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Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (The Library of Religious Beliefs and Practices) [Paperback]

Mary Boyce
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

14 Dec 2000 0415239036 978-0415239035 2
This book traces the continuous history of the faith from the time it was preached by Zoroaster down to the present day - a span of about 3,500 years. First taught among nomads on the Asian steppes, Zoroastrianism became the state religion of the three great Iranian empires and had a remarkable influence on other world faiths: to the east on northern Buddhism, to the west on Judaism, Christianity and Islam. With the conquest of Iran by the Muslim Arabs, Zoroastrianism lost its secular power, but continued to survive as a minority faith. Despite its antiquity, it remains a living religion.

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Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (The Library of Religious Beliefs and Practices) + The Hymns of Zoroaster: A New Translation of the Most Ancient Sacred Texts of Iran
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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (14 Dec 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415239036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415239035
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 257,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Mary Boyce is Professor Emerita of Iranian Studies at the University of London and is the author of a number of works on Zoroastrianism and Manicheanism.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Zoroastrianism is the oldest of the revealed credal religions, and it has probably had more influence on mankind, directly and indirectly, than any other single faith. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little classic 1 April 2008
Format:Paperback
Boyce's book is a classic study in comparative religion. It is full of insights into the origins of Zoroastrianism, and how it strongly shaped all later religious traditions of the Western world. She shows how much of what Jews, Christians and Muslims commonly consider "fundamental" to their faith is borrowed from the Zoroastrians.

--author of Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book but the Title is a bit of a misnomer 28 Sep 2002
By Blah - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an increcdible book about the history and development of the Zoroastrian religion from ancient times to the present. However, it is not simply an explanation of Beliefs and Practices. If you are unfamiliar with Zoroastrianism I suggest you read Nigosian's book THe Zoroastrian Faith first and then read this one. Boyce's book is the clearest and most well researched work on Zoroastrian religion and is a must for all interested in the relative subject matter.
33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Right! 19 July 2003
By Simplicissimus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Goldilocks would like this book. It is perfect for the average reader as far as length, depth, and width of coverage of this topic. Not too deep and not too shallow but just right! In addition to general features of Zoroastianism it also has a large amount of information on ancient Persia as well as particularly strong emphasis on the usually neglected Parthian and Sasanian cultures. The coverage of the Parsis in the Indian subcontinent is also very well done. Highly recommended for the general reader who wants an accessible overall view of Zoroastrianism.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Dense, and One-Sided 26 Oct 2009
By Barnaby Thieme - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The student of religions has few options when it comes to Zoroastrianism. Its scriptures have not been translated into English in over a century and there are vanishingly few scholars capable of dealing with the extreme philological and historical challenges of understanding and translating the material. Thank heavens that of the few books we have, Boyce's book is among them. Flawed though it may be, it is an invaluable overview of the history of Zoroastrianism from the time of its founder to the present day.

Boyce did possess ample expertise to motivate and present the history and doctrines of Zoroastrianism in plentiful detail. Too plentiful, in fact, for the tastes of this reader, and I have a large appetite for dry academic material. Even so, plowing through this relentless presentation of technical terms, unfamiliar names, and obscure dynasties and languages was a daunting challenge, even at a short 200 pages.

For all Boyce's lavish attention to detail she presents a surprisingly one-sided picture of Zoroastrianism. You would never know reading this book that the historicity of Zarathustra has been challenged repeatedly, or that opinions are sharply divided on whether or not Darius and his successors were Zoroastrians.

Boyce has arrived at her conclusions and that is what you get. Her commitment to this interpretation goes too far at times and compromises her scholarly objectivity, as when she refers to the Zurvanites as betrayers of Zarathustra's doctrine and a "deep and grievous heresy". Such ideas simply do not have a place in academic scholarship.

If we are to have too few books on Zoroastrianism in English, I am glad this one errs on the side of too much detail and minutiae. This book is the account of a scholar with very deep knowledge indeed, and I am glad for it, flaws and all.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book !! 20 July 2010
By Shahzad Patel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a fellow Parsee and Zarathusti, I am very glad to have found this book!! It provided be incredible insights into my religion's ~2500 year old history. Thanks to this book, I have truly rediscovered my faith. Boyce has done a terrific job!! She was an authority figure for her knowledge regarding the Zoroastrianism faith. I wish it were possible to thank her today for her tremendous contributions!! I recommend this book to all enthusiasts...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars alternate title: Zoroastrians - history of religious beliefs and practices 1 Aug 2008
By Nelson Kidd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The books focuses a lot on the history of Zoroastrian beliefs and practices. It's not so much a thorough dissertation of Zoroaster's original teachings. This isn't a book if you're interested in something that focuses on the life and teachings of Zoroaster (a.k.a. Zarathustra), himself.
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