Eskatologiese/apokaliptiese oorlog tussen goed en kwaad in die Zoroastrisme, die Judaismse (Qumran) en 'n vroeg-Christelike geskrif (Die apokalips)

Louw-Kritzinger, Ellie Maria (2008-03)

Thesis (DPhil (Ancient Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2008.


Since time immemorial and throughout the centuries up to the present, the struggle between Good and Evil has played a cardinal role in the “cultural web” of mankind. In the various religions, this dimension of life is linked to the theological issue of human suffering and need in the light of Divine Omnipotence and Grace. Some of the earliest prophets/compilers/authors expressed their own perspectives on this ongoing conflict and burning question. This comparative research stems from a statement by the well-known Iranologist, Mary Boyce. She described the origin of the Christian faith as a new religion that developed out of Judaism, enriched by contact with the old Persian religion, Zoroastrianism. Other researchers also described various aspects of the dualism, eschatology, angelology and demonology, as well as the cosmogony and purity laws, as “obvious” similarities. However, researchers have not yet reached consensus on the possible influence exercised by Zoroastrianism on Judaism and the early Christian writings. The aim of the study is to make a contribution to the ongoing debate from another perspective. Writings from the religions are juxtaposed in full, and analysed and compared according to the war theme and components arising from the writings themselves. A holistic approach offers a more structured starting -point for further research rather to opposing aspects randomly from a large variety of texts. The holistic approach draws attention to similarities as well as differences. Keywords out of each analysis of a component have been placed in a framework to present the summarising comparison more compactly. Historical and literary contexts play an important role in a comparative study. The writings of the three religions originated in four major eras: the Bronze Age/the Sasanian Period, the Hellenistic Era and the Roman Era. The characteristic dualism of Zoroastrianism is limited to the eschatological/apocalyptic war as it is found in the Gathas of Zarathustra. References are also made to the “later” apocalyptic writing, the Bahman Yasht. The most relevant writing in the Judaism (Qumran) is the War Scroll. Richard Bauckham has described Revelations as the “Christian War Scroll”. The analysis of the various aspects shows that core principles in the religions underlie the war themes. Some of the proper names contain defining elements in the determination of dualism and monotheism. Planning and weapons are main components in the strategy of the war - the “revelation” of the modus operandi. The eschatology is caught up in the ultimate end of the war. In the final chapter, the main corresponding elements are placed on a “scale” and “weighed”. Although no further “lexical links” – the weight-bearing criteria of García Martínez – have been found in this study, the amount of corresponding aspects in merely one text per religion is significant. Differences and unique imagery/symbolism put each writing in its own time-slot and framework.

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