The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Mazdaq and Mazdaqism

I've been reading, and reviewing, Abdolhossein Zarinkoob's book - 1957 edition - which Avid Kamgar has translated as Two Centuries of Silence. I am learning a lot from it.

Relevant to my interests these days, the book claims Mani and Mazdaq as "reformers". I don't think Zarinkoob has come to grips with either character. In his defence... neither did the Zoroastrians and Muslims. All Zarinkoob has to do for Mazdaq is to explain how eighth-century Iranians remembered him. Given that, all those movements, like Abu Muslim's, which claimed Mazdaq as one of them, tend to agree on "Mazdaqism". Which was wife-swapping, pacifism, and communism.

Michael Jackson Bonner believes that none of this had much to do with Mazdaq in life, when he was advising shah Kobad. This was instead the worst anarchist-caricature Khusro Anushirwan's court could cook up about him. After the slander entered the Sasanian canon, it trickled into the Iranian folk-hero tradition. These hinterland bumpkins retold the stories, under Arab / Muslim tyranny, and eventually they gave up and said to each other - hey, all this is AWESOME!!

Mazdaq himself would certainly have been shocked if he had seen what his "followers" made of his teachings.


posted by Zimri on 17:36 | link | 0 comments

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