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In Search of Zarathustra: Across Iran and Central Asia to Find the World's First Prophet


In Search of Zarathustra: Across Iran and Central Asia to Find the World's First Prophet Cover

ISBN13: 9781400031429
ISBN10: 1400031427
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Long before the first Hebrew temple, before the birth of Christ or the mission of Muhammad, there lived in Persia a prophet to whom we owe the ideas of a single god, the cosmic struggle between good and evil, and the Apocalypse. His name was Zarathustra, and his teachings eventually held sway from the Indus to the Nile and spread as far as Britain.

Following Zarathustras elusive trail back through time and across the Islamic, Christian, and Jewish worlds, Paul Kriwaczek uncovers his legacy at a wedding ceremony in present-day Central Asia, in the Cathar heresy of medieval France, and among the mystery cults of the Roman empire. He explores pre-Muslim Iran and Central Asia, ultimately bringing us face to face with the prophet himself, a teacher whose radical humility shocked and challenged his age, and whose teachings have had an enduring effect on Western thought. The result is a tour de force of travel and historical inquiry by an adventurer in the classic tradition.

About the Author

Paul Kriwaczek was born in Vienna in 1937. At the age of two he fled Vienna and the Nazi threat with his parents, eventually arriving in England. After qualifying as a dental surgeon in 1962 and traveling extensively in Asia and Africa-including a two-year stint as the only European dentist in Kabul-he joined the BBC as a specialist in Central and South Asian affairs, and then BBC Television as a producer. He took up writing full-time in the 1990s. He lives in London.

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John Yohaelm, March 5, 2007 (view all comments by John Yohaelm)
Kriwaczek has traveled a lot and writes well about what he has seen. Then he creates theories -- that this influenced that, that this undoubtedly caused that -- and is so profligate with verbiage (and references to things strange to the reader) that the images fly by, unquestioned. In fact, it is all smoke and mirrors: he has proved nothing at all. From imagining that a castle in the Caucasus built five hundred years after the Vizigoths resembles a city in France, built in the nineteenth century, 14 centuries after the Vizigoths, he deduces all sorts of untenable religious hypotheses, sums up the complications of history in Reader's Digest fashion, and sells a book that is basically travel reminiscences and historical anecdote. Entertaining but very very thin -- Freya Stark and Rebecca West did this sort of thing much better in a more scholarly era.
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Product Details

Kriwaczek, Paul
Vintage Books
Middle East - General
Zoroaster - Influence
Zoroastrianism -- Influence.
Middle East
Religion Miscellaneous-Zoroastrianism
Religion World-Zoroastrianism
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Vintage Departures
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.06x5.27x.61 in. .63 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » World History » Middle East
Religion » Western Religions » General and Comparative Religion
Religion » World Religions » Zoroastrianism
Travel » Travel Writing » General

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