Domain) The Avesta is the scripture of Zoroastrianism which developed from an oral tradition founded by the prophet Zoroaster ( Zarathustra, Zartosht) sometime between c. 1500-1000 BCE. Central Asia) via Arachosia and Sistan through to Persia;[n 4] and in part due to the influence of phonetic developments in the Avestan language itself. 8. The oldest surviving manuscript (K1)[n 1] of an Avestan language text is dated 1323 CE. The likely reason for this is that the surviving materials represent those portions of the Avesta that were in regular liturgical use, and therefore known by heart by the priests and not dependent for their preservation on the survival of particular manuscripts. [6] Supposedly, Vishtaspa (Dk 3A) or another Kayanian, Daray (Dk 4B), then had two copies made, one of which was stored in the treasury, and the other in the royal archives (Dk 4B, 5). Scholars regularly point to this period as one of incalculable loss of Zoroastrian texts and lore, including copies of the Avesta. The principal text in the liturgical group is the Yasna, which takes its name from the Yasna ceremony, Zoroastrianism's primary act of worship, and at which the Yasna text is recited. A statement may also be quoted to the effect that the original Avesta was written on 1,200 parchments, with gold illuminated letters, and deposited in the library at Persepolis. The Yashts are 21 hymns addressed to divine entities and sacred elements such as water and fire. 6. [n 5]. The most important section of the Avesta is the Gathas. adj. 29 Nov 2020. This version was allegedly based on the texts supposedly lost at the end of the Achaemenid Empire, but, again, there is no evidence for this, and most modern-day scholars reject the claim or, at least, see nothing in the extant work which would make a Parthian version relevant to its development. These belief systems would have been informed by Zoroastrian thought as the concepts were shared through trade and travel between c. 1000 BCE and 224 CE when the Sassanians wrote the work down. In the theory of Friedrich Carl Andreas (1902), the archaic nature of the Avestan texts was assumed to be due to preservation via written transmission, and unusual or unexpected spellings in the surviving texts were assumed to be reflections of errors introduced by Sasanian-era transcription from the Aramaic alphabet-derived Pahlavi scripts. [8] Several centuries later, one of the Parthian emperors named Valaksh (one of the Vologases) supposedly then had the fragments collected, not only of those that had previously been written down, but also of those that had only been orally transmitted (Dk 4C). 9. Some parts may be comparatively recent in origin although the greater part is very old. Of the post-14th century works (all in New Persian), only the Sad-dar ("Hundred Doors, or Chapters"), and Revayats (traditional treatises) are of doctrinal importance. License. The Pahlavi texts also preserve large summaries and translations of lost Avestan texts. Some scholars prefer to place the categories in two groups, one liturgical, and the other general. The Avesta: The Avesta is the primary religious text of Zoroastrianism, one of the world's oldest religions. The Yasna (from yazišn "worship, oblations", cognate with Sanskrit yajña), is the primary liturgical collection, named after the ceremony at which it is recited. Avesta. https://www.ancient.eu/Avesta/. Allegedly, the Achaemenids wrote down a version of the Avesta which was destroyed by Alexander the Great’s conquest and the burning of Persepolis in 330 BCE. The title is generally accepted as meaning “praise”, though this interpretation is not universally agreed upon. In that story, credit for collation and recension is given to the early Sasanian-era priest Tansar (high priest under Ardashir I, r. 224–242 CE, and Shapur I, 240/242–272 CE), who had the scattered works collected, and of which he approved only a part as authoritative (Dk 3C, 4D, 4E). In addition to the Avesta, Zoroastrians have numerous scriptures from the Sassanian period which are written in a middle-Persian dialect called Pahlavi. [2] The Visperad extensions consist mainly of additional invocations of the divinities (yazatas),[3] while the Vendidad is a mixed collection of prose texts mostly dealing with purity laws. Only about on… The Early Iranian Religion was polytheistic with Ahura Mazda as king of the gods. This suggests that three-quarters of Avestan material, including an indeterminable number of juridical, historical and legendary texts, have been lost since then. When Zoroaster reformed the earlier religion, he kept many of the most popular gods – such as Anahita (goddess of water, fertility, health, and wisdom) and Mithra (god of the rising sun, contracts, and covenants), only now these were no longer regarded as deities but as divine emanations of Ahura Mazda. Zoroastrian religious texts from that language in order to preserve the lost Avestan robber horde the. Gathas still are as ecclesiastical laws, commentaries, customs, & Centre for in! All-Good, all-powerful, and the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike is not universally agreed upon and are of! On our tongue will we turn the robber horde unto the Greatest compositions attributed to Zoroaster.! 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