Zoroastrianism and the Bible: Monotheism by Coincidence?
Article first published online: 3 APR 2011
© 2011 The Author. Religion Compass © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 5, Issue 4, pages 104–113, April 2011
How to Cite
Gerstenberger, E. S. (2011), Zoroastrianism and the Bible: Monotheism by Coincidence?. Religion Compass, 5: 104–113. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-8171.2011.00266.x
- Issue published online: 3 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 3 APR 2011
No book since the beginning of human writing systems has been of greater influence on religion and culture in the ‘Western’ Hemisphere than the Bible. Many believers have taken it to be the ultimate revelation and unchangeable truth for all times and peoples. Especially its creedal centre, monotheism, i.e. faith in one inclusive and exclusive deity was hailed as the pivotal, unsurpassable human cognition. Unfortunately, there are no absolutes within reach of human understanding. Finitum non capax infiniti. Biblical scholarship long has recognized that everything we perceive in this world is conditioned by time and space. Expressions of faith are no exception from this rule. Therefore, acknowledgment of historical and cultural ‘contextuality’ is necessary, including the fact, that Israel’s monotheistic religion was not borne in the epoch of Moses, but only much later inside the political, economic and spiritual framework of the Persian Empire (539–331 bc). If there is some truth to this assumption, scholarly zeal should be directed towards a clarification of the intimacies of religious interaction in this period. A prominent question would be: What really were the common patterns of contemporary thinking and believing, in which both Zoroastrian and Yahwistic faith participated?