From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes"
Subject: Re: (urth) latro and ares Date: Thu, 08 May 2003 14:12:43 -0700 >"Zarathustra began his prophetic mission about the middle of the sixth >century...." Olmstead, HIstory of Persian Empire, p. 94. I.e., ca. 550BC. I >think this is pretty much the consensus these days. Not, at any rate, among Zoroastrians. H'mmm. A bit more research is called for here. Okay, here's one answer, from avesta.org: >According to Bruce Lincoln, >"At present, the majority opinion among scholars probably inclines toward >the end of the second millennium or the beginning of the first, although >there are still those who hold for a date in the seventh century." (Death, >War, and Sacrifice, 1991, pg 150) > >Humbach and Ichaporia seem to favor the Xanthos date of 1080 BC but mention >the 630 date also. (Heritage, 1994, pg 11). > >A commonly given date is the seventh century B.C.E. I think Boyce has >convincingly shown the seventh century date to be an error. Humbach also >discounts the basis of this calculation in his Gathas 1991 (pg 30). Boyce >has wavered on an actual date: between 1400 and 1000 BC (1975), between >1700 and 1500 (1979), around 1400 BC (1988), between 1500 BC & 1200 BC >"with the latter more likely" (1992). From w-z-o.org: >THE founder of Zoroastrianism, Zarathushtra, or Zoroaster as >the Greeks rendered the name, cannot be ascribed any >precise date and dating is a hotly contested issue. Academic >opinion, which bases its case on linguistic analysis of the oldest >texts, suggests a date roughly around 1500 BCE. Other >suggestions, based on Greek sources, arrive at dates as far >apart as 6000 BCE and the sixth century BCE. More detail from pyrecantha.com: >No one knows where or when the Prophet was born. Some legends place his >birth in western Iran, perhaps near Tehran; others, which are somewhat more >likely due to the eastern Iranian language of his poetry, place his >birthplace in the east. As for the date of his birth, it has been since >ancient times a matter of controversy. Greek sources placed him as early as >6000 B.C., a reckoning derived from poorly transmitted Zoroastrian legends; >few if any scholars take that date seriously. The traditional Zoroastrian >date for Zarathushtra's birth and ministry is around 600 B.C. This is >derived from a Greek source that places him "300 years before Alexander" >which would give that date; other rationales for the 600 BC date identify >the King Vishtaspa of Zarathushtra's Gathas with the father of the Persian >King Darius, who lived around that time. > >As the linguists of both Europe and India worked on the Gathas, however, it >became clear that the language of the Gathas attributed to Zarathushtra was >far older than the language spoken in Iran at the time of King Darius' >father. Gathic Avestan was very close to the Sanskrit of the Indian >Rig-Vedas, which can be dated from the period 1500-1200 BC. This would mean >that Zarathushtra lived far earlier than the "traditional" date. Some >scholars have said that the 600 BC date is still plausible if Gathic >Avestan was actually an artificially preserved sacred language, somewhat >like Latin, which continued in literature and rituals thousands of years >after it had ceased to be spoken. > >Recent work by Martin Schwartz and Almut Hintze tends to discount this >theory, as the linguists show that the Gathas are not the work of an >academic writing in a dead language; they show all the signs of poetry >composed and recited in an oral tradition, similar to the heroic poetry of >Homer or the Rig-Vedas. These studies would confirm the earlier date for >Zarathushtra. > >The problem of Zarathushtra's time will never be solved, unless some >improbable archaeological find turns up. Most scholars agree on a >time-frame for Zarathushtra which could be as early as 1700 B.C. or as late >as 1000 B.C. _________________________________________________________________ Tired of spam? Get advanced junk mail protection with MSN 8. http://join.msn.com/?page=features/junkmail --