By Richard E. Payne
Christian groups flourished in the course of past due antiquity in a Zoroastrian political process, referred to as the Iranian Empire, that built-in culturally and geographically disparate territories from Arabia to Afghanistan into its associations and networks. while earlier reviews have appeared Christians as marginal, insular, and sometimes persecuted individuals during this empire, Richard Payne demonstrates their integration into elite networks, adoption of Iranian political practices and imaginaries, and participation in imperial associations. the increase of Christianity in Iran relied on the Zoroastrian concept and perform of hierarchical, differentiated inclusion, in response to which Christians, Jews, and others occupied valid areas in Iranian political tradition in positions subordinate to the imperial faith. Christians, for his or her half, located themselves in a political tradition now not in their personal making, with recourse to their very own ideological and institutional assets, starting from the writing of saints’ lives to the judicial arbitration of bishops. In putting the social heritage of East Syrian Christians on the middle of the Iranian imperial tale, A nation of combination is helping clarify the persistence of a culturally diversified empire throughout 4 centuries.
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Extra resources for A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity (Transformation of the Classical Heritage, Volume 56)
The approach arises from the nature of the evidence. Two institutions have yielded the great bulk of the source material available for the study of Christian communities in Iran in the Sasanian period: the shrines of martyrs and the episcopal court. East Syrian ecclesiastical leaders introduced cults and canons from the Roman world, together with the associated technologies of communication, to instantiate their communities in time and space. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 offer case studies of how the organizers of cults of the saints and courts operated in terrain that they shared with their Zoroastrian counterparts.
The gods, water, fire, and domestic animals received satisfaction, and Ahreman and the demons received blows and suffering. The doctrine [kēš] of Ahreman and the demons was expelled from the empire and became unbelief. The Jews, Buddhists, Brahmins, Nazarenes, Christians, Baptizers, and Manichaeans were struck in the empire. 5 Nevertheless, histories of Zoroastrian interactions with Christians, Jews, and others in the Sasanian period often begin with, and rely on, Kerdir’s selfrepresentation as a paradigmatic example of how his fellow religious authorities, whether in the third century or the sixth, treated or wished to treat rival religious groups.
These unnamed agents of Ohrmazd introduced various beneficial practices to humanity. 30 BA D R E L IG IO N S If humans found themselves collectively in a state of mixture, there was only one Good Religion that could bring the world to a state of perfection. Every other system of ritual and belief was “bad religion,” agdēnīh, whose institutions were irredeemably deficient and potentially maleficent. ”31 The Middle Persian term agdēn became common in the discourse of Zoroastrian scholars in the Sasanian period as a blanket designation for non-Zoroastrians, collapsing the distinctions among Christianity, Judaism, and other religions into a single binary opposition between the single Good Religion and the various bad ones.
A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity (Transformation of the Classical Heritage, Volume 56) by Richard E. Payne
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