June 16, 2011
**Compare and contrast the early Hebrew religion to Zoroastrianism.
The early Hebrew religion and Zoroastrianism both shared similarities in their high ethical standards; however, Judaism only consisted of the Ten Commandments and a covenant with their god. Zoroastrians were also obligated to stand in the will of god, and unlike the early Hebrew religion, Zoroastrians had consequences in their afterlife for their actions in life, in which may have later influenced Judaism.
The early Hebrew religion and Zoroastrians shared common grounds when it came to the well-being of their believers. Both were monotheistic, Judaism’s god being Yahweh and Zoroastrian’s god being Ahuramazda. Both religions had their primary leaders. Moses was called by Yahweh while King Darius was appointed by Ahuramazda. Israelites were expected to keep their covenant and the Ten Commandments. “Similarly, Persians were expected to keep promises and tell the truth” p.126. Both religious teachings created an ideology in justifying their society.
“Along with holding the people to high ethical standards, Zoroastrian god, Ahuramazda gave Darius a mandate to bring order to a world in turmoil” p.124. “There was a struggle between good and evil, playing out thousands of years, with good ultimately destined to prevail” p125 Humanity would be involved in this struggle and individuals would be rewarded or punished based on their actions in life.
“In contrast, Yahweh did not determine his believer’s fate. Along with the covenant, Moses inscribed the Ten Commandments for god’s “Chosen People”, in which prohibited murder, adultery, theft, lying, envy, demanded respect for parents and rest from work on the Sabbath day. Zoroastrianism only emphasized truth-telling, purity, and reference for nature” p.124
“Zoroastrianism was one of the great religions of the ancient world, preaching belief in one supreme deity, held humans to high ethical standards and promised salvation” p.126 Ironically, everlasting life did not come until centuries later for the Israelites, duplicating some of the same values as Zoroastrianism. This may have exerted a major influence on Judaism because both religions share similar legacies on their philosophical belief system.