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IV.

CHAP. leave no doubt of their real origin, through whatever channel ideas so analogous, or almost identical, can have been derived. The analogy is not of that kind which may be attributed to a similar derivation of tradition from a common source. It is more precise, and evidently belongs to a period not very remote'.' So long, however, as the history of Zarathustra is involved in the obscurity thrown over it by recent criticism, we are unable to refer the introduction of Semitic thoughts among the Medo-Persians to supposed effects of his communication with the Hebrew exiles. Like uncertainty is felt when we compare some striking texts of the Avesta with the kindred language of the Old Testament; for owing to the numerous gaps in Persian history and the changes which the Persian writings have undergone, there is good reason for suspecting the antiquity of certain passages on which our predecessors had implicitly relied. If, on the other hand, we start from the idea that many of the Persian stories which resemble Hebraism were not the product of remote ages, but obtained their earliest credit in the first three centuries after Christ, the history of the period will be found in many different ways to favour such hypothesis.

Peculiar state of religious feeling in the first three centuries after Christ.

That age was characterised far more than all before it by a spirit of religious syncretism, an thirst for compromise. To mould together thoughts which differed fundamentally, to grasp

eager

1 Prichard, Researches, IV.45, where, however, the so-called 'mythus of the Zendavesta' is taken chiefly from Rhode's uncritical work entitled Die

heilige Sage des Zendvolks (Frank-
furt, 1820).

2 Cf. Part I. pp. 29, 30.

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IV.

if possible the common elements pervading all the CHAP. multifarious religions of the world, was deemed the proper business of philosophy both in East and West. It was a period, one has lately said, 'of mystic incubation, when India and Egypt, Babylonia and Greece, were sitting together and gossiping like crazy old women, chattering with toothless gums and silly brains about the dreams and joys of their youth, yet unable to recall one single thought or feeling with that vigour which once gave it life and truth. It was a period of religious and metaphysical delirium, when everything became everything, when Máyá and Sophia, Mithra and Christ, Viráf and Isaiah, Belus, Zarvan and Kronos were mixed up in one jumbled system of inane speculation, from which at last the East was delivered by the positive doctrines of Mohammed, the West by the pure Christianity of the Teutonic nations'.' Out of this remarkable ferment of the human spirit issued both the Bundehesh and the Minokhired, which though strongly Persian in their tone, are also strongly tinctured by Semitic and Hebraic notions. For Jews on Influence the destruction of the holy city planted some of their chief schools in Babylonia, and even were at times promoted to high places in the Persian court; in learned centres, like Edessa, were discussed the various tenets of all known religions, Christianity in the number; and the Gnostic Bar- of Chrisdesanes, writing from that city in the time of Marcus Aurelius, draws attention to the early

1 M. Müller's Last Results of the Persian Researches,' as before, p. 119: although I cannot acquiesce

entirely in some of the expressions.

2 Spiegel, Avesta, I. 17, 25.

in Persia

of Jews,

tians,

CHAP.

IV.

and of early heretics.

Were the Hebrews

guilty of

corrupting their old

progress of the Gospel', not in Parthia and in Media only, but in Persia Proper and in Bactria. Passing by the other traces which the new religion left behind it in those far-off regions, we may notice as of vast importance the long-thriving sect of Manichæans, who accepted Christianity as the groundwork of their composite belief: while stress may equally be laid upon the fact that one favourite writing of the later 'Zoroastrians' is only a Parsee adaptation of the apocryphal or quasi-Christian work entitled the Ascension of Isaiah; where the prophet, on recovering from his rapture, narrates a journey to the 'seventh heaven,' in which his eyes were gladdened by the vision of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, and beheld inscribed upon a roll the wondrous story of the birth and passion of the Saviour.

(3) In exact proportion to the strength of the hypothesis just mentioned is the weakness of a third account which has been rendered of resemreligion? blances between the Persian and the Biblical traditions. Assuming even that the captive tribes were brought into familiar intercourse with the Ormazd-religion; assuming also that the Hebrew people as a body, still unweaned from old corruptions, had come back to Sion lusting after 'their fathers' idols;' in other words, assuming two positions which both militate against a long array of

1 Euseb. Præpar. Evangel. VI. IO (Vol. II. pp. 92, 93, ed. Gaisford): cf. Neander, Ch. Hist. I. 111.

2 See the comparison between the two works (the Arda-viráf-náme and the 'Αναβατικὸν Ησαίου) in Spiegel, as before, pp. 21 sq. His closing remark is: Die Verwandtschaft der

beiden Bücher wird wol Niemand ableugen, doch scheint die christliche Gestaltung die ältere zu sein. Die Lehre von sieben Himmeln ist nicht parsisch, die spätere Parsenlehre kennt blos drei, über ihnen ist der Gorothmán, die Wohnung Ahuramazdas.'

IV.

well-authenticated facts; we notwithstanding offer CHAP. violence to all the probabilities of the question by supposing that Hebrew doctors, such as Daniel or Ezekiel, in whose eyes the exile was itself a penalty provoked by heathenish tendencies, should slide away into the superstitions either of their patrons or their taskmasters. The sentiment possessing them had always been: 'How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning;' and notable instances may be adduced where men of constancy like theirs could brave the fiercest rage of Babylon, the lions' den, the blazing furnace, rather than renounce their sacred nationality or 'worship any other god.'

sions to be

But with the view of justifying this main infer- Conclu ence more completely, I propose to shew, by strict established. examination of particulars, that where a truly old relationship exists between the Hebrew and Persian systems, it is naturally explained on the hypothesis of aboriginal unity; and that in other cases there is either no true parallelism at all, or else that points of doctrine said to be imported by the later class of sacred writers, had been actually current in the Hebrew Church for centuries anterior to the Babylonish exile.

§ 1. The Fall of Man.

tive Bull.

According to the 'Persian Genesis' (the Bun- The primi dehesh), the earliest representative of animal creation' was the primitive Bull (Goshurun), from

1 The different passages of the Bundehesh relating to this point are brought together in Rhode, Die hei

C. A. E. IV.

lige Sage, etc. pp. 383 sq.: cf. Döl-
linger, p. 367. It is also worthy of
remark, that in the Persian story the
13

IV.

CHAP. whose right shoulder, as he fell beneath the stroke of the malignant Ahriman, proceeded Kaiomorts, the first of human beings. This grand prototype of men, including in himself the properties of both the sexes, was in turn assaulted by the Evil One and finally destroyed by machinations of the devs; Meshia and but from the vital force inherent in him there Meshiane; sprang up a plant which yielded as its fruit the true progenitors of the human family (Meshia and Meshiane'), or at least became the author of their bodily framework; for the soul itself was held to draw its origin directly from nothing short of heaEndowed with noble qualities, man was bidden to approve himself the lord of this lower world, their tempt by cultivating 'purity' in thought, in word, in

ation;

ven.

action, and by keeping up a constant warfare with his enemies the devs. At first the parents of mankind were humble, and, devoted to the service of Ormazd, were innocent and happy; they were destined also to enjoy more perfect happiness; but Ahriman, the sleepless enemy of man and 'purity,' descending earthwards in the fashion of a serpent,

account of man's fall is intimately
connected with the cosmogonic theory
which pervaded most other coun-
tries of the ancient world both Old
and New (see Part III. pp. 160, 161).
In Persia (at least according to one
version of the matter) we have first
a cycle of 3000 years, when Ormazd
is absolute (cf. however, above, p.
176); then, a cycle of the same pe-
riod, when Ahriman commences his
attack upon the light-kingdom, but,
abashed by the exceeding purity
of the fervers of holy men (above,
p. 172, n. 3), falls back into the
dark abyss, and lies quiescent during

3000 years. At the expiration of this time, Ahriman becomes more bold and active; and in the fourth period of 3000 years, completing the 'magnus annus' of the later Persians, Ahriman is, on the whole, ascendant and predominant.

· 1 With these names compare the Sansk. mánusha, the Germ. mensch, and the mannus of Tacitus, German. c. 2 ("Tuisconem deum, terra editum, et filium Mannum'). On the Egyptian Menes, and other similar forms, see above, p. 17, n. 2, and Diefenbach, Vergl. Wörterbuch der goth. Spr. II. 32, 33, Frankfurt, 1851.

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