Continuing the discussion on Judaism and Zoroastrianism

I’m aware that a discussion has been had on the influence of Zoroastrianism on Early Judaism. I’ve been reading the Gathas recently, the earliest texts of the Zoroastrian religion, probably composed by Zoroaster himself (possibly dating to around 1000BC, and I have to say, that it’s a poor match for biblical monotheism, perhaps due to verses such as this:

“we worship the Cow’s Soul and her Maker; and our own souls, and those of the livestock that seek our favour… and the souls of the wild creatures that are harmless we worship. And the souls of the followers of Right we worship…”

This doesn’t exactly sound like monotheism to me, alongside other early Yasnas.

Jon Levenson also points out that the earliest unambiguous reference to resurrection of the dead in Judaism, that of Daniel 12, doesn’t match the expectation as found in Zoroastrianism, and in fact has much better parallels in earlier Canaanite stories. Most importantly, it mentions the dead awakening from the dust of the earth, which contrasts with Zoroastrians, who didn’t bury their dead. So the idea of resurrection was probably indigenous to Israel.

None of this is to suggest that Zoroastrianism and Judaism had no interaction in antiquity, but I doubt that it ‘alone’ could have been the source for belief in monotheism or resurrection. @Sealkin @gbrooks9

As i said before in one post. The chirch here which i somewhat agree teaches divine guidance or inspiration over the pagans. Meaning that God revealed a part of his law or character to better their understanding about him or about how be a better person. But zoroastrianism influenced the belief in the ressurection.? Doubftully in my opinion.


The degree to which there was influence depends on which Jewish sub-group you are looking at.

The Sadduccees rejected angels AND an afterlife.

The Pharisees were huge on staying away from impurities, but they believed in death-as-sleep and a bodily resurrection.

The Essenes were the closest to Persian influence:

  1. they dug and used toilet holes so as not to “offend to offend the Sun” - - which is a particularly Persian practice.

  2. they believed in transmigration of the soul (after 3 days) to Paradise, which was a Persian belief.

  3. they were HUGE on staying clean and pure.

Of my opinion my view is that Zoroastrianism influenced Judaism in terms of some eschatological themes and demonology/dualism of goods vs. evil. Although I do believe that the interaction further solidified the doctrine of monotheism and did away with the henotheistic elements within its early YWHWist form. Of course it wasn’t just the interaction between Judaism and Zoroastrianism but also the traumatic event of the Exile as well that had such a radical change of thinking for the Hebrews.


I like that conclusion!!!

@Sealkin and @Reggie_O_Donoghue

I should also mention that the Persian regime opposed figures and statues depicting the great God of good… until about 400 BCE. This is when statuary started to be encouraged by the Persian rulers.

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