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Ethics, Purity and Gender

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1. Title Title of document Ethics, Purity and Gender - Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Michael Stausberg; University of Bergen; Norway
3. Subject Discipline(s) Religious traditions
4. Subject Keyword(s) zoroastrianism; religious practice; history; Zarathustra
5. Subject Subject classification BL1-50 Religion (General); BL660-2680 History and principles of religions
6. Description Abstract We have already encountered moral precepts several times. The cited sources present the desired forms of “good” behaviour as divine revelations or orders by Ahura Mazdā, in which Zarathustra emerges as the prototypical recipient of these instructions. Thus, for example, in the Mithra-hymn Ahura Mazdā calls upon Zarathustra never to break contracts (not even those with “bad” people). The divine legitimation is accompanied by the description of Mithra’s actions in guarding, punishing and rewarding the desired form of action. As we have seen, the Avestan Vidēvdāt contains several abstract and numerous actual instructions for acting—for example, one has to be generous and not pee too far when urinating (as in Sraosha’s conversation with the Lie). Moreover, the text discusses the severity of the respective transgressions against this code of behaviour and prescribes rather detailed and sometimes seemingly quite draconian punishments. The sins committed will be paid for through these punishments. Some misdeeds, however, are seen to be so serious that they cannot be atoned for. For example, while one can escape with 200 whip lashes and 200 scourge lashes for starving a sheep dog, the killing of a sheep dog cannot be atoned for: When the soul of the sinner goes to the hereafter, it will moan like a wolf caught in a pit, but despite its moaning no other soul will come to its help; even the dogs guarding the bridge to the hereafter will not come to help (V. 13, 8–9). The moral and ritual action has direct consequences for the soul’s journey to the other world.
7. Publisher Organizing agency, location Equinox Publishing Ltd
8. Contributor Sponsor(s)
9. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 01-Oct-2008
10. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Article
11. Type Type
12. Format File format PDF
13. Identifier Uniform Resource Identifier
14. Identifier Digital Object Identifier 10.1558/equinox.19017
15. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) Equinox eBooks Publishing; Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism
16. Language English=en en
18. Coverage Geo-spatial location, chronological period, research sample (gender, age, etc.)
19. Rights Copyright and permissions Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd