Thank you for your civil answer, I hope I can return this constructive attitude in equal measure.
I actually believe that I share Zarathushtra's AMBITIONS with the words he uttered.
Otherwise I would not refer to myself as a Zoroastrian, it would be pointless.
Many many more people who have studied The Gathas intensely have come to the same conclusions (also bor Parsi and Irani Zoroastrians) and share my beliefs and my interpretation of the spirit of Zarathushtra.
I also realise that you and I read the texts differently and I believe this is a difference of degree but not of substance. So in this respect we should be able to agree to disagree and share an even richer religion for it.
So I agree we can not bend a text like The Gathas in any way we like. But rather than read a text literally that is meant to be read poetically, I'm interested in the SPIRIT of Zarathushtra rather than the literal understanding of the words of Zarathushtra. Making the words of The Gathas come alive is what concerns me the most. It is more difficult and perhaps diversifying than a literal reading but I believe it is better and it is also what Zarathushtra would himself have wanted us to do had he been around with us today.
I'm glad we agree Zarathushtra was not a St Paul or a Muhammed - he was way smarter than that! And also admittedly more human.
- Dölj citerad text -
Thank you for being kind and civil and putting up with dissent. Now getting to your post. Yes I agree and, in fact, it is a given, if we study the Gathas, that any authority whether a text, a person, an institution, a tradition , et al; cannot be followed blindly. We are to think things through.
By the same token, however, we should not even know this about Z and his teaching if we did not follow the text from a philological POV.
If we allegorize everything (and particularly considering that our culture and thus our allegorical motifs and understandings, are different than Z's) we can make any text say anything we like.
Fortunately a balance can be striked between literalness and allegorism. That balance is achieved by applying sound and well tested Hermenutical principles to the text.
But the thing is that. in several instances, you are simply flying by the seat of your pants and are ignoring what the text says. That is OK but, again , isn't the first step in even evolving a different picture of Gathic and thus Z teaching, to understand the original as close as possible?
That is all I am saying. If you have sound philological reasons to think Z taught as you believe then bully for you! However I must confess that I do not see any; nor see you giving any credible, supported evidence from the spoutce of the tyeaching I.E. the Gathas themselves..
At the same time this is not to deny the validity of your ideas (although valid does not necessarilly mean true) because while I disagree with your conclusions I grant that they are consisting and not self-contradictory, at least not, that we know of. This in and of itself makes them valid.
But are they Zarathushtrian? That is another question I would say the consensus of the scholars would disagree with your belief that they are and so do I.
But you are still going to go ahead and keep at it , which is certainly your right I would keep on disagreeing and the Knower will eventually let us know. Other than this essential disagreement I would not even bat an eye at most of your positions.
So keep at it and do not mind me terribly much , think of me as a voice crying in the wilderness if you must, but I will some times make my statements concerning what I believe is true and right.
- Original Message ----- From: Alexander Bard
Cc: Zoroastrians ; Zoroastrian Friends
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 5:17 AM
Subject: [zoroastrians] The spirit of Zarathushtra
You know that I have the greatest respect both for you and Ali Jafarey.
I never considered you as Abrahamic. You left Christianity and Islam respectively for Zoroastrianism precisely because you had no interest in blind beliefs.
But I do believe that your positioning of the Gathic text is an Abrahamic approach to The Holy Text. Consequently, the two of you represent a more Abrahamic interpretation of the Zoroastrian faith as a whole. Just like I assume Parviz Varjavand and I represent a more Brahmanistic interpretation of the Zoroastrian faith (without this making us Brahmanists, we are indeed Mazdayasni too).
Using our own wise minds is central to the Zoroastrian faith. I hope you agree with me that this is more important than the literal and blind following of any old text or tradition or ritual, whether it is The Gathas or The Avesta or something else.
As Zoroastrians, we follow Zarathushtra in spirit and share his enthusiasm and ambition towards existence. That is what it means to be a Mazdayasni. We can then agree to disagree about the details.