Friday, February 11, 2011

When Zarathustra Spoke, new book by Mary Settegast

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Geve Narielwalla
Date: Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 3:30 PM
Subject: When Zarathustra Spoke, new book by Mary Settegast

Dear all,

"When Zarathustra Spoke, The Reformation of Neolithic Culture and Religion," a 2005 publication, is authored by Mary Settegast, who holds a graduate degree from the UCLA at Berkely, with a degree in archaeology from Columbia University, (published by Mazda Publishers Inc.

This bold book breaks new ground with a fresh look at recent improved calibration of archaeology remains and objects, and the almost sudden change in people's pattern of livelihood during the neolithic period (8000 to6000 B.C.), for proving our traditional dating of the prophet's era, 7000 B.C. 

Starting with the various Greek mention of the Prophet Zarathustra's dating of 7000- 6000 B.C by Pliny, Eudoxus,   
Xanthus and Plutarch, the author assembles the most recent updates on information of the sites and objects of Neolithic Near East, Middle East and Central Asia.

There is  almost sudden change in people's preference for settled life with agriculture, in place of pastoralism, nomadism, (including the raiding of the few settled peoples when pastures failed.) 

There is a disappearance  of  warlike motifs, from 6500 B.C., from the archaeology digs in this region, replaced by the profusion of copper vessels, with a huge variety of patterns that reflect a new 'ideology.' (in the words of the author.)

The author further asserts there was no pressing need  for this  change from nomadism and pastoralism (or even late hunter gathering from earlier periods), and there was no pressure of population, and that people were in fact accustomed, from several centuries, of a livelihood from hunting, wild crops gathering, and grazing of lifestock that was still in the process of domesticating more animals.

Several archaeologists and scholars are referred, to put forward the new belief they hold, that dynamic change is only brought about by a new ideology, religious ideology being the only predominant one in ancient days.

This brings the author to Zarathustra, as she seems to arrive at the conclusion,  the only reason for these sudden dynamic changes in the history of neolithic civilization, seem to point at the new message from the prophet, urging people to adopt a settled way of life with agriculture. 

The author apparently argues (my conclusion from the first reading of this book) that with the present  dating of Prophet Zarathustra at 1500 B.C.-1100 B.C. or the other dating of 600 B.C. by which times agriculture was a long established way of life, why would the new message place so much stress on agriculture and reverence for all of nature. This would be far more relevant in a more ancient dates, the traditional dating of the prophet, also mentioned by the Greeks, of around 6500 B.C. , when the peoples of the ancient regions were made aware of the benefits of a settled agricultural life, and the required care of the natural elements for the best results for agriculture.

The author brings forth the new (for me atleast) finding that the huge number of copper vessels of this period are not used for any domestic purpose (as by the latest and new scientific methods show) like cooking or storing(!!!), but for only artistic and thus ceremonial purposes(!)

As all communication between peoples of those days was oral, the huge profusion of patterns and motifs on vessels and bowls, of a very high degree of artistry, could have a hidden layer of meaning: there is, for example, one motif of the Sun in the center of a pattern, seen on many vessels - is this the Sun standing still at creation of the Universe by Ahura Mazda? Because, the author also finds, patterns that show the Sun "moving," which as per our traditions of the creation story, where after Ahriman's attack on the good creation, the sun begins to move in the heavens.

There are repeatedly a huge number of vessels with patterns of light and dark shades, would this be the struggle between good and evil, the author asks?

She clarifies further that the close similarity of the Gatha dialect with the Rigveda, could also mean  this latter literature based on words of similarity derived from the more ancient proto-Indo European group, but may be of a much later date, ie the available dialects had not changed much!

The book is interesting, explores new ground with new methods of dating for archaeology etc, that forms the basis for the ancient dating of Zarathustra, that is why I thought I should inform that reading this book is worth it. For me it is available at my local council library.

Geve Narielwalla

We have a book here that explores the traditional dating of Prophet Zarathustra within the new findings                  



No comments: