Zoroastrianism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
- Course Code:
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- Full Year
Objectives and learning outcomes of the course
The aim of this course is to give MA students of religions a clear understanding of the docterine and history of Zoroastrianism in a way that will enable them to establish interconnections with other courses that they are taking.
On completion of this course students will be able to:
- demonstrate a clear understanding of the teachings and history of Zoroastrianism;
- support their argument with references to primary sources;
- asses critically divergent views put forward by different scholars.
Students will be expected to demonstrate this understanding by the completion of pieces of course work and by the ability to respond to unseen questions.
Scope and syllabus
The course will provide a survey of Zoroastrian doctrines, rituals and observances with reference to the Zoroastrian scriptures (Avestan and Pahlavi literature). It will be taught within a historical framework beginning with the Indo-Iranian religious system to which the prophet Zarathushtra belonged, and going on to trace the development of the religion under Persian rulers, its decline after the Islamic conquest of Iran and its revival on the Indian subcontinent. The course will also cover modern Zoroastrian thought and the ritual and devotional practices of Zoroastrians today.
Method of assessment
Coursework: two 3,000 word essays (worth 25% each); Assessment: one three hour exam (worth 50%)
- M. Boyce, “Zoroastrianism”. In: J.R. Hinnells (ed.), A new handbook of living religions. London-New York etc.: Penguin, 1997, pp.236–260.
- M. Boyce, Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. London & New York: Routledge, 1979, 5th repr. 2000.
- J.R. Hinnells, Persian Mythology. London : Hamlyn, 1975.