The Devil You Don't Know

9 - Ancient Origins of The Devil: Zoroastrianism - The First Devil

December 24, 2021 Don Early Season 1 Episode 9
9 - Ancient Origins of The Devil: Zoroastrianism - The First Devil
The Devil You Don't Know
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The Devil You Don't Know
9 - Ancient Origins of The Devil: Zoroastrianism - The First Devil
Dec 24, 2021 Season 1 Episode 9
Don Early

The recurring character named Satan did NOT exist in the Hebrew Bible before the Babylonian exile. Where then did this idea of Satan come from? Don, Emily and Jeremy marvel at the all-too-familiar themes and ideas present in the ancient Iranian religion of Zoroastrianism. Listen and discover with us The First Devil in this continuation of our series on the Ancient Origins of the Devil.

Show Links


  1. Borg,      M.J. (2012). Evolution of the Word : reading the New Testament in the      order it was written. New York: Harperone, pp.213–218.
  2. Cogito      (2020). What Is Zoroastrianism? [online] YouTube. Available at:
  3. Duchesne-Guillemin,      J. (2019). Zoroastrianism | Definition, Beliefs, Founder, & Facts. In:      Encyclopædia Britannica. [online] Available at:
  4.      Editors (2019). Zoroastrianism. [online] Available at:
  5. Jeffrey      Burton Russell (1995). The Devil : Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity      to Primitive Christianity. London: Cornell University Press,      pp.98–121.
  6. Langdon,      J. (2021). Hell As We Know It Might Have Been Based On A Real-Life      Place On Earth. [online] Ranker. Available at:
  7. Mark      Henry, A. and ReligionForBreakfast (2021). The Origins of Satan.      [online] YouTube. Available at:
  8. Waxman,      O.B. (2020). Here’s What History Can Tell Us About the Magi.      [online] Time. Available at:
  9. Wikipedia      Contributors (2019). Zoroastrianism. [online] Wikipedia. Available      at: 

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The recurring character named Satan did NOT exist in the Hebrew Bible before the Babylonian exile. Where then did this idea of Satan come from? Don, Emily and Jeremy marvel at the all-too-familiar themes and ideas present in the ancient Iranian religion of Zoroastrianism. Listen and discover with us The First Devil in this continuation of our series on the Ancient Origins of the Devil.

Show Links


  1. Borg,      M.J. (2012). Evolution of the Word : reading the New Testament in the      order it was written. New York: Harperone, pp.213–218.
  2. Cogito      (2020). What Is Zoroastrianism? [online] YouTube. Available at:
  3. Duchesne-Guillemin,      J. (2019). Zoroastrianism | Definition, Beliefs, Founder, & Facts. In:      Encyclopædia Britannica. [online] Available at:
  4.      Editors (2019). Zoroastrianism. [online] Available at:
  5. Jeffrey      Burton Russell (1995). The Devil : Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity      to Primitive Christianity. London: Cornell University Press,      pp.98–121.
  6. Langdon,      J. (2021). Hell As We Know It Might Have Been Based On A Real-Life      Place On Earth. [online] Ranker. Available at:
  7. Mark      Henry, A. and ReligionForBreakfast (2021). The Origins of Satan.      [online] YouTube. Available at:
  8. Waxman,      O.B. (2020). Here’s What History Can Tell Us About the Magi.      [online] Time. Available at:
  9. Wikipedia      Contributors (2019). Zoroastrianism. [online] Wikipedia. Available      at: 

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Episode 9 - Ancient Origins of the Devil - Zoroastrianism -The First Devil

[00:00:00] Don Early: No Christmas nativity scene would be complete without the three wise men AKA Magi from the east, or were they three Kings of orient, you know, Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar? According to a medieval Irish description, the first is said to have been an old man with white hair and a long beard, the second beardless and ready complexion, the third black skinned and heavily bearded. But were there really three Magi and were they even Kings? According to the New Testament, the answer is either no, or unclear.

[00:00:51] The Christmas nativity story we know comes from the combination of two gospels, Matthew and Luke. Only the gospel of Matthew mentions the Magi [Matthew 2: 1-12] and the writer does not say how many Magi there were. So who were they? Really many scholars say that they were likely priests of an offshoot of the Persian religion Zoroastriansim. The Magi were known for their knowledge of astrology and interpreting dreams and mathematics. And Persia, specifically the Parthian empire, was to the east of Israel. In other words, Gentile, not Jewish. Why would the author of the most Jewish gospel in the New Testament include these Gentile Magi in the birth story of his Messiah while the author was the most Judaism affirming of the gospel writers, he was also pretty hostile about the followers of traditional Judaism.

[00:01:51] The Jewish Christian sect he evangelized openly included Gentiles. And because of this his contemporary Jews dismissed the sect of even being Jewish. Maybe he included the Magi as a rebuke to show that even the Persians would follow the new Messiah. We hear from the story that the Magi came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

[00:02:16] Maybe these Magi, these Zoroastrians also came bearing theological and astrological insights for the budding Christian sect. Welcome to the Ancient Origins of the Devil - Zoroastrianism -the first devil. This is the Devil You Don't Know.

[00:03:00] Welcome everyone. This is the devil you don't know. We're back with the podcast that explores the historical and cultural relevance of the devil. I am still Don. 

[00:03:12] Emily Quann: I'm still Emily. 

[00:03:13] Jeremy Spray: I was always Jeremy. 

[00:03:16] Don Early: And today we are continuing our series on the ancient origins of the devil and we are talking about Zoroastrianism and the devil.

[00:03:26] Cool. Yeah. That's a big Z word. I don't get many of those. 

[00:03:32] Jeremy Spray: It's a good one though. It rolls off the tongue very nicely Zoroastrian text, though, 

[00:03:40] Don Early: yeah, I think the key is, is hitting those vowels. Don't don't ignore the vowels. Yeah. Zorro ass street on ism a lot of vowels in that word. It's a good one. Okay. So what about Zoroastrianism?

[00:03:57] What are we going to talk about today? Uh, we're going to cover the historical time period. Get a sense of like where, when we're talking about and we're going to right up front compare to the previous two episodes. Cause we've covered a lot in the past two episodes. So let's just do a real quick refresher on the key points and how we think that's going to relate, uh, moving forward.

[00:04:21] Uh, we're going to talk exactly what is Zoroastrianism and what does all that mean? Yup. We'll get into the Zoroastrian myths. I most prominently the Ahriman prophecy. So that's a big one. And we're going to see exactly how familiar that sucker sounds 

[00:04:40] Jeremy Spray: Super familiar, by the way. I remember going over and I was like, wow, this is like line for line.

[00:04:47] A myth that I've heard it about three other times. 

[00:04:50] Don Early: Yeah. Yeah. So crazy. Yeah. I didn't know about the Ahriman prophecy until I got into this. So, um, but I knew about Ahriman, but I didn't quite yeah. Anyway, we'll get to there. Yeah. Um, and then of course, we'll wrap it up with, you know, how did Zoroastrianism influence, uh, post exert Judaism and early Christianity?

[00:05:14] And I'll remind everybody what post exilic means, uh, in a bit. So. Last time on ancient origins.

[00:05:28] Jeremy Spray: That's right. I want to hear each of us do that. That was really good. Emily will you do that again, say it again. See the exact thing you just said the last time. All right, I'll do it. Do that for me. Last time on the devil. You don't know 

[00:05:44] Emily Quann: last time on the devil, you don't know. I don't know how I said it the first time.

[00:05:48] Now I'm trying to like do it on command and that doesn't work 

[00:05:53] Jeremy Spray: do the radio voice. Be funny. I can't, I can't be funny when you say

[00:06:01] last time on, I don't know, 

[00:06:04] Emily Quann: last time on the devil, you don't know and hit it done. 

[00:06:09] Jeremy Spray: Now you say it Don. We didn't get yours 

[00:06:11] Don Early: last time on the w don't know. Hah! See that 

[00:06:15] Jeremy Spray: sounds way better. That was pretty NPR is what that was. I loved it. 

[00:06:20] Don Early: NPR is definitely a big inspiration of mine. I strive to, to meet that I'm a long way there.

[00:06:29] And it's gonna be fine. Let's start with Egypt. So that's what we started with ancient origins of the devil Egypt last, last time. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We, we covered about 3000 ish or so BCE to about 31 BCE, you know, right up to about Cleopatra and whatnot. Those dates again. So around 3000 BC, 

[00:06:57] Jeremy Spray:

[00:06:58] Don Early: 31 BC. 

[00:07:00] Emily Quann: Okay. I thought you said 3,100 BCE. And I was like, that's only a hundred years and we covered, we covered more. 

[00:07:05] Jeremy Spray: That's got, it's gotta be more than that. I got to go back and listen. 

[00:07:09] Don Early: And jump in as know big points that strike out at you. Um, the universe has a divine order and balance called ma at, um, and it has ma at naturally. So for the Egyptians, the, the universe sort of naturally, in its resting state is ordered and balanced.

[00:07:35] Um, and they call that Ma at 

[00:07:37] Jeremy Spray: Right. And, and everything's in a cycle, everything is cyclical. And always the, the attempt is to get back to ma at. Yeah. At all times. 

[00:07:45] Yeah. 

[00:07:46] Don Early: Yeah, definitely. Uh, eh, which is a great segue to the next point. Evil and chaos are disruptions of ma at and must be overcome. And ma at must be restored.

[00:07:59] So exact, just like what you were saying. Uh, people relied on the security of the fertile Delta Nile you know, Nile Delta, and then rulers are the people's direct connection with the gods and the will of the gods they're, they're pharaohs, of course, we took away some of the key things about that. We learned that we're kind of tied to the devil.

[00:08:25] Do you remember some of those, like, 

[00:08:27] Jeremy Spray: yeah, I was thinking about that. Like the color of red that comes up, the, there wasn't the distinct, uh, you know, good side versus dark side or, you know, creator of all versus enemy of all, that was not a part of it necessarily. Uh, but there was the, the brothers and then the, uh, the fire, the element and the, even the underworld kind of aspects, uh, showing up in that, uh, wait, I'm not getting that confused with mesopotamian, am I? No that's right. And 

[00:08:57] Don Early: it had an, it had, I have a neat chart 

[00:09:00] Emily Quann: There are so many similarities between the two though. So that's 

[00:09:03] Jeremy Spray: why I don't like, like mix them up. Like, you know, someone's going to go back and listen to the episodes of like, Jeremy doesn't know the hell. He's talking about it. Wrong place.

[00:09:11] Don Early: No, no, you're good. You're good. Well, let's just move on to Mesopotamia then. So yeah, I mean, so I'm just trying to hit the high points of the historical context to set up today. So Mesopotamia, we covered, uh, most likely predating the Egyptians, right? Right. 6,000 ish BCE. 

[00:09:35] Jeremy Spray: Um, by a lot, right? It's not just the, the hundred years before that, like, nah, we were here an entire you before you, well, 

[00:09:43] Emily Quann: I mean, even further than that, I mean, you can go back to like 12,000 BC.

[00:09:51] Don Early: I think it's, you know, not just Mesopotamia, I mean, it, it is in that general region. Um, as we'll see with Persia, there is people there as well. I'm sure there were people in Egypt. It was just, they were scattered. They weren't organized. They were, 

[00:10:07] Emily Quann: uh, I guess when I was talking about 12,000 BCE, I was w I meant like where civilization, where society starts coming together, more so than just, oh, I keep hitting my mic.

[00:10:22] I'm sorry. Uh, more so than just. People, like you said, scattered and 

[00:10:28] Don Early: stuff. Yeah. You know, my wife, Cindy was saying something about the, one of the first signs of civilization. I don't, I assume it must happen. They must discover this in Mesopotamia was oh, so let me ask you, what do you think was the, the key sign or the key discovery they found that determined that civilization had begun?

[00:10:56] Jeremy Spray: Ooh, I don't know this answer. I should. That sounds very jeopardy question. The key sign that they are identified that civilization had begun, that would be civilization means more than one populace together. So there would have to be a commute. I don't know, like, like pottery. Like, like goals or pots? 

[00:11:20] Don Early: No, I, uh, I, for the record, I would not have gotten this, so yeah.

[00:11:27] Emily Quann: It's when people started, uh, to care for each other and, uh, it's it was found in, uh, skeletons when they saw that people had like, tried to splint a broken leg back then. I mean, some injuries, something like a broken leg or something. I mean, that's, that's, that's, that's a death sentence, you know? So when they started trying to care for the people who are not as well off or who were sick or hurt or injured uh that's that's when you saw the start of like civilization of society, people taking care of each other.

[00:12:11] Don Early: Yeah, nice. I think that's cool as hell.

[00:12:17] Okay. So back to, uh, Mesopotamia, uh, we covered right up to about 323 BCE, uh, and that is when, uh, the Greeks kind of swooped in and took over. So we'll get to them in a bit. Um, the universe in Mesopotamia is like the exact opposite of Egypt, right? So the universe is chaos. It's uncaring, it's fucking violent as hell.

[00:12:49] Um, peace and order has to be fought for and constantly maintained, uh, brutal, brutal place. Right. Uh, they also had a fertile ground, uh, so that those lands between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, were you know, regularly invaded and eh with the different kingdoms that were established, it was like, oh, who, who are we serving today?

[00:13:19] Um, and, uh, of course, you know, if you were just among the people, just trying to make a living and, and, you know, live your life, uh, if, if you were living in a kingdom that was concurred then you could be dispersed, sold into slavery, exiled from your land, um, or executed, tortured, whatever, you know, it was, it was some bad stuff, 

[00:13:48] Jeremy Spray: but what we attributed to that I may be jumping your notes here was noticing that exile was so common and was such a possibility.

[00:13:58] And even just the other ends of, uh, other countries coming in. Had an effect on the way the religion was understood and, and the way the, uh, the deities and the, what I call it, the counter deities or the devils were kind of taking shape there, there was, there were specifically demons and there were specifically, uh, being dragged away or, or, or, or being, uh, vicious and malicious towards people in general and causing a lot of death and destruction.

[00:14:32] Those were decidedly, evil, and then had to be taken out. Definitely. 

[00:14:36] Don Early: Yeah. Yeah. Uh, the Assyrian empire was especially brutal and violent ruled by dominance through fear. They were kind of known as the, the bullies of the area they'd just swoop in and take your lunch money and you know, your skin.

[00:14:55] So, yeah, real violent, their myths were super Gonzo violent. And, uh, and so when the Jews were, uh, in their Homeland, they were invaded by Babylon and they were exiled by Babylon. So Babylon came in and kicked them out of their kingdom. And so they were scattered. This is called the diaspora. And so, uh, as we'll talk about today, the time period that brought them back, let them come back to their Homeland.

[00:15:27] And it was during this time, you know, writing and thought had, if in, in the Judeans minds had changed significantly since before then. So preexilic, pre exile, and post exilic, post exile, some very different writing in the same Hebrew Bible. Yeah. Uh, okay. And then we've got Canaan and so that's that strip, uh, on the Mediterranean sea.

[00:15:57] Uh, we were talking about, about 3,300 BCE to, uh, all the way through like the first century CE. Uh, and once again, the universe was cyclical, you know, remember that, uh, um, mythology between Baal and Mot and they would fight and every seven years, one of them win would win. Right? So if, if Baal one, you got seven years of bounty if Mot won there's seven years of drought, um, definitely this kind of back and forth cyclical, um, thing.

[00:16:34] And then of course, Baal, we talked quite a bit about being this the Lord and he was the savior god of life and fertility. 

[00:16:45] Jeremy Spray: Right. But not just the Lord, Baal was a title of Lords. Of of someone who is in charge of. So when there was the whole, uh, city of, of Baal or Baals above, right. That was talking about help me out.

[00:17:04] Who was, who were they referring to? 

[00:17:05] Don Early: The, uh, Beelzebub? Uh, there is, uh, yeah, I don't remember the name of the person or who, but, uh, it meant Lord of the high place or Lord of the mansion Lord of the high mansion 

[00:17:21] Jeremy Spray: and Beezelbub was the Lord of flies. Right? The Zebub, the Zebub was the whole thing? 

[00:17:27] Don Early: Beezelbub was, uh, to the Canaan's, Lord of the High Place. The Jews took that and said, the Lord of the flies.

[00:17:37] That's 

[00:17:38] Jeremy Spray: right. Lord of dung. Oh, that's so good. Yeah. 

[00:17:42] Don Early: We get some pretty, pretty significant commentary of their situation. Solid shade. Yeah. All right. So I, I can't do this auto, you know, in an audio format. I can't show you this really nice table, but I'll go through it real quick. Uh, it's a comparison. I'll post this on, on show notes on the website, uh, between Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Canaan.

[00:18:08] And we're going to look at what the afterlife was, whether or not the gods cared about humanity and what was their conflict resolution like? So for Egypt, do they have an afterlife? Yes. It was a promise through mumification to be able to enter the land of the dead. Right. And so the whole Osiris and Horace kind of set that up in Mesopotamia.

[00:18:36] Was there an afterlife you recall? 

[00:18:38] Jeremy Spray: Call them? No, don't remember there is, was there wasn't when you're dead, you're dead. 

[00:18:45] Don Early: It's a realm of the dead, not to dissimilar to, you know, the, the realm that Osiris governed over, um, not too dissimilar to really the Greeks of Hades. Uh, it was its own realm of the dead, but it was not particularly nice place.

[00:19:03] I mean, you did have the judges and the demons that would oversee your torment if you were particularly bad. Um, so it could be a realm of punishment, not surprising in Mesopotamia, right. And then Canaan. We didn't really talk about the afterlife in Canaan, but uh, looking it up, they did have a fairly neutral realm of the dead kind of thing.

[00:19:32] So sort of had this situation of, of this place, of the dead after you die. Did God's care about humanity, Egypt, or do you think, 

[00:19:45] Jeremy Spray: uh, humanity was made by tears at one point and I'm going to say they were not really caretakers of them, right? So no Egypt did not care about humanity. Did I lose again, 

[00:20:03] Don Early: Emily, 

[00:20:03] Jeremy Spray: There's only one other option. Why are you asking for another answer.

[00:20:10] No, it's wrong. It's wrong. You're 

[00:20:13] Don Early: Jeremy. You're not too far off but I, they did Ra did care about humanity. Um, you know, cause again, Pharaoh was a God, the direct link with the gods, you know, the Pharaoh was there to facilitate the relationship between the people and the gods. Um, and so, yeah, I mean, I wouldn't say that they were, you know, two levels, but ISIS was, you know, fond is supposedly fond of people and, and that sort of thing.

[00:20:45] So it wasn't like apathetic or anything, but it wasn't, you know, real closely connection either. So I can see why you said what you did. 

[00:20:54] Jeremy Spray: It sounds like I definitely need to go back and listen to our episode again. 

[00:21:00] Emily Quann: Oh, I know I do.

[00:21:04] Don Early: Mesopotamia. Did gods, did the gods care about humanity? 

[00:21:08] Emily Quann: No. 

[00:21:09] Jeremy Spray: No, 

[00:21:10] Don Early: Distinctly not 

[00:21:11] Jeremy Spray: Distinctly not. Like that I remember that. Very much the we're on our own and they're fighting for things as it is.

[00:21:18] Don Early: Yeah. Yeah. Humanity should serve the gods and make sacrifices. That's it. Screw humanity, we don't even care. They should just Edify us as the gods. Um, but, and then Canaan? Did the gods care about humanity in Canaan?

[00:21:44] Jeremy Spray: I'm gonna, I'm gonna go with yes, but it was, it was a loof 

[00:21:50] Don Early: call I'm with you on that too. 

[00:21:51] Emily Quann: I mean, my, yes. 

[00:21:55] Don Early: Yeah, exactly. I feel like you're on the same page guys. I think you retain more than you thought. Um, yeah. I was like, sure. 

[00:22:05] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. Th th th they weren't. If I recall, they certainly weren't hostile to, but they weren't like, we're absolutely here to take care of you.

[00:22:15] Boom. 

[00:22:16] Don Early: One of them was hostile. Yes. Right. Astarte, what 

[00:22:22] Jeremy Spray: Was the name? I Astarte? Astarte I thought you said Astoreth that that's the one that I was, I was thinking of. Yeah, 

[00:22:29] Don Early: yeah. Yeah. She killed the fuck out of humanity until 

[00:22:34] Jeremy Spray: she was like stopped as fast as possible. 

[00:22:38] Don Early: Um, yeah. So, I mean, Baal was the Lord, everybody revered.

[00:22:41] The Lord was the savior. God. But that that's about as far as we got into it. Yeah. Um, and then conflict resolution, I feel like all three had about the same brutally violent resolution. Yes. Oh yeah. 

[00:22:59] Emily Quann: There was no, there was no discussion. No compromise. No, I want this, well, I want this and yeah, it's. 

[00:23:10] Don Early: If I win you lose your skin literally, or your legs.

[00:23:16] Okay. So that kind of ends our recap. There's lots of suffering in the world. Um, and, uh, it was, uh, it was a hard time. And so it's in the bed of all of this that's happening. So just to the east of Mesopotamia and Canaan was Iran or as it was kind of Persia, you know, back then. So what's happening over there and who the hell are they?

[00:23:45] So that's our next situation. So Iran was primarily polytheistic with many similarities to the Vedic, religion, and Vedic is the sort of the precursor or the real beginnings of Hinduism. Okay, so early Iran, uh, was polytheistic kind of like Hinduism and then somewhere in the middle of the second millennium BCE or the sixth century BCE jury seems to be out on this one, came Zarathustra the prophet

[00:24:25] okay. Our friend from episode one scholars can't seem to agree on exactly when this guy was around. Um, 

[00:24:33] Emily Quann: there's like a 5,000 year spread. 

[00:24:37] Jeremy Spray: He was there the whole time, 

[00:24:42] Don Early: but we do know that his teachings caught some pretty major momentum right around the sixth and fifth centuries, BCE. Uh, so Zuora Zoroastrianism with the state, religion of three Persian empires, uh, the Achaemenid empire, which we'll, we're about to talk about.

[00:25:01] Uh, the Parthian

[00:25:06] I don't know the answer 

[00:25:07] Emily Quann: to that. I thought that was the largest one. 

[00:25:12] Don Early: Yeah. And they were there for about, uh, five 50 to 3 23 or so BC. Um, so a couple of hundred years, uh, the Parth, Parthian empire, they were there from 2 47 BCE to 2 24 CTE. So almost 400 years there. And then this, uh, or the Sasanian empire, uh, was 2 24, CE 2, 6 51, CE.

[00:25:50] Emily Quann: When was, when was Cyrus the Great? 

[00:25:53] Don Early: The Achaemenid empire. And he's going to be our, uh, he's going to be our celebrity today. 

[00:26:00] Emily Quann: Oh, sorry, know, 

[00:26:05] Don Early: you're on the right track. So let's just jump right into the Achaemenid empire, shall we?

[00:26:11] This is the most influential period for Zoroastrianism and particularly on our concepts for the devil that sort of came out of this.

[00:26:22] So Achaemenid empire began in about 550 BCE by Cyrus the Great, um, of the movie 300 fame. So go back and watch that if you want. Wait 

[00:26:39] Jeremy Spray: a minute, Cyrus, the great - help me out. I'm thinking of, uh, Xerxes? 

[00:26:45] Don Early: Sees their Xerxes. And 

[00:26:48] Jeremy Spray: then was he, was he before or after? That's who you're talking about, right.

[00:26:53] That kind of, you know 

[00:26:54] Don Early: what, I don't know, it's been so long that I've seen it, but all the sources about they, they referenced 300, the movie 300 quite a bit, so 

[00:27:04] Emily Quann: the movie, what 

[00:27:08] Jeremy Spray: violence is violent is what it is. 

[00:27:12] Emily Quann: It's violent, but 

[00:27:13] Don Early: it's interesting. It's very stylized. 

[00:27:16] Jeremy Spray: It's super graphic novel. 

[00:27:19] Emily Quann: It's like the computer.

[00:27:21] Generated images that they like, there's a lot of CGI 

[00:27:25] Jeremy Spray: they use CGI a lot in there, but it's, it's uh, the whole film has, do you remember, um, um, um, fi skywriter? Uh, 

[00:27:33] Emily Quann: yeah, I know exactly which one you're talking about. Gwyneth Paltrow was in it? 

[00:27:38] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. Yeah. So that was like one of the very first movies that everything was all green screen.

[00:27:42] This one has the same type of feel it's out of reality. So 

[00:27:50] Emily Quann: it looks like it's totally okay. 

[00:27:53] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. Then that's that's the stylized effect. 

[00:27:55] Emily Quann: Yes. Okay. I have not yet. I have not seen that movie 

[00:27:58] Jeremy Spray: Don, I cut you off and I need the guy's name again. Cause now all I'm seeing is Xerxes. 

[00:28:02] Don Early: Yeah, because I thought that too.

[00:28:03] And so I don't know if Xerxes is supposed to be Cyrus.

[00:28:08] Cyrus the great right. 

[00:28:13] Jeremy Spray: Okay. 

[00:28:14] Emily Quann: He's mentioned in the Bible too, right? Oh yeah. 

[00:28:17] Don Early: Well, yeah, he might be. Yeah. Um, because the Jews totally love this guy and yeah. I 

[00:28:24] Emily Quann: brought them back. Hey, you were exiled. Come on back. 

[00:28:30] Don Early: Yeah. So Cyrus, the great was actually pretty great. So he led the empire here. They revolted against the Medean empire and 553 BCE, uh, defeating the, uh, Medes or the media in five 50 BC and establishing their empire in October on October the 12th, 5 9 BCE Cyrus

[00:28:54] The great took the city of Babylon and portrayed himself as restoring divine order. Um, he compared himself to Assyrian king Asherbanipal and the Hebrews really pushed on Cyrus for his conquest of Babylon. Referring to to him as Yahweh's anointed. 

[00:29:14] Jeremy Spray: Right. That's what that name started 

[00:29:16] Don Early: coming up.

[00:29:17] Yeah. Um, Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to their Homeland. Um, and Cyrus was kind of an interesting ruler. He really sort of was okay with diversity in his kingdom. 

[00:29:32] Emily Quann: Diversity of different 

[00:29:35] Don Early: peoples different religions 

[00:29:38] Emily Quann: and different religions specifically. 

[00:29:39] Don Early: Yeah. Yeah. He seemed to be pretty cool with the whole thing.

[00:29:43] Um, yet he personally was Zoroastrian. And so in fact now basically starting from here for the next thousand years, Zoroastrianism would be the dominant religion in Persia. And then for the next couple of centuries, the Jews are under Persian occupation in one form or another until Alexander the great.

[00:30:10] In 523 and crushes the, it came in at empire, just

[00:30:18] Jeremy Spray: gone. Now 

[00:30:20] Don Early: of course, Cyrus is long dead by then anyway, but it was, it was utter defeatedness. Okay. So during that timeframe, though, that we're talking about five 50 BCE to about 3 23 BCE, it's surmised that the Judean religious elite came into contact with Iranian religious officials and began developing new theologies based on some Zoroastrian ideas.

[00:30:46] That seems a little out of place for the Jews because they were very like personal identity. But I guess, I mean, shit, you got to think about this. They were out in the world with the Assyrians and the Babylonians and this brutal Mesopotamian religion around them. And then Cyrus comes along and says, stop all that crap.

[00:31:10] You can go back home and, and be you be you. Well, they might be pretty, pretty receptive to hear what these guys have to say. Sure. 

[00:31:21] Jeremy Spray: Right. This one is mercy merciful and benevolence. Then how does what got him that way now? We, yeah, 

[00:31:30] Don Early: so some of the evidence that we see in this, in the Bible in Isaiah job and Jeremiah, we have a new form of Satan, no longer the lower case "s".

[00:31:41] We now have The Satan, a recurring character among the divine council and a role similar to a courtroom prosecutor. So still not the agent of evil. There is one Satan now 

[00:31:57] Jeremy Spray: specifically an adversary, right? It's the opposite of, yeah. Okay. 

[00:32:01] Don Early: Yeah. It's like you say like a prosecutor or something like that. Um, someone's, that's there to accuse you the accuser.

[00:32:10] There is in the dead sea scrolls, the community rule, uh, the God of Israel created spirits of light and darkness and founded every action upon them and created every act. Uh, every deed upon their ways, the angel of darkness leads all the children of righteousness, astray, all their sins, iniquities, wickedness, and all of their unlawful deeds are caused by his dominion.

[00:32:35] This is new. This is, this is dead sea scrolls stuff. So it's not in the Canon, but like it's contemporary of this time. We now have an angel of darkness. Um, that they're writing about and 

[00:32:49] Jeremy Spray: finally

[00:32:54] going for thousands of years. And where's my angel of darkness. 

[00:32:58] Don Early: This angel of darkness is a malevolent spirit named an evil angel who leads an army of other evil angels. 

[00:33:08] Jeremy Spray: Okay. So now we've got angels and demons. 

[00:33:11] Don Early: Yeah. So we've got angels and demons, and we've got this, some new ideas here and maybe, you know, and I guess the point is before the exile, none of that was there.

[00:33:24] And after when they came back and we're talking like not even a hundred years, right. That they were in exile, they come back, having had all this, uh, polytheism Mesopotamia Baal Canaan, and then, uh, You know, they get to reject all that, call it, awfulness, call it the Lord of dung and then come back and go, you know, it's pretty fricking evil out there and our God's not responsible for that what's going on.

[00:33:58] Right. Right. All right. We'll get back to the Jews. Okay. What is Zoroastrianism? And to really talk about this, we need to talk about our old friend in episodes one and two, Zarathushtra, or as the Greeks called him Zoroaster. Hence, Zoroastrianism. 

[00:34:20] Jeremy Spray: I'm 

[00:34:20] Emily Quann: following. I see what you did there. 

[00:34:26] Don Early: A lot of information out there, uh, that we've we get from these folks, uh, is by Hesiod who was, um, notorious for being wrong 

[00:34:37] Jeremy Spray: historically.

[00:34:40] Don Early: So take that, but, um, but we've got some other stuff here again, so let's just talk about Zarathushtra for a second. Just like, who was this guy and what did you do? Um, and again, the difficulty with a timeline in, in, you know, for him is that there's just so much inconsistency date of birth and death cannot be learned with any degree of certainty because all of the records that we have are basically lost, um, or fragmented for more information on all of that process and, and whatnot.

[00:35:15] Um, check out the links in the show notes. Um, it's out there. The truth is out there. 

[00:35:21] Jeremy Spray: The truth is out there in the show notes, please check. Yeah, like and subscribe. 

[00:35:26] Don Early: According to Zoroastrian tradition. So according to the Zoroastrians, he flourished 258 years before Alexander, the great conquered Persepolis, which was the capital city of the Persian Achaemenid dynasty at the time.

[00:35:43] And three 30 BCE that would put him around 5 88 BC. And they say that he was 40 when he converted, uh, thought to be the king of Coroasmia in central Asia in five eighty eight, which puts his birthdate around six twenty eight BC. Some scholars say that he had, he must have been born between 1500 to 1200 BCE.

[00:36:16] Uh, we've got a YouTube link that, um, in the comments that are in the show notes, that talks about that. Um, so it it's, as we said, it's all over the board, Jeffrey Burton Russell, however, seems to go with the traditional dates. And, um, just to remind you, he is the author of the book, the devil, uh, perceptions of evil in antiquity to primitive Christianity.

[00:36:43] Once again, link in the show notes. And, uh, we we've been using that book quite a bit for the basis of this podcast, uh, in this part of the podcast. And he seems to go with the traditional dates, uh, because they seemed to line up with a timeline of the aforementioned Achaemenid a dynasty. So, you know, it's kind of fits.

[00:37:03] So who was this dude? Zarathustra was an Iranian religious reformer and prophet, who introduced dualism, if you recall, recall from episodes one and two, uh, we'll, we'll get into more about dualism in a second. Um, but this was a brand new thing. Again, a real simply there was two principles. Now there is principle of good and the principal of evil. Uh, sources say he was probably a priest and started training for the priesthood around the age of seven and became a priest at 15.

[00:37:38] He left his parents at age 20 and traveled. And by the age of 30, he received a vision from Ahura Mazda who appointed him to preach the truth. And, uh, Ahura Mazda, uh, turns out to be the God of light and truth. And while the civil and religious authorities of the time, apparently opposed his teachings, Zarathushtra

[00:38:02] I didn't try to overthrow any particular belief in the older Iranian religion. Um, which was polytheistic. He did though, place Ahura Mazda at the center of the kingdom of justice that promised immortality and bliss. And so he's considered the founder of the Zoroastrian religion. I'm bringing this sort of new God and new paradigm to put all these other gods into frame.

[00:38:31] He taught about the individual judgment, heaven, and hell, the resurrection of the body, last judgment and an everlasting life for the reunited soul and body among other things. It is believed that the Abra- Abrahamic religions borrowed these concepts, but probably lost the context of the original teachings, which is what you do as I like that.

[00:38:58] I'm going to incorporate that to my context, hashtag Christianity, right? Kind of an interesting guy to me sounded a lot of parallels to me, to what we heard from Yasmine Bendaas about the prophet Muhammad. Amazing, you know, it was a priest. He, uh, where, you know, he would go and pray and things were quiet.

[00:39:23] You know, the, the religious climate wasn't exactly to, you know, something was rubbing him wrong. Obviously he gets a vision from this holy being and, and gives him very clear, uh, inspiration and ideas to carry forth. I don't know that just sort of like, Hmm, that's interesting. 

[00:39:49] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. I, I mean, other parallels really show up a lot for me right now.

[00:39:53] Like outside of just Islam, like now we've got the, the dualism and I think we've been referencing back several, several times. Like Christianity just borrowed from it, everything, but it's, it's just seems really, uh, what would I call it? Like grandfather or like like directly related to 

[00:40:11] Don Early: the, 

[00:40:14] Jeremy Spray: the idea that, like, I always thought that Christianity came from Judaism, but now I'm hearing that Judaism and Christianity probably come from Zoroastrianism.

[00:40:23] Like there's, there seems to be kind of a, a lineage that could be. I wouldn't call em 

[00:40:28] Don Early: come from, uh, influenced and sort of helped. I mean, there's so many, um, there's so many factors that go into. How something grows and becomes a thing. Yeah. 

[00:40:44] Jeremy Spray: And you were actually just kind of like hinting at that a little bit, right?

[00:40:46] Like, like when you have the different, the culture, literally moving locations or being forced in and out of things that, that certain things would get absorbed and things wouldn't. So I totally get that. That's, that's a better way to put it. 

[00:40:58] Don Early: Yeah. I guess one of the, one of the things that I'm not going to say is that, uh, Zoroastrians taught the Christian or taught the Jews, uh, about Satan.

[00:41:09] That isn't, that isn't how it happened. That's 

[00:41:11] Jeremy Spray: not a thing.

[00:41:15] Don Early: So, uh, what they did have was, um, this concept of the ahuras and the asuras and the D the daevas, the asuras, and the Daevas and the asuras would later be called, uh, ahuras. So Ahura Mazda was one of these, asuras, and the asuras were good. Divine spirits, uh, And they were, uh, affiliated or they were known as, uh, associated with the truth.

[00:41:44] So the good spirits truth, big theme there, the daevas were the evil spirits representing lies. And so the asuras defeated the daevas and the greatest, asura became the high God Ahura Mazda. Now in India, this is reversed. Um, because again, this, this is, uh, uh, sort of a formation out of the Vedic early Hindu situation.

[00:42:11] And so the daevas uh, over threw the asuras uh, and in that area, and it's kind of a different religion, so interesting. Yeah. 

[00:42:24] Jeremy Spray: Is it not called Zoroastriansim? Is that a different, no religion entirely. Totally a different religion. 

[00:42:29] Don Early: Nice. All right. Vedic religion. So dualism dualism, it forms a spectrum. Between the extreme and absolute, uh, we have basically a definite two separate principles of Zoroastrianism, but these become more and more diluted through different iterations.

[00:42:53] So Zoroastrian heresy of Zervanism later, the Greek Gnosticism, then Manichaeism to Christianity, Judaism, Islam where dualism almost ceases to exist. Um, but it's like, it starts here. And, and so like pure dualism is there is definitely distinct two principles two gods, to divine entities, right. That one is not necessarily greater over the other that they have completely separate domains.

[00:43:27] Um, and you know, one is responsible for all the evil one is responsible for all the good and they are in conflict. Um, We get themes of that, because with some of these religions, the monotheistic ones in particular, they have to have this insistence that there is only one God. And so with a dualism that becomes problematic yet, they still believe it.

[00:43:54] Um, there's a YouTube video out there. The, of, of a guy who was talking about the Christians don't even know that they have two gods, that, that there is the one God. And then there that Satan's a God and that they don't recognize, but it's a God, you know? So I think his ideas kind of, he's tapping into this dualism thing and realizing that I'll see if I can find that YouTube video and post it in the show notes.

[Don here: Sorry to say I could not find this video. Might have been on Facebook but that thing is notoriously awful to search.]

[00:44:24] Um, yeah. So all of these religions though, they differ from one another. Um, they posit a God who is independent, powerful, and good. But whose power is to a degree limited by some other principle or force or, you know, force, uh, this will become an argument that there is only one God, and he is all good and all powerful.

[00:44:45] And yet there is another force that is powerful and evil. And so this can range. This can still include polytheism all the way to monotheism and dualism in Christianity develops out of the borrowed concepts from the Greeks that the spirit itself is considered good. And the material world, the flesh, your body, matter, is considered evil.

[00:45:12] We're going to talk a lot about Gnosticism and this Greek idea in an upcoming episode, when we get into the Greeks contributions to good and evil. Um, but that dualism is there. Good evil spirit flesh. Big big things going on here, Zoroastrian sacrifice the gods, uh, omnipotence that powerfulness in order to preserve his absolute goodness, they claim that the two principles are totally independent yet they meet and clash and the good one will inevitably prevail over the evil one.

[00:45:51] Okay. So that's, that's the thing. Now we have, the good is going to win. Yeah. So we have Ahura Mazda. We've talked about him and we've had Angra Mainyu which we haven't totally mentioned yet. Um, or also known as Ahriman. So Ahura Mazda is the wise Lord. Um, and his name would, uh, in a later version of Zoroastrianism be called Ohrmazd.

[00:46:19] Jeremy Spray: So is that, is that like, kind of like a, just a shortened version of it or is that an actual transitional name Ahura Mazda? 

[00:46:28] Don Early: Yeah. I probably probably that, um, 

[00:46:32] Jeremy Spray: yeah, Ahura Mazda's a wicked awesome name by the way. Right. That's a really cool name. Yeah. 

[00:46:38] Don Early: Um, and apparently the Japanese thought it was really cool too. And they named a car after it 

[00:46:45] Jeremy Spray: and a star Trek communications officer hell Ya, right?

[00:46:50] Oh, Ahura 

[00:46:52] Don Early: he is the highest God creator of heaven and earth material and spiritual world. He represents the truth and goodness, um, like capital T capital G. He is the source of the alternation between light and darkness. He is the law-giver and the very center of nature. And he is surrounded by six or seven other beings called amesha spentas.

[00:47:20] Or beneficence immortals. And these kind of can be thought of later of the Christian ideas of archangels, 

[00:47:29] Jeremy Spray: he said at the same time he did that was rad. 

[00:47:32] Emily Quann: I'm quiet, but like the gears are turning in my head while this is going on.

[00:47:38] Don Early: Yeah. Um, and we're getting there. This is, this is good stuff, which, um, and they have these different, amesha spentas may have been just different representations or expressions of O'Hara Mazda, or they may have been separate, uh, separate entities. Yeah. So, uh, who we have here are the good spirit. Um, this is justice or truth.

[00:48:07] Righteous thinking is, is the next one. Devotion desirable, dominion. 

[00:48:17] Jeremy Spray: Whoa. 

[00:48:18] Don Early: Okay. Yeah, this is like a righteous rulership, um, wholeness and immortality and the gods and humanity are bound by the same ethical principles. So that's cool. 

[00:48:38] Jeremy Spray: Oh, that's really cool. So humanity of the gods have the same 

[00:48:41] Don Early: laws. Yeah.

[00:48:44] And they're governed by this notion. That truth is good. Yeah. And so we, I say he's later known as, uh, Ohrmazd. I'm Angra Mainyu or Ahriman.. He is the opponent of Ahura Mazda. He is the destructive spirit that embodies the principles of evil and his followers who have freely chosen him. They're also evil.

[00:49:12] This is rooted in Zoroastrian cosmology, which we will get into very shortly. Sweet. Is Zarathushtra perceived Angra Mainyu as the personification of the lie, which was the essence of evil. 

[00:49:27] Emily Quann: So if truth is the ultimate good, then evil would be 

[00:49:32] Don Early: it's interesting to me that that is the source now between good and evil is truth and lies.

[00:49:41] That's where I'm just wondering what was going on. I mean, sure. Lying has always been bad, but there had to be some kind of like, wait a minute. Lying is the worst.

[00:49:57] Jeremy Spray: The, the, the ultimate sign of evil 

[00:50:01] Don Early: forms recall that CS Lewis agreed with this saying, you know, the lie is the worst of sins because it renders the cosmos unintelligible and unlovable. And again, Is later known as Ahriman I 

[00:50:16] Emily Quann: sky captain in the world of tomorrow. 

[00:50:18] Jeremy Spray: There you go.

[00:50:26] Got it. Best interruption ever. Got it. Sorry. 

[00:50:31] Emily Quann: Like I said, you guys, I might be a little quiet here, but the gears are turning. Lots of things are happening at once up in this brain,, but yes, there we go. Apologies. Apologies. Carry on. That was bothering me. I was like, I know this movie. 

[00:50:48] Jeremy Spray: Morning. That's great. 

[00:50:51] Don Early: Wasn't Angelina Jolie in that one?

[00:50:53] Jeremy Spray: Yes. Yes. Okay. And 

[00:50:54] Don Early: Jude Law she had an eye patch, right? 

[00:50:58] Jeremy Spray: She. Do you look 

[00:51:04] Emily Quann: wasn't GwynethPaltrow in it too. 

[00:51:07] Jeremy Spray: I don't know. Oh, by the way, the whole connection of Cyrus, to 300 is a wild rabbit hole that we're not going to deal with, but it's not even worth show notes but we'll talk about it after the show. Cause it's it's bananas.

[00:51:21] Don Early: Okay. I'm glad that you found that. Cause it wasn't worth my time to look it up. So 

[00:51:27] Jeremy Spray: it's crazy. 

[00:51:29] Don Early: Cool. All right. So there are four major strands of Zoroastrianism. Uh, there is the teachings of Zarathustra himself. Um, then those of Mazda ism, and this is the religion that sort of forms after death. So Mazdaism becomes the main line Zoroastrianism.

[00:51:53] Zervanism comes next and it is a considered a heretical offshoot of Mazda ism. And then those of the Magi whose teachings gradually diverged from orthodoxy and eventually helped produce the Mithraism of the Hellenistic period. The Greeks thought of Zoroastrians that they in came encounter with as Magi, wisemen, who possessed hidden knowledge of magic and the stars, which is exactly where we get the words magic and magician and that sort of thing.

[00:52:30] Yeah. Nice. These are the Magi I mentioned in the Bible. They are Zoroastrians. Super 

[00:52:40] Jeremy Spray: cool. That's awesome. Yeah. Also, can I jump back real quick on a phrase that you just said, I want to make sure I'm getting this right. Zervanism. We, you said that was a heretical offshoot, so that's. A different, uh, branch.

[00:52:55] Like if I was going to put it into Christianity terms, you've got Presbyterians and you've got Southern Baptist. It's not like that where they're both Christians, the heretical version is saying that like, you guys are way off and you're, and you have lost your way because Zervanism are, or it's different religion at that point.

[00:53:13] Don Early: I'm guessing it's something akin to Catholicism and Protestantism. Okay. You know that deep of a divide. Yeah. But maybe even more than that, I don't know. Okay, 

[00:53:24] Jeremy Spray: cool. I think I just wanted to clarify you hit you said the word heretical real fast. And I was like, I got to remember what that means. I'm going to get it track on that.

[00:53:33] Appreciate it. 

[00:53:33] Don Early: I'm glad you did now. Uh, to clarify, is there a Zarathushtra I'm going to call him Zoroaster we're done with this mouthful of continents going with vowels. Zoroaster uh, himself took a position midway between monism and du dualism Mazda ism moved it decidedly towards dualism conservatism made a partial return in the direction of monism.

[00:54:08] Um, but in all three, the evil spirit opposes the good spirit. Okay. So I guess the point is there's four branches. Uh, they range in a spectrum. Like the dualism is not absolute, there is an absolute, but there's a spectrum of what that dualism actually means. Cool. All right. Well, let's get into some of the myths, like the, you know, what, what is the Ahriman prophecy?

[00:54:40] What is, you know, um, or under a menu? Uh, Emily, you want to start us off with the Mazda? I got 

[00:54:50] Emily Quann: this. As soon as my screen opens, I got this 

[00:54:54] Jeremy Spray: shit.

[00:55:04] Emily Quann: Okay. Yes. Mazdaist Myth. Alright. Okay. So like what, what Don was saying is that, uh, in the beginning, there's two spirits, right.Ohrmazd or Ahura Mazda and Ahriman, uh, the, uh, Angra Mainyu and they are separated by this big void. So you got Angra Mainyu over here and you got Ahura Mazda over here and, Ohrmazd, good, light, he's eternal. 

[00:55:39] Don Early: Uh, just cause you were saying Ohrmazd, uh, Ohrmazd is Ahura Mazda. So I'm just making that connection. Once again, we're using two different versions. So I think we're talking about Ohrmazd mostly and Ahriman mostly. So, uh, for the listeners just know that that's what that, 

[00:55:58] Emily Quann: okay. Um, so, Ohrmazd, isn't everywhere there though.

[00:56:03] He's not omnipresent. Uh, he's limited by this void and by Ahriman who's on the other side. Um, he knows that Ahriman's over there and that the only way that, uh, he can free himself from, from this spatial limitation, uh, is by defeating Ahriman and being able to become infinite, uh, Ohrmazd though, doesn't initiate any contact or struggle with Ahriman.

[00:56:35] I, I acknowledge you're there and that's it.

[00:56:43] Jeremy Spray: Right. You're 

[00:56:46] Emily Quann: there. I see you. You're there now Armaun though is also limited in space. Now, remember, this is the dark Naval one. Um, and oh wait,

[00:57:02] so sorry about that. Ahriman is dark and evil, and he's also limited in space by this void and by Ramaz who is beyond the void. Uh, he's also limited in time by the certainty of his eventual ruin at the hand of where Mazda. So Armaun once was not, and again will not be. So now if Ohrmazd is eternal and Ahriman is the opposite of Ohrmazd, we have this dualism here, then Ahriman

[00:57:42] Is not eternal. That means he's, there's going to be an inch to him. Finite. Yes. So, uh, the non being of Ahriman indicates his non Ohrmazd-ness, right? So he's, he's the destroyer, this destructive spirit who is wicked and full of death is liar. A deceiver and Ohrmazd, and Ahriman are good and evil by their own choice, but, um, are eternally bound by their natures.

[00:58:17] They are who they are and, and that's it. 

[00:58:21] Jeremy Spray: It's totally my excuse from now on. I can't help it.

[00:58:27] way nature. 

[00:58:30] Emily Quann: Uh, so one of, uh, Ohrmazd first acts is to limit time. And removing it from the infinite by setting a term to it because he knows that he can only engage with Ahriman and destroy him within time. And so he sets time to 12,000 years. 

[00:58:52] Don Early: Okay. So hang 

[00:58:53] Jeremy Spray: on a second. Where does it, where does that term come from?

[00:58:55] Is that a calendar that 12,000 years? Do 

[00:58:58] Don Early: we know where that it's just a number in the writings 

[00:59:02] Emily Quann: that I don't know the background of 

[00:59:03] Don Early: where they came up? It's it's uh, yeah. It's they said, okay. Time has a set limit. It's 12,000 years. This is what happen. 

[00:59:14] Jeremy Spray: So 

[00:59:14] Emily Quann: that's the setup. So we have the myth. All right. So,

[00:59:33] um, in the beginning, or must knows Ahriman exists, but Ahriman in his dark ignorance on the other side of the void has no idea Ohrmazd exists. Now in the first 3000 years, Ahriman looks across the void and sees a point of light and having seen it, he super wants it. He covets it less for it and wants to possess it.

[01:00:02] Does that sound familiar? Is anybody getting Lord of the rings vibes here?

[01:00:09] Jeremy Spray: That was the worst. Impression I've ever done in my life. It was bad just because someone got that out. That was, that was not even a Smiggle that wasn't even close to it. I got to start over. I will. I'm going to mute and come back to that bear 

[01:00:25] Emily Quann: right now.

[01:00:29] Jeremy Spray: Oh, sorry. I was practicing. Yeah. Keep, keep going. You're fine. 

[01:00:33] Emily Quann: So Orman has to now create all the good things and Armani creates all the evil things think like scorpions and toads. 

[01:00:43] Don Early: So clearly, 

[01:00:45] Emily Quann: clearly evil. So what would it, or MAs do I heard something about like puppies and otters and 

[01:00:54] Jeremy Spray: things and talks are called spiky dogs, 

[01:01:01] Emily Quann: uh, and the water dogs, the otters of course.

[01:01:05] We saw a video earlier that mentioned, uh, hedgehogs and otters as being associated with, um, or MAs. So in case you listeners are wondering, what the hell are they talking about? That's that 

[01:01:21] Jeremy Spray: all cute and lovable things are good and therefore, Ohrmazd 

[01:01:27] Emily Quann: Don we'll link that Don we'll link that. So, all right.

[01:01:31] So anyway, with his weapons of darkness, desire, particularly strong sexual desire and disorder, Ahriman attacks, Ohrmazd creations due to his envy and lust 

[01:01:46] Don Early: for what? So with his strong sexual desire he attacks or creation that that creates kind of an image of 

[01:01:59] Jeremy Spray: yeah. That's a that's I mean, it's a valid point, but like, I, it's interesting to think that a, a strong sexual desire and need to lust after something is again, associated with Ahriman, with such destruction and destruction.

[01:02:20] Yeah. 

[01:02:23] Emily Quann: So Ohrmazd, although he knows that he asked to destroy Ahriman. He attempts to avert the struggle because, you know, he's the good guy and in the spirit of love and mercy, he goes and offers Ahriman peace. If Ahriman would praise the good creation, not as anyone else think this sounds kind of like Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness anywhere.

[01:02:52] Don Early: I think that's kind of interesting because it, you know, in the Bible in a, in a gospel. This is Satan. Satan is saying, you know, if you would just worship me, I would free you, you know, bow down to my kingdoms. I would give you everything. And Hormel is, does, you know, the good guy is actually kind of saying to Ahriman, Hey, you know, everything's all golden.

[01:03:19] If you just, you know, praise what I did. 

[01:03:24] Emily Quann: Yeah. But Ahriman thinks this is a total weak ass gesture and refuses the offer. 

[01:03:29] Don Early: So

[01:03:32] Jeremy Spray: Satan and Jesus, now Ahriman is metal.

[01:03:39] Don Early: He's got this. 

[01:03:40] Emily Quann: So then almost shows him what his inevitable fate's going to be. And Ahriman is horrified by the terrible revelation of his. Well, unavoidable ruin, um, and falls into the outer darkness where he, you know, like you do passes out for 3000 years,

[01:04:08] so dramatic God. Um, so after that, Ahriman wakes up and he is pissed and he engages in war with Ohrmazd for the next 3000 years. And it's a super evenly matched fight and no one gains any ground. And then it's the final 3000 years, uh, where it ends with the destruction of the evil one. And that was all kind of, well, I mean, sorta prophesied,

[01:04:47] Don Early: so that Ahriman on prophecy where it's like, Hey, okay, we've where we have this evil one. But eventually he's going to get wiped out. So the PR, you know, it's 

[01:04:59] Emily Quann: inevitable, this is, this is how it is going to end. So, and then, yeah. That's yeah. 

[01:05:06] Don Early: Crazy. So what, what, what ideas, what Christian ideas can you identify that are eerily similar to everything we just heard?

[01:05:15] Jeremy Spray: Well, there was the, the story of the temptation in the wilderness, right? So we saw that one. Um, the idea that, uh, Ahriman was kind of created out of the void and only solved void until there was a light, but then like completely went after that, that actually has a little bit of a, of a Genesis moment in there of, of once, uh, Eve gave out under the knowledge of good and evil, then they were like, oh no.

[01:05:42] And the shame of themselves and desiring other things instead of other information. So, I mean, maybe I'm stretching, but like, I, that felt familiar to me on that one. 

[01:05:53] Don Early: Well, and of course a revelation, right. I lost the 

[01:05:57] Jeremy Spray: revelation in there. Yeah. Apocalypse in the, in the great end. Great battle. So if I'm, if I'm getting it right, you said there was 3000 years of battle where it was like, even like nothing happened for 3000, but the second 3000 years.

[01:06:10] So a total of 6,000 years. And that's when Ohrmazd was like gaining, gaining an advantage, I guess, over, yeah, 

[01:06:18] Don Early: the last 3000 years or a is kicking our Romans ass and eventually 

[01:06:24] Jeremy Spray: mentally just destroys him. Yeah. It's a long fight. That's a long time. Just like, 

[01:06:31] Don Early: well, considering the last 3000 years, this whole thing was invented.

[01:06:40] Jeremy Spray: Right. Great point. So like fricking where are we on the scale? Are we in the first 3000? Is our amount of sleep? Is he just now trying to score 

[01:06:52] Emily Quann: Ahriman in the first 3000 years? That's Ahriman, um, is, is full of want and coveting all that. Or Moz has that that's first that's the first 3000 years and it's, Ohrmazd creates good things.

[01:07:11] And Ahriman creates even things. So that's like the setup. Yeah. 

[01:07:20] Don Early: Well, Jeremy, I think you're, so your version of this myth is going to go into a lot more detail, um, and. And expounds greatly on, on what Emily just said. So why don't you take this way? Cool. 

[01:07:33] Jeremy Spray: So this is the observer night's version of that was not enough 

[01:07:36] Emily Quann: for you.

[01:07:37] Jeremy Spray: You were always enough for me, Emily. 

[01:07:39] Don Early: This is why it's heresy. Emily. Let's be clear. 

[01:07:42] Jeremy Spray: Hamburgers are great by themselves. So when you had a little catch-up on, they're pretty amazing. Just consider me your catch-up in a completely, did you 

[01:07:54] Emily Quann: compare me to a hamburger with ketchup? God, 

[01:08:01] Jeremy Spray: in a good way, in a good way.

[01:08:02] I bet sort of

[01:08:08] Emily Quann: go.

[01:08:12] Jeremy Spray: Okay.

[01:08:19] so there is one principle. Zurvan the one, God that is all in. Zurvan is both good and evil, the male and the female, the lights and the darkness order and disorder, bliss, and misery deserve and being all eternal lives by himself and gets lonely. He wants a son for 1000 years. He sacrifices, which I guess means he uses his creative powers unsuccessfully.

[01:08:49] So he doubts his creative powers, like every artist in the entire planet's doubt. Oh my God. It's so real. It's crap. Crap. Crap. Why do people even pay me for this guy? Yeah, absolutely. Good Lord. All right. So getting off of myself. Yeah. At the end of a thousand years, his wife. So what now we thought he was.

[01:09:23] So this is, oh, this is the female side of him, right? Because he's both male and female. So it's using drowsiness. So his wife then gives birth, which means he gives birth to two sons. One is the product of his love and desire who is, or MAs warm and moist God of goodness, life, light, and life. Right? So that means the other result is the moment of his doubts, Ahriman cold and dry Lord of darkness and evil.

[01:09:53] Zurvan planned on giving Ahriman nothing and intended on bestowing. The rule of the entire world to the son he loved Ohrmazd obviously, but Ahriman thrust himself out of the wound first and claims the rule to the horror of his father. It was father says, my son is light and fragrant, but they now are dark and stinking.

[01:10:21] I did not expect to poop. For a time Ahriman has the Lordship of the world. And at the same time though, the moment of its destruction and the triumph of, Ohrmazd is sets. So 

[01:10:37] Don Early: it's dropped down. Let me just interject real quick. So what we have here is a twinning of the God, right. Or, uh, becomes too, right. And the solution to this twinning, you, you know, the, it would be to reincorporate itself eventually later.

[01:10:56] Right? Well, that's not exactly what happens instead. The solution after twinning is to kill one of the twins to eliminate it entirely by cosmic battle. So, uh, this devil has become a totally alien force, not to be assimilated, but to be destroyed. I mean, if you can recall this, this is, uh, going back to a psychic suppression or it's like, you know, psychological suppression.

[01:11:25] We are not to recognize the evil in ourselves and consciously suppress it, but to deny the evil in us insist it comes from somewhere else and strive for perfection that will come when we have driven off all of its assaults. Geez. That's just a lot 

[01:11:41] Jeremy Spray: of pressure. Yeah. So that's a lot to do really quick.

[01:11:47] Let me just because of being the one and only, and then having the twins and destroying one of the twins, are we talking about, like now we're looking at a father and son moments. Yeah. I mean, it looking over a placement where's their van becomes the two others. 

[01:12:07] Don Early: It's kind of really that, right. I mean, becomes more of the concept of the cosmos, um, or this overarching almost like time, or I don't know what it is, you know, it's the, the big, big thing.

[01:12:21] Um, and that's kind of where this monism versus dualism comes in because Zurvan essentially, uh, has created or birthed Ohrmazd and Ahriman on still one God, which is , but it's these two that are fighting, but they might be still reflections of the one, you know, that's, that's where that, that scale can come in.

[01:12:49] Okay. 

[01:12:50] Jeremy Spray: All right. So w we're not talking Trinity and two sons of God, but, but there's a little bit of that in there. Just more in the concert, like, okay. I appreciate that. Alright, I'm going to jump back in. So now the same time, the moment of, of, of our amongst destruction and the triumph Ohrmazd is set Ohrmazd in prisons are Ahriman in darkness and sets about creating the cosmos.

[01:13:19] He creates life in the material world in the four manifestations, vegetation, fire, the primal bull or ox, and the ideal man, this man, by the way, his name is Gayomart. He is shining he's complete. And in always a perfect microcosm and Ohrmazd is pleased, which is so exactly what it sounds like out of Genesis as well.

[01:13:47] But Ahriman who has been slumbering for 3000 years in the outer darkness is revived by capital the whore named Jeh. And renews his assault upon Ohrmazd and his works. So the third 3000 year period begins of evenly matched war. The spearing gets still enormously powerful. Ahriman bursts forth from the outer darkness and attacks the sky, rendering it apart and plunging through the atmosphere towards the earth, upon reaching the earth.

[01:14:22] He tunnels a vast hole through it and emerging on the other side, he enters the primal waters under the earth. He is now introduced violence and disorder into the cosmos and causes darkness to fall. Ahriman creates all of the load. Some things think of whatever you hate. What is, what does the gross thing?

[01:14:41] Scorpions Vipers toads, ugliness destructive forces, storms, drought, disease, death.

[01:14:53] Warts, right. Male pattern baldness, all of it. It's just all created by Ahriman. Yeah. He creates all of the demons and destroys life, killing the fire, the plants, the primal locks and shiny game art. And he is now well-pleased Ahriman now intends on returning to the outer darkness to glows, but Ahriman creates the souls of men yet to be born.

[01:15:25] They freely choose Ohrmazd and help him again, feeds ancient foe, binding Ahriman within the cosmos and within time preventing his 

[01:15:34] Don Early: escape. Once again, we have that, uh, freewill, you know, people choosing good. Yeah. Choosing the side, you know, and, 

[01:15:46] Jeremy Spray: and really setting themselves with a foe in and a hero.

[01:15:50] Absolutely. Ohrmazd now has time to repair the damage. And in the end, vanquish and destroy the destructive one, Ahriman Ohrmazd introduces the resurrection, the corpse of the great ox fertilizes, the sterile land, rain wet, the dry earth and plants grow and green the world. Again, fire is rekindled. The seed of the deed of Gayomart enters the womb of the earth dead.

[01:16:20] Sorry. The seed of the dead GAM marts enters the womb of the earth with Springs forth. The ancestors of humanity, Masha and his wife. Uh Mashanya. I probably said that wrong. Go with it. All right. Cool. The first couple have freewill again, just like you were saying, and initially choose to love and serve Ohrmazd, but Ahriman tempts them with the essence of sin.

[01:16:47] It's. He tells them a lie. They believe the lie. And then they repeat, it's choosing the lie over truth Masha. And say that Ahriman not Ohrmazd has created the material world. Then they add another sin. The first couple sacrifice, an ox, the holy cattle. Yeah. That's what they sacrificed. Masha and Mashanya are tempted by Ahriman, but sinning of their own free will they fall from grace.

[01:17:23] They do learn knowledge and understanding of the arts of civilization. They make clothing, they can cook, et cetera, but they also learn suffering into the world now in shrewd, strife and hatred and disease and poverty and even death. Masha and Mashanya can no longer function according to their intended nature Ohrmazd wants them to be fruitful and multiply, but they abstain from sexual intercourse for 50 freaking years.

[01:17:53] That is the worst sentence I've read so far tonight. That's a terrible idea. Oh, it gets worse. Oh no. When they do finally come together, they birth twins. Oh. And then eat them! Oh my God. Yeah. Ohrmazd then causes the couple to be fertile. Again, more children are born and their parents have teamed their ferocious urges and survive to become the ancestors of the human race.

[01:18:25] Human nature is henceforth threefold. At this point, it is demonic as well as animalistic and divine yet the sin of Masha. And bind us to. Even though that happens, we still retain our free will. The original sin of our first parents did work the conditions of our lives, but it did not bend our will towards Ahriman.

[01:18:51] If we live lives of moderation and respect for the God, we do the God's will. And after obligation to always fight the lie moderation is the chief duty of humanity. 

[01:19:05] Don Early: Yeah. That last one is really a summary of the first three that you just said. Yeah. So, uh, fighting the lie is definitely the first order of business in Zoroastrianism.

[01:19:18] Um, and then second to that is, you know, everything in moderation, so yeah. 

[01:19:25] Jeremy Spray: Wow. Yeah, that's an intense. There's a lot that goes into there, but like holy smoke, right. Come on. But like they're already into the, like buying into the lie. So like, there's, there's a whole level of, of the, like they have been lost.

[01:19:41] Like I totally see that happening. And even when they, like, when they freaking have sex finally and have kids, they're still in almost this animalistic mindset of the so far from good and, and far from understanding what Ohrmazd wants. 

[01:19:58] Don Early: Yeah. It's interesting that they're able to turn it around though. Um, and, and that Ohrmazd has keeps at them, keeps making them fertile, keeps trying to, you know, have give them the opportunity to re redeem themselves.

[01:20:18] But man does. Obviously sound like the snake in the garden, right? 

[01:20:23] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. Huge. That is, that's almost a line for line there. Yeah. Super direct. I love that. The idea of the souls of men who are yet to be born was that creation and like it, that was like a line that like, oh, that sets up the power of the soul, right?

[01:20:43] Like there's, there's, there's in the stories of conflict of the devil is trying to steal souls and having to try to retain as many as possible. And there's all sorts of, uh, LOR or, you know, fantasy stories about what that could mean a why sense are so important, but the idea that the, the freedom of souls could be the tipping point of the, of the battle you have all of humanity or all of creation.

[01:21:05] That's kind of cool. 

[01:21:07] Don Early: I kind of wonder how much of that, uh, comes from, um, reincarnation ideas out of, you know, early Hinduism. Oh yeah. 

[01:21:17] Jeremy Spray: For sure, because the, cause that's the continuation of the soul right. Into it. Just a different physical body. Right, 

[01:21:22] Don Early: right. Yeah. Wow. All right. Well, uh, let's, uh, there's a couple of more things and then we'll wrap it up.

[01:21:33] Demons could change form and Ahriman could take on the appearance of a lion, a snake lizard, or even a handsome youth. Some or Zoroastrian theologians argued that arm on did not have a physical body since matter is the creation of the good God. That's interesting. But he could adopt the form. He saw fit as a disguise so he could look like whatever, but it didn't actually have a form.

[01:22:00] How does it reminds me of the LDS episode of Satan a little bit. He didn't have a body, but he could appear as. Some demons were associated primarily with the female. The female principle is ambivalent. Meaning it can go either way, but it unfortunately often appears in the negative, uh, rather than the positive.

[01:22:29] So are you shocked? I'm not shocked. No one myth presents Jeh as the mistress of Ahriman and having had intercourse with the prince of darkness. She then pollutes Gayomart, the woman, woman, the viral seducer is more prominent in Zoroastrianism than woman, the fostering mother. So misogyny of religion is super 

[01:22:56] Emily Quann: strong here.

[01:23:00] Don Early: Um, Ahriman has always masculine and of course, uh, so is foremost. So there you go. Uh, the Mazdaist a Mazdaist afterlife, Zoroastrian, uh, AF after life. You know, as we kind of think about the personal and then the cosmic, um, we do have these two forms. So the personal, so this is what happens to you after you die upon death, the soul proceeds to the Chivnat bridge where it is judged by the three, just but terrible judges, Mihr, Srosh,j and Rashnu. The soul's

[01:23:35] gU excuse me, the soul's good deeds are weighted against the bad while demons crowd around seeking to tip the balance against the soul. Oh wow. After the judges make their ruling, the soul is allowed to continue on to the. If his good deeds outweighed the bad he is met by a beautiful maiden personifying, the goodness of his soul, who leads him across the bridge to paradise.

[01:24:03] If his bad deeds outweighed the good, the bridge turns presenting a razor sharp edge, and he topples uncontrollably into the abyss where the demons carry him off to hell 

[01:24:14] Emily Quann: When you mentioned the bridge I was remembering Yasmeen. And the bridge is thin as a hair that 

[01:24:21] Don Early: You mean this clip right here. 

[01:24:23] Yasmin Bendaas: I remember a story that I remember growing up was that there will be as part of the sorting, there will be like a bridge you have to cross, and this bridge is going to be thinner than a hair.

[01:24:35] And if you had faith and did good deeds, you would be able to cross this bridge. And if you didn't you'd fall and you fall into hell, I think... 

[01:24:43] Don Early: So. That's yeah, Yasmin's bridge right there. Yeah. Uh, huge either result was because of our free will and our free choices over life. Again, freewill being very, very huge a concept here.

[01:25:01] Hell with Jeremy, you, you described it. Hell is located in the center of the earth, in the cavity created by Ahriman from his descent. Uh, it is infested by hostile demons who are the only companions of the damn souls. The souls are gnawed, swallowed pierced, subjected to terrible heat and biting cold loathesome and putrid food and torments, uh, that are adapted to the crime.

[01:25:31] So that sounds familiar. Yeah, absolutely. Right. 

[01:25:37] Jeremy Spray: Hell yeah. That's 

[01:25:38] Don Early: apparently. Like this, this is a different hell than anybody's used to seeing 

[01:25:43] Jeremy Spray: and hell in earth, which is really interesting. Cause that's, there's been a lot 

[01:25:49] Don Early: of debate about the underworld has often been thought of as subterranean. I 

[01:25:54] Emily Quann: did just send you both a meme about this.

[01:25:56] Yes. That should also be posted on the page. 

[01:26:01] Don Early: Okay. We'll do, but hell is not eternal. When the time comes at last, all souls will be saved when, uh, Ohrmazd triumphs over Ahriman. So at the end of that, so even if you're in hell, once it's done, everybody goes to paradise. So it's a limited time only. 

[01:26:24] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. 

[01:26:25] Emily Quann: Jesus descending into hell for three days and then rising 

[01:26:27] Don Early: again.

[01:26:28] Yeah. Right 

[01:26:30] Jeremy Spray: in the end of revelations, right at the great battle of the end times, all souls are, are recovered. 

[01:26:36] Don Early: So now the cosmic after 3000 years of warfare, or most presses Ahriman on every side causing the forces of evil to turn on themselves because they see their impending doom, 

[01:26:52] Jeremy Spray: sorry, noisy 

[01:26:56] Don Early: Zervanites held that when evil turned against evil, the demon Az devoured devours, Ahriman, and then Ohrmazd destroys Az, eliminating all traces of evil.

[01:27:10] The cosmos is restored without any evil in all or admitted to eternal bliss, including the previously damned souls. So thus the principle of easel of the principle of evil has an end. And in that end, all hopes both for the cosmic and the individual will be fulfilled. Yeah. I mean, come on that time, clearly, like this, this is the here and then Christianity and in Judaism are, are going along, you know, they they're, they're forming out of this parallel time period.

[01:27:52] Right? Yeah. Seems pretty influential to me. Yeah. I 

[01:27:57] Jeremy Spray: totally agree. Without being direct descended, like was saying earlier, but like, yeah, 

[01:28:01] Don Early: it's not like, oh, I learned this from, you know, the magi it's, um, like, oh, that idea kind of makes sense in our context and that sort of, that must mean this and yeah. Blah, blah, blah.

[01:28:15] Yeah. So, uh, to summarize Zoroastrianism changed the cosmic landscape of religion by introducing dualism that isn't the high God's fault. Um, and that there's evil. You know, evil comes from the evil one, the arch enemy of the high God post exilic Jewish writings and early Christian writings, particularly the apocalyptic books like Daniel, the book of Enoch and revelation differed significantly in theology and theodicy than before the Babylonians exiled the Jews, there was a clear change in theology and thought before the exile and after the exile. Um, and that, that, I mean, this is not new, but a lot of people don't know this. And a lot of people don't unders don't necessarily know, or maybe even care about, um, you know, how these writings changed, but this is how we get the devil.

[01:29:16] This is how this comes about. Um, and so we have to understand why did it develop that way? Um, and we're starting to get that picture now. So. There is now, now we have a being of ultimate evil and darkness. We have the first devil. He is the enemy of the God and of humanity, and he wants humanity to go against the higher God evil and good.

[01:29:46] Our free will choices and the high God is not responsible for the evil in the world. And in fact, he wars against it. The first human couple was tempted by the evil one and chose to sin against the high God who believed in the lie, but they are redeemed. Um, but at the same time, their sin brought pain and sorrow into the world.

[01:30:12] And yet there is still hope. There will come a judgment, both for the individual and for the cosmos. You are granted paradise or dragged to hell deep underground for punishment and torment based on your freewill choices. But those in Hell will eventually be free and live in paradise after the high God is in it, inevitably kicks the living shit out of the evil one and destroys it once and for all.

[01:30:39] And also there's that bridge thing and the bridge thing 

[01:30:43] Jeremy Spray: now that's there we go. There it is. That's we've been building for this. Yeah. Like, like getting into the first friggin like devil figure. We got it Ahriman. 

[01:30:57] Don Early: This is great. I I'm excited to finally, I mean, it is so clear to me. It's so clear now that these familiar stories, I think they're obviously influenced by this hugely.

[01:31:13] Oh, very much. Yeah. Um, and it's just cool to connect the dots. Cuno cool to say, oh, the Magi. Who are these wisemen oh, they're Zoroastrians. They were astronomers and they knew math. Heaven and hell good and evil. There was a devil. 

[01:31:34] Jeremy Spray: Whoa. 

[01:31:35] Don Early: Yeah. Who seemed to be pretty cool about other religions, you know, bearing gifts to the baby.

[01:31:45] You know, once again, that's not necessarily a historical thing. Those are first century CE Christian writers thinking back 50 years earlier, or, or 70 years or 80 or a hundred years earlier, putting those ideas together, um, that we'll get into that later, but that, you know, don't make the mistake that the Bible is.

[01:32:11] Yeah, no, no one's sitting there. Yeah, exactly. All right. Well, I think we're here. Um, you have been listening to the devil. You don't know, uh, we've said it many times, check out the show notes for more resources and links about today's episode. If that interests you. This is, uh, about the midway point in our series on the ancient origins of the devil.

[01:32:40] Well, we will pick up the second half in the new year that said, do expect some, uh, interview episodes. And maybe even, I'm still trying to figure out how, if we can do this dramatic readings of something that's public domain that relates to the devil. Uh, I have a really great idea. I think we would have a lot of fun doing it.

[01:33:00] I just need to figure out how to accomplish it legally.

[01:33:08] If you are enjoying this podcast, obviously please do leave us a review on apple podcasts or pod chaser. Uh, you know, right now we're just trying to get the word out and get people to even know that we exist. So that would be wonderful. Follow us on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. And if you want to support the show, uh, you know, check us out on Patreon at

[01:33:33] Um, you know, subscribe Spotify, apple podcast, Google podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. So thank you for listening. Happy holidays and happy new year 

[01:33:47] everyone. 

[01:33:48] Don Early: Bye .

Review of Ancient Egypt
Review of Ancient Mesopotamia
Review of Ancient Canaan
Cyrus the Great
Ahuras/Asuras & Daevas
Angra Mainyu/Ahriman
4 Major Strands of Zoroastrianism
Emily tells the Mazdaist Myth
Jeremy tells the Zervanite Myth
Zoroastrian Cosmology/Eschatology
Don Summarizes