Also it was a monotheistic religion at a time when most people were polytheistic.
Yeah, I did not mention that specifically because I know the point is argued. However, I do lean towards the opinion that Zoroastrianism influenced the exile’s shift from Israelite henotheism to Jewish strict monotheism.
So, our strict monotheism was a reaction to Zoroastrianism’s dualism?
Reaction, influence, who knows? I’d probably be more inclined towards the theory that our concept of the devil may have been influenced by Zoroastrianism’s influence on Judaism.
As I said, I’m less convinced that Zoroastrianism was purely monotheistic.
At core, Zoroastrianism was dualistic.
I think we have to consider the Ancient Middle East as a kind of divine supermarket with all sorts of religious ideas colliding and influencing each other.
Simple version: A bunch of shepherd tribes sharing many of the stories and beliefs of the peoples around them fall under the influence of the Egyptians and acquire lots and lots of rules, an organised priesthood and military prowess - though, since there aren’t a lot of them, they’re always going to be prey to Great Power politics.
Eventually, the Zoroastrians convince them that you don’t just fade away after you die and the Divine doesn’t lose interest just because geography means you can’t follow all the rules.
What they don’t pick up, at a theological level, is the idea of that there could be a ‘God of Evil’ almost as powerful as the ‘God of Good’, ie God.
That was their legacy to Christianity.
It’s possible. Zoroastrianism may be the influence for our concept of the devil, and evil spirit who acts in opposition to God.
The Exilic Jews would likely not have accepted the notion of two gods set against each other, given their monolatric history. The likely natural progression for them would have been to deny the existence of all other gods, while developing their Yahwistic notion of the satan (a member of the heavenly court; hostile, but not necessarily evil) into that of Satan as a created evil spirit with power over man (we can see a reference to this in 1st Chronicles 21:1, which goes back to early Second Temple Judaism.
I wouldn’t ascribe too much importance to Chronicles. Like everything other than Torah, it’s ‘commentary’, in this case religious reflections in the Writings section. Satan has remained an official rather than a demigod.
You’re right, two gods would have been anathema.
I only refer to it solely as a demonstration of possible post-exilic thought, not to prooftext anything.
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