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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

The corpus of the sacred writings of the Zoroastrians is called the Avesta. A part of the Avesta, called the Widēwdād, which literally means "the law to keep demons away", is a catalog of rules and regulations that serves to prevent or reverse pollution through various rituals. The overriding importance of determining what is clean and what is unclean reflects the dualistic nature of the Zoroastrian religion. In the bodies of men, demons are represented by disease, pain, fever, and grief. In the world those manifest itself as the smoke that obscures the light of fire; the rust that destroys metals; the wolves that kill cattle; the drought that destroys the power of water and thus all vegetation. The Pahlavi Widēwdād is one of the most difficult texts in Zoroastrian literature, because of the technical nature of its subject and the poor physical state of the two extant manuscripts.

Keywords: Avesta; Pahlavi Widēwdād; Zoroastrians

10.1163/9789004269224_002
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