Thursday, December 31, 2009

good and evil

Mazdanasyans, worshipping Ahura
Mazda, felt regarding evil, surer
than Jews and Christians, who do not explain
that it exists as something that’s as sane
as good, but as an aberration, evil
the product of God’s enemy, the devil,
whom God could, if He wanted to, abolish.

Mazdanasyans claim, with far more polish,
that evil comes from a most godlike master,
a theory proposed by Zoroaster,
thought by Jews and Christians to be
not just a heresy but fallacy,
because they think that God produces what
is bad, but we persuade ourselves is not.

This poem, written in two parts which are in antithesis with one another, was inspired by thoughts concerning Zoroastrianism that occurred to me during the course of a paper that I am writing, proposing that the pericope of the broken-necked heifer (Deut. 21:1-9) is in part derived from a Zoroastrian law found in a Pahlavi Vivedad text. According to Zoroastrianism “together with Ahura Mazda in the beginning, and likewise uncreated, was another being who was opposed to him, the Hostile Spirit, Angra Mainu” M. Boyce, “A History of Zoroastrianism (Leiden: Brill, 1975), 1.192).


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