In my school textbook, it says Jews adopted specific teachings of Zoroastrianism, which found its way to Christianity. Its examples include that of an omnipotent God, evil works against God, the idea humans should be holy, and judgement. It also says that Christianity, Judaism and Islam are “derived ultimately from the faith of Zarathustra and his followers”. Is this true? If true, would it not mean that Christianity took from other religions?
That claim requires some interpolation and interpretation on the part of the people making it. The Bible is clear that (A) the religion revealed to the Israelites by Moses and what they should have been practicing was monotheistic with God over all, and (B) that in practice throughout history from the Golden Calf incident through the 7th century BC that the people of the twelve tribes of Israel frequently worshipped other gods alongside God. The theological understanding of the Babylonian Exile is that it was punishment for their idolatry, and if the Exile helped to purify the faith and the Zoroastrian climate helped that purification, that’s fine. In broad strokes, the notion that the Israelites and Judahites practiced paganism (contrary to what they should have been doing) and came away from Babylon as practicing monotheists is in line with our faith.
Christians also understand that, while we have the fullness of truth, other religions may still have some truths in them.
The ancient Israelites were in constant contact with neighboring peoples in the Middle East, and the borrowings from one culture to another would naturally have included certain ideas about religious worship. However, the claim that Judaism and Christianity are “derived” from the Zoroastrian religion looks like a considerable overstatement, to put it mildly. What book is that?
Since Zoroaster died around 550 BC, several centuries after Solomon built the Temple, the claim seems a bit exaggerated.
Here’s an article by Catholic Answers: https://www.catholic.com/qa/did-zoroastrianism-influence-jewish-and-christian-belief
I believe the time frame Zoroaster existed is extremely varied, between 600BC and 2000BC. But let says theoretically he was born in 2000BC, what would that mean?
Why wouldnt the borrowing of teachings of other cultures not discredit the authenticity of the Ancient Israelites teachings? The book is a history textbook used by my school.
Why would it do that?
Generally, if more than one expert agrees on something, that makes the claim more credible, not less.
How did the Ancient Israelites discern which teachings were true? (Outside of prophets)
Interestingly, I believe Abraham came from southern Iraq region. So perhaps that Abraham and Zoroaster both came from the same general region and background but that God’s favor and covenant was given to Abraham. If we give Zoroaster that much credit.
There were borrowings in all directions. There always are.
I’ve heard others say “Zoroastrianism was the first monotheistic religion and Abraham was influenced by it.” Is this true?
So does “borrowing” teachings not discredit the truth of it?
The Ancient Israelites were sent prophets and revelations to help them discern the truth.
What sort of scholarly evidence do they cite when making this claim?
There’s no point in pondering someone’s unsourced opinion.
Edited to add, I see also that MarkRome already posted you a good Catholic Answers link on the subject.
Abraham existed about 2,000 BC. That’s the extreme oldest estimate for when Zoroaster lived. Most estimates are sooner.
Even if Zoroaster lived at the oldest possible estimate, and Abraham was influenced by his teachings, that really wouldn’t change anything about our faith. It’s not like Abraham appeared in a vacuum. God chose Abraham and worked through him. God took what was there and made something of it through Abraham. God plucked, in a sense, Abraham from an existing religious background and made personal covenants with him.
We’re not fundamentalists who think every other religion is one hundred percent in error.
No, I don’t see why it should. Possibly in one or two specific cases, but not as a general rule.
I read the article before. The article talks about why the Jews weren’t influenced in regards to the teachings during Babylonian Capitivity. However, how do we know the Jews weren’t influenced by the Zoroastrians before that?
Wesrock provided a good answer to your query already.