The Religions of Mankind

By Edmund Davison Soper | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
THE RELIGION OF ZOROASTER

THE INDO-EUROPEANS AND THEIR RELIGION

IN the study of the religion of Zoroaster we make the transition from the religions which have passed away and ceased to be to the living religions of mankind. The worshipers of Ahura Mazda in India and Persia today, small in number though they be, are the descendants of those to whom the prophet Zoroaster came. They are proud of their history and unbroken tradition. The Parsis (a name derived from "Persia") in India are an exclusive community of about a hundred thousand souls, who have in recent decades prospered greatly and have become the best-educated and most progressive community in the whole land. So, because of their long and honorable history and their present position of prominence in the land of their adoption, it is altogether fitting that we should seek to understand the religion which has bound them together so closely. Bristling with difficulties though the investigation may be, the student finds himself lured on as each step reveals, particularly in the earlier development, glimpses of a faith with such a lofty conception of the Divine Being and such uncompromising insistence on morality that he realizes he is dealing with one of the highest religions to be found among men. But before taking it up directly it is necessary to place it in its proper setting as one of the religions of the Indo-European peoples.

At a period at least two or three thousand years before Christ there roamed on the grassy plateaus and steppes of Central or Eastern Europe or even Western Asia--we really do not know where--tribes of nomadic peoples seeking pasturage for their flocks and herds. They were white men, speaking a common language, with vivid imagination and boundless energy. For some reason--it may have been the natural increase of population which tended to overcrowd the regions already occupied

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The Religions of Mankind
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface to Revised Edition 11
  • Preface to First Edition 13
  • Chapter I - The Study of Religion 15
  • Chapter II - The Origin and Growth of Religion 35
  • Chapter III - Animistic Religion 55
  • Chapter IV - Egypt and Mesopotamia 91
  • Chapter V - Greece and Rome 117
  • Chapter VI - The Religion of Zoroaster 145
  • Chapter VII - Hinduism 163
  • Chapter VIII - Buddhism 192
  • Chapter IX - The Religion of the Chinese 224
  • Chapter X - The Religions of Japan 246
  • Chapter XI - Judaism 267
  • Chapter XII Mohammedanism 286
  • Chapter XIII - Christianity 318
  • Index 351
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