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Tahādī Gifts, Debts, and Counter-Gifts in the Ancient Zoroastrian Ritual

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Chapter Summary

The ancient Iranian religion, Zoroastrianism or Mazdaism, is known primarily from a collection of texts referred to as the Avesta. The texts as known from extant manuscripts (from the 13th century CE and later) are composed in two forms of Old Iranian, one older and one later, which are therefore referred to as Old and Young Avestan. This chapter focuses on the Old Avestan texts, The Old Avestan texts comprise six hymns of different length, similar in form and contents to the Old Indic Rigveda. The textual references to gift-giving in the Old Avesta and the basic technical vocabulary are by now well known, as are their parallels in Old Indic poetry, especially the Rigveda. The chapter focuses on some special aspects of the Old Avestan gift exchange that have not yet been noticed or described.

Keywords: ancient Iranian religion; Avesta; Mazdaism; Old Avestan texts; Rigveda; Zoroastrianism



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