Zoroastrian Doctrine of Formation of Heavenly Bodies in Pahlavi Texts

Amir Ahmadi

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This article is about the doctrine of the formation of celestial bodies in Pahlavi texts. The doctrine is peculiar. It clashes not only with the accounts of the Gāϑā and the Younger Avesta but also with the general cosmology of Pahlavi literature. Nonetheless it must be authoritative since it is found in our main sources of Zoroastrian (Pahlavi) cosmogony and there does not seem to be an alternative account of the formation of celestial bodies. It thus prompts us to look for its background. This article presents and discusses the texts that contain the Pahlavi doctrine, examines its Avestan roots, and shows the influence of Presocratic cosmogonic speculations on the doctrine. Further, comparative material allows us to propose a conceptual genealogy of the basic constituents of the doctrine.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages32
JournalIranian Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020


  • Avesta
  • Cosmology
  • Pahlavi Literature
  • Presocratic Natural Philosophy
  • Zoroastrian Doctrine of Creation

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