Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Zarathustra and Christianity

I was surprised to learn Zarathustra was a real life prophet - I thought he was a fictional character invented by Nietzsche for his 'Thus spoke Zarathustra'.

But no, Zarathustra known to the Greeks as Zoroaster, was an Iranian prophet who lived roughly between 1,500 and 1200 BC.  Zarathustra preached of a single and universal transcendental creator God and of a cosmos torn between light and darkness.  He is mostly known for his influence on Judaism, Christianity and Islam :

Many traditions have seen human life as a war between good and evil, but they have taken for granted that the conflict will go on for ever.
Even so, the belief that good could triumph was a new development in human thought and as far as we can tell it came from Zoroaster.  When Nietzsche declared good and evil are an invention of Zarathustra he may have been exaggerating, but he was not entirely wrong. - John Gray, Black Mass

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