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Read e-book online A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian PDF

By Richard E. Payne

ISBN-10: 0520961536

ISBN-13: 9780520961531

Christian groups flourished in the course of past due antiquity in a Zoroastrian political approach, referred to as the Iranian Empire, that built-in culturally and geographically disparate territories from Arabia to Afghanistan into its associations and networks. while earlier stories have seemed Christians as marginal, insular, and infrequently persecuted members during this empire, Richard Payne demonstrates their integration into elite networks, adoption of Iranian political practices and imaginaries, and participation in imperial associations. the increase of Christianity in Iran relied on the Zoroastrian conception and perform of hierarchical, differentiated inclusion, in keeping with which Christians, Jews, and others occupied valid locations in Iranian political tradition in positions subordinate to the imperial faith. Christians, for his or her half, situated themselves in a political tradition now not in their personal making, with recourse to their very own ideological and institutional assets, starting from the writing of saints’ lives to the judicial arbitration of bishops. In putting the social heritage of East Syrian Christians on the heart of the Iranian imperial tale, A country of mix is helping clarify the persistence of a culturally assorted empire throughout 4 centuries.

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Extra info for A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity (Transformation of the Classical Heritage, Volume 56)

Example text

If anything, the demarcation of secular and spiritual spheres in East Syrian thought caused the leaders of the Church of the East to become more docile servants of empire than the bishops of the Christian Roman Empire. What remains largely unexamined are the social and political changes that the creation of an imperial church provoked in Christian communities and in Iranian society as a whole. Scholarship on East Syrian Christians has considered their communities as discrete, even insular within the empire and autonomous with regard to its social and political relations.

25 The capacity of Iranians for inaction or even wicked action in the service of Ahreman could destabilize the boundaries between the ēr and the anēr (nonIranians). ”26 Juxtaposing non-Iranianness to some of the most monstrous sins underlined how dimly scholars, in comparison with their superiors, viewed anēr, while admitting some overlap in their capacities for ethical practice. Cosmologically efficacious practices were, moreover, available even to non-Iranian agdēn. The same text that recounts Zoroaster’s revelation of religion to the Kayanians also mentions the activities of 30 The Myth of Zoroastrian Intolerance earlier waxšwar, “spirit-bearers,” who brought individual components of religion to humans.

Every component of the material world of necessity participated in the cosmic struggle. But humans played a special, even determinative, role. As fundamentally good creations, they contributed to Ohrmazd’s restorative work by means of their mere existence, like flora and beneficent fauna. The revelation of Zoroastrianism, however, gave humanity a package of rituals and actions through which men and women could not only support the efforts of the good deity but also accelerate the gradual victory of good over evil, tipping the balance in the interim in favor of Ohrmazd even as humans continued to await the frašgird.

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A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity (Transformation of the Classical Heritage, Volume 56) by Richard E. Payne


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