By Mary Boyce

This quantity is a part of a three-volume paintings tracing the background of Zoroastrianism. within the set, literary, archaeological and numismatic proof is drawn on and native advancements are explored. examine is made up of the Zoroastrian contributions to Hellenistic inspiration and to Judaism, Christianity and Mithraism. An excursus offers a reassessment of the Zoroastrian pseudepigrapha.

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99. 54 See Thieme, BSOAS XXIII, 1960, 273-4; Benveniste, ]A 1960, 421-9. 55 In AHM, 30, 41 n. 3· Gershevitch took the existence of Vedic mitf'a "friend" as "a case of accidental homonymity". This explanation would have to embrace also Persian mihf' "friendliness" and other cognate words, and does not seem to have won acceptance. ). If this interpretation is valid, it attests the meaning ofmithf'a "friend" already in ancient Iran. In this connection Dr. ammad Qazvini and 'Abbas Iqbal, Skaddu'l-Aziif', 371.

The one among them who best lends himself to study, and through whom one may therefore hope to reach an understanding of the whole triad, is Vedic Mitra, Iranian Mithra. Not only are there Vedic verses addressed to this god, but the longest of the Avestan yasts is devoted to him. He remains, moreover, a much-loved divinity among the Zoroastrians, and there is accordingly a wealth of material both ancient and modern concerning his cult and worship. Further, a common noun mithra exists in Avestan, a mitra in Sanskrit, which provide keys for the unlocking of his ancient mystery.

Avesta", Festschrift W. Eilers, Wiesbaden 1967, 144-7. 8 See von Bradke, 42 ff. As he says, this fairly general use of what was probably in origin a particular honorific seems in accord with the Vedic tendency to address each of the great gods in the same laudatory terms. See also Gonda, op. , 46-7. 7 A. B. Keith, The religion and philosophy of the Veda and Upanishads, Harvard 1925, 203. s Hence what would now be regarded as an abstraction, such as justice or valour 01 truth, was seen of * old as a power.

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