[Name Redacted]'s Reviews > Zoroastrianism: A Guide for the Perplexed

Zoroastrianism by Jenny  Rose
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's review
Apr 24, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: summer2012class, religion, history, academia, languages, philosophy
Read from May 14 to June 21, 2012


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Reading Progress

06/11/2012 page 5
06/12/2012 page 34
15.0% "Professor Rose is a wonderful scholar, but she loses me by asserting (in her discussion of the amesha spentas) that "fireshte" and "angel" both mean "one who is sent". Her Greek must be rusty, as it is "apostle" that means "one who is sent"; "angel" is from the Greek for "news-bringer" or "messenger" like the Hebrew "mal'akh"."
06/19/2012 page 146
65.0% "This is an excellent supplement for ongoing studies of Zoroastrianism, but is a terrible introduction to the material. I've been studying the religion off-and-on for over a decade, and I still found myself turning to other books and even Wikipedia to fill in numerous significant blanks. I regret assigning this book rather than Rose's "Introduction", and have to wonder why she recommended this as best for undergrads."
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message 1: by Chris (new)

Chris Kelly This seems like an excellent class! Ancient Religions of the Near East or something close to that, I assume?

I'm wondering if you could recommend a good introductory book on Zoroastrianism. I've studied Iranian religion for the past few years (mainly as it related to the development of Shi'ism in Iran and the transformation of the faith into a modern revolutionary movement) but I remain sadly ignorant of the ancient Iranian religion. I had an opportunity several years ago to visit a fire temple in the city of Yazd. Unfortunately, the caretaker was home taking a nap and I didn't get to go inside.

[Name Redacted] It's actually "Near Eastern Religions" which means I have to summarize Zoroastrianism and each of the Abrahamic religions in four two-hour sessions each week over the course of four weeks. It's not enough time! But I'll do my best...

As for introductory books, well, I recommend Stausberg's Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism: A Short Introduction and Rose's Zoroastrianism: An Introduction. The former is a short book, so it can't got into much detail, but it does a good job of covering the basics; the latter is two-to-three times longer but is also a fuller, richer introduction. It really depends on how much time you have to read!

And depending on which temple you went to, it's entirely possible that you wouldn't have gotten to see the fire anyway. Different temples are built differently, and some are constructed with the intent of keeping the more sacred parts from the prying eyes of outsiders. Understandable given their A) concerns about purity, B) long history of persecution under the rule of Islam.

message 3: by Chris (new)

Chris Kelly Thanks, Ian; I'll check those out. Good luck with the challenge of sorting out where to be concise and where to go more in depth into the vast body of material you've been tasked at presenting.

[Name Redacted] I'll need to re-do this review. I sound way too critical, and I nitpick too much, especially given that I gave it four stars. However, I stand by recommending Rose's Zoroastrianism: An Introduction as a better introduction to those who've never studied Zoroastrianism before. That book is a better crash-course; this "Guide to the Perplexed" is better for those who already know a little.

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