1st degree (Bachelor)
islamic & middle east stud.
Dr. Michael Shenkar
Coordinator Office Hours:
Dr. Shenkar Michael
The course is an introduction to the history of Zoroastrianism – one of the most significant religious traditions in Antiquity, from its origins until its decline as the principal religion in Sasanian Iran following the Arab conquest. On the basis of the Zoroastrian literature, the historical sources and the material culture, we shall discuss the central concepts in Zoroastrianism and its place in the context of other ancient Iranian religions.
To introduce the principal events in the history of Zoroastrianism and the basic notions of Iranian religious tradition from its origin until the Islamic conquest.
Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
The students will acquire basic understanding of the development of Zoroastrianism, the problematic of the Iranian written sources and of the fundamental notions of Iranian cult in the pre-Islamic period.
Teaching arrangement and method of instruction:
Lecturer's exposition of the subject followed by a discussion.
1) Zoroastrianism and the "Iranian Religions".
2) In the Beginning: Indo-Iranians and their gods.
3) When and where spoke Zarathustra?
4) Zoroastrian written sources: The Avesta and the Middle Persian Literature.
5) Basic concepts of Zoroastrianism.
6) The "Religion of the Achaemenians".
7) The Zoroastrian Rituals.
8) "Alexander the accursed": continuity and rupture in the Hellenistic period.
9) Iranian religions under the Arsacids.
10) Zoroastrianism in the Sasanian period.
11) The Zoroastrian cosmogony and eschatology.
12) The religion of the Kushans and their successors in Bactria.
13) The "Zoroastrianism" of the Sogdians.
14) "The Eternal Flame": the survival of Zoroastrianism after the Islamic conquest of Iran.
The basic course books are:
Boyce, M. (1979), Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, London.
Rose, J. (2011), Zoroastrianism: An Introduction, London.
Skjærvø, P.O. (2012), The Spirit of Zoroastrianism, New Heaven and London.
For additional reading, see Moodle site.
Additional Reading Material:
End of year written/oral examination 90 %
Presentation 0 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 0 %
Assignments 0 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 10 %
Other 0 %