Nearly 1400 years ago, a group of nomads from across the scorching Arabian Desert conquered Iran (Persia), the greatest empire known to the history of man. With that, they almost destroyed one of the most benevolent and beautiful religions of all humanity, Zoroastrianism, often called the mother of all revealed religions. Due to its antiquity and subsequent influences on later Judaic beliefs, Judaism as we know it has endearingly been dubbed by some scholars as “Moses through Zoroastrian eyes”. It is no coincidence that the Old Testament was put into written form during the height of Persian predominance, when Zoroastrian ideas, such as the triumph of Good over Evil, and concepts related to an after-life, such as Heaven, Hell, Resurrection, and Paradise (itself a Persian word) found their way into ancient Judaism, especially in the post-exilic period.
According to Stephen Van Eck, the influence of the prophet Zarathushtra (or Zoroaster in English) upon Judeo-Christian beliefs and all of Western Civilization is little told, but should not be underestimated. Zoroaster’s life and words changed the course of Western Civilization, as attested by prolific Greek writers and philosophers, setting it on a course that departed from the static cultures of the ancient Middle East. Without his impact, Judaism would be hard to recognize, and Christianity would probably never have gained momentum to become a world religion.
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