Today in my theology class, my professor said that elements such as “angels” and “end times” in Judaism were borrowed from Zoroastrianism. My theology professor is catholic, however she didn’t seem phased by it. However doesn’t this pose a problem for Christians and Jews who believe that the Bible is divinely inspired? Or are we supposed to believe that Zoroaster was inspired as well?
There is an inter relation between the two religions, as they were the only real monotheistic religions around. It was a Zoroastrianist king that allowed the Jews to return to the holy land, and many believe that the three magi were in fact Zoroastrian priests, as Magi is a word from that religion.
Im wondering this as well. I hope we will got some good answers.
It doesn’t sound like she is Catholic. But her logic is flawed as are all similar arguments.
- Similarity in custom, habits, appearance does not prove that one came from the other. They both could just as logically be original to each, one being true and the other in error.
- And since we and they are decendents from Adam, isn’t it just as likely that the similarity of stories was handed down from generation to generation in each. And that it is the Jews who retained, through Abraham, the true elements of the history?
- There are Angels in the New Testament too and the Book of Revelation as well. These are facts from the New Testament which are included in Catholic Doctrine, a part of the Church’s Ordinary teaching. So if Angels and " End Times " are included in the New Testament and accepted as part of Divine Revelation by the Church, why should we doubt the veracity of the same things in the Old Testament.
Give her these arguments and see what she says.
This is a debate and question that has been going on for some time because there are strong resemblances between Zoroastrianism and Judaism (and Christianity, for that matter). Is one really borrowed from the other? Do resemblances prove common origins?
One Jewish source has this to say on the matter:
Most scholars, Jewish as well as non-Jewish, are of the opinion that Judaism was strongly influenced by Zoroastrianism in views relating to angelology and demonology, and probably also in the doctrine of the resurrection, as well as in eschatological ideas in general, and also that the monotheistic conception of Yhwh may have been quickened and strengthened by being opposed to the dualism or quasi-monotheism of the Persians. But, on the other hand, the late James Darmesteter advocated exactly the opposite view, maintaining that early Persian thought was strongly influenced by Jewish ideas. He insisted that the Avesta, as we have it, is of late origin and is much tinctured by foreign elements, especially those derived from Judaism, and also those taken from Neoplatonism through the writings of Philo Judæus… At the present time it is impossible to settle the question; the truth lies probably somewhere between the radical extremes, and it is possible that when knowledge of the Assyrian and Babylonian religion is more precise in certain details, additional light may be thrown on the problem of the source of these analogies, and may show the likelihood of a common influence at work upon both the Persian and Jewish cults.–Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906, Zoroastrianism.
Though elements of influence may have occurred between the two, this does not change the fact that Judaism *originated *with Abraham and later Moses, via the theophanies the two experienced and the founding events of the Exodus and the Covenant at Mount Sinai. Similar influences, especially from the Hellenistic and Roman worlds, have also provided facets to Christianity (such as our current theology of the “soul”) which have resulted in elements that did not solely originate from the Church’s Jewish roots.
Well, the Magi who came to visit the birth of Christ with gifts were Zoroastrian priests following prophecies from that faith.
Is there a reason NOT to believe Zoroaster was inspired by God?
The Bible is clear that the garden of Eden was located between the 2 rivers of the Euphrates and the tigris.
The tale of the tower of babel is linked to baby long in name and in similar talesfrom that area.
The story of Noah’s Ark appears to be a reinterpretation of the Gilgamesh epic again from persia.
We are told that abram started at the far end of the fertile credentials and travelled the length of it to the Holy Land.
We repeatedly hear of people who Feared God or who were Men Of God.
As such the Bible is clear that some of the peoples in Persia knew of and feared God -even if they did not know him in the files of Truth.
The title for the creator God of the Cananites and Hittites is El or Elohim this is a name that persists throughout the Hebrew Scriptures as well as derivations of this such as El Shaddai and Emmanuel.
In fact in the post exile period the pronunciation of YHWH became strictly prohibited.
As such there is no hint that the Fathers would have rejected everything that those who sought to worship the One True God would have discovered about Him rathe they built on it and allowed subsequent generations to develop the true theology in response to continued revelation.
If you are so inclined you may wish to read the following article from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1521-angelology
Ok, so this is the conclusion that I have tentatively generated based on reflecting on these responses and praying about it-
It is unclear the extent of Zoroastrianism’s influence on Judaism. Nevertheless, one could reasonably conclude that if Judaism did borrow from Zoroastrianism, one could say that God guided this to happen. Just as he guided Greek philosophy to affect Christianity. God also seems to have a special relationship with Zoroastrianism because It has been recorded that the Zoroastrian priests (magi) were guided by God to visit the messiah they were expecting from their own tradition.
Even if one were to say that Zoroastrianism disproves Christianity, they would have to argue against the resurrection of Christ, which has a very strong historical case. *(Dr. William Lane Craig makes an excellent case. As well does Gary Habermas against Anthony Flew.)
Philosophy and Theology aside, personally, I have found that Catholicism has more recorded supernatural confirmation, more than any other religious tradition. Christianity and Catholicism in general is unparalleled in recorded miracles of enormous magnitude such as Fatima, healings at Lourdes, Guadalupe, the Shroud of Turin, the miracle of Lanciano, and many more. Catholicism is simply unmatched in this area. I know this has nothing to do with the thread. But I this is part of the reason why I don’t see how Zoroastrianism’s potential influence on Judaism could disprove Christianity.
I agree, I feel Zoroastrianism confirms Christ’s message since the followers of Zoroaster came to bear homage to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
God uses human agents to perform His works and to act as His messengers as well as using Angelic ones and sending His Spirit. The priest Melchizedek, for example, to whom Abraham went clearly was a true priest of God but other than that we know nothing about him. The prophet Balaam was inspired by God but was not only not Hebrew but hostile to the Hebrews. The whole Book of Job is centred around non-Jewish characters.
If, then, God had wished to Reveal this or that truth of faith via Persia rather than via prophecy there is no reason to suppose that this validates anything else that the Persians believed. And, in any event, your professor is simply speculating.
For those who may not be as well informed in the history provided in the Old Testament it would serve well to join a parish Bible study group such as Jeff Cavins course for example. it is very enlightening. Beyond all that the proof of the validity of the Judeo-Christian faith is right in front of all of us when it comes to these anti-Christian claims trying to deminish or rebuke Christianity or even Judeaism.
Zoroastrianism and its origin has never been accurately determined but it is more highly confirmed to have came about long after Abraham and several of the old Testament texts were written.
But aside from that, the Prophecies of the Messiah’s life provided over a thousand years were fulfilled by the life, death, and resurrection from the dead of one man who was confirmed to have existed in both through Jewish and Roman cultures not considering Christianity. All of the covenants promised by Christ to His Church have remained faithfully along with His Church long after these other religions have fallen or become stagnant in their nature. Jesus’ prophecies have come true including the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD with many yet to come. Even His warnings that His Church would be attacked both from outside and from within by the corrupt and the many who would lead others astray was warned in scripture but we are to remain faithful and “persevere”, all has occurred as was warned.
On top of all this we have the many miracles that have occurred by the apparitions of the Blessed virgin and her prophetic warnings, many of which have come true when there times came while we wait for the time to arrive for others that were predicted. Then there are the numerous miracles and the Eucharistic miracles where our most modern sciences including DNA have been used to make determinations; for example, one sample taken from a Eucharistic miracle in the seventh century and one from a Eucharistic miracle in 1998 in Buenos Aires. Both determined to be of human male DNA both the same blood type and both consisting of a specific type of human heart tissue. Now we do not have to accept miracles and our faith should not be founded upon them, but it certainly should provide some thought as to a faith that has never stopped providing guidance to its Church as Jesus declared would exist in the Holy Spirit. Nothing in any archeological discovery has ever produced anything but confirmation in our faith. With all of this in mind, I would have to ask, what other relationship has proven itself more valid and truthful than the Judeo-Christian relationship between God and mankind?
Man’s experience with the supernatural is extremely limited. throughout all the cultures in history, many have known some “god” exists and have tried to determine whatever they could learn about him or to come closer to him. Commonalities should not be so surprising but only one faith teaches to love all mankind who is created by only one God and in that one relationship all mankind can learn about Him and the way to come to Him. and if a god was the creator of all things visible and invisible including all mankind, it would certainly make sense that He would want us all to love each other and not to destroy even the harmless of those opposed to us as some religions teach. We can look at what they teach and common sense will fill in the rest for us.