The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Late-stage Mazdaeism against Christianity

I'm still chasing down Michael Jackson Bonner's links. So today I ran across this, from Armenian saint Eliseus. I also find translations in Armenian Church Facebook which look like adaptations of that. I have no Armenian so have to choose something. Since Facebook is where I started, I am copying and pasting (mostly) that:

MIHRNERSEH, Grand Vizier of Iran and Daniran, to the Armenian Nobles: Manifold Greetings.

Be it known to you, of every man who dwells beneath the heavens and holds not the Mazdean dên: he is deaf and blind and is deceived by the devils of Ahriman. Because the heavens and the earth were not yet in existence when the great God Zruan made offerings for a thousand years and said: “Perhaps, I will have a son by the name of Auramazda, who will create heaven and earth.” And he conceived two in his abdomen: one for the offerings he had made, and the other because he said ‘perhaps.’ When he perceived that there were two in his abdomen, he said: ‘Which ever shall come first, to him I will give my sovereignty.’ But he who had been conceived in doubt, ruptured the abdomen and come out. To him Zruan said: ‘Who are you?’ The other answered: ‘I am your son Auramazda.’ Zruan said to him: ‘My son is radiant and fragrant, you are dark and of evil disposition.’ And when the son cried bitterly, the king gave him sovereignty for a thousand years.

When the other son was born to him, he called him Auramazda. He then took the empire from Ahriman and give it to Auramazda and said to him ‘Till now I made offerings to you; do the same to me now.’ And Auramazda made heaven and earth, but Ahriman worked evil against him. And the creatures were thus divided: The Aura-angels are of Auramazda, the daeva-devils of Ahriman; all good in heaven and here below are from Auramazda, and all evils on earth and in heaven are created by Ahriman. And so, Auramazda has made whatever is good on earth, and Ahriman has made whatever is evil. Similarly Auramazda created man and Ahriman made diseases, illnesses and deaths. All the misfortunes and mournful events at well as lamentable wars are the work of the evil god. Fortunes, sovereignties, glory, honor, physical health, beauty of countenance, eloquence of words, and longevity of years have their existence from the good god; and anything that is not of this category has been corrupted by the evil god.

And all men who say that God made death and evil and good have their existence from him are in error. The Christians err especially, when they say that God is jealous; that because man had eaten fig from a particular tree, He made death and subjected man to the penalty of death. Such jealousy is not possessed by man against man, much less by God against human beings. Whoever says this is death and blind and has been deceived by the devils of Ahriman.

Again they fall into anther error when they say that God, who created heaven and earth, came to earth was born of a woman whose name was Mary, and whose spouse was called Joseph. The truth is, however, that he was the son of a man named Panturah, though illicit relations. Many people have followed this man erroneously.

Just because in their extreme madness the Romans had erred, and to the injury of their souls had deprived themselves of our perfect faith, why do you follow their aberration? You should, on the contrary, accept whatever faith your master holds- especially since we have to render an account of you to God.

Do not believe your leaders, whom you call Nazarenes, for they are very deceitful. They do not practice in deeds what they preach in words. ‘To eat flesh is no sin,’ they say, but they themselves eat none; ‘It is becoming to take a wife,’ they say, but they themselves will never look at a woman. ‘It is very sinful to accumulate wealth,’ they say, but they praise poverty much more. They respect misery and denounce success. They love plainness of apparel and respect the dishonorable more than the honorable. They praise death and scoff at life. They scorn the birth of man and eulogize sterility. Were you to listen to them and not approach your women, the end of your country would shortly follow.

But I do not want to mention all the details in writing, because the things they say are many. Their preaching, that God was crucified by men, that He died, and that He was buried, and then He rose again and ascended to heaven, is worse than all we mentioned above. Should it not have been worthy of you properly to appraise such unworthy teachings? Even the devils, who are evil, cannot be caught and tortured by men, let alone God, Who is the Creator of all beings. It is shameful for you to say things which are utterly incredible to us.

Now, there are two ways open for you: either you answer this letter word for word or you repair to the Court and present yourselves at the great assembly.

I have corrected some of the spelling errors (my basis looks like a bad OCR) and have restored such Mazdaean terminology as I hope my readers can follow, like dên. I have also reverted Vormazt to *Auramazda, and of course Ahrmen to Ahriman (but not as far as "Angra Mainyu").

I am bumping what this reveals about Zoroastrianism. For its main object, Christianity, it is that whole faith itself at stake here, dîn and imân both, not just comments on "whether God the Father died on the cross" as was being disputed between the Monotheletes and the Nestorians. The Christians' asceticism is attacked, as is the tendency for their priests to be more ascetic than their flock. Priests in Christianity do not, of course, forsake meat but some of the monks have been known to do so.

UPDATE 1/29/2017: splitting off its comments about its own standpoint.


posted by Zimri on 13:25 | link | 0 comments

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