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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Zurvanism is a problematic subject in the history of the study of Zoroastrianism, for it was once hailed as the greatest challenge to ‘orthodox’ Zoroastrianism and many irreconcilable aspects with ‘real’ Zoroastrianism were conveniently disposed of by labelling them as ‘Zurbanite’ and, hence, aberrations. It has since been shown that very little evidence supports the notion of Zurvanism as a Zoroastrian ‘heresy’, and that it is mainly to be understood as one of several variants of the chief cosmogony myth. This article examines this myth, which has occasionally been invoked to explain certain aspects of the ideas of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It discusses the possible channels through which Iranian ideas may have become familiar to Jews, and those Iranian elements of the Dead Sea Scrolls that have commonly been recognized as being there: loanwords and imagery.

Keywords: Zurvanism, Zoroastrianism, Dead Sea Scrolls, Iranian ideas, loanwords, chief cosmogony myth

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