By Richard E. Payne
Christian groups flourished in the course of overdue antiquity in a Zoroastrian political approach, often called the Iranian Empire, that built-in culturally and geographically disparate territories from Arabia to Afghanistan into its associations and networks. while earlier stories have looked Christians as marginal, insular, and infrequently persecuted individuals during this empire, Richard Payne demonstrates their integration into elite networks, adoption of Iranian political practices and imaginaries, and participation in imperial associations. the increase of Christianity in Iran relied on the Zoroastrian thought and perform of hierarchical, differentiated inclusion, based on which Christians, Jews, and others occupied valid areas in Iranian political tradition in positions subordinate to the imperial faith. Christians, for his or her half, located themselves in a political tradition no longer in their personal making, with recourse to their very own ideological and institutional assets, starting from the writing of saints’ lives to the judicial arbitration of bishops. In putting the social heritage of East Syrian Christians on the middle of the Iranian imperial tale, A kingdom of blend is helping clarify the persistence of a culturally assorted empire throughout 4 centuries.
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Extra info for A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity (Transformation of the Classical Heritage, Volume 56)
This inscription was duplicated on the neighboring reliefs of Naqsh-e Rustam and on the image of Wahram I at Sar Mashad, where Kerdir appears alongside the king of kings as a partner in rule. According to the mowbed’s account of his own activities, he erected fire temples everywhere from the heart of Iran in Babylonia to its limits in Peshawar. He organized the performance of the Yasna and instructed believers in the principles of the Good Religion. He also claimed to have suppressed the other religions in Iranian territory: “The Zoroastrian religion [dēn mazdēsn] and the priests held great authority in the empire [šahr].
The catalyst for violence was, in the 26 The Myth of Zoroastrian Intolerance hagiographical representations, the unwavering hostility of Zoroastrian religious authorities toward Christians. In the accounts of persecution, mowbed torment and kill Christians with bloodthirsty glee, devising ever more elaborate modes of torture and execution to inflict as much pain as possible on the persecuted. If their willingness to slay Christians and destroy churches was constant, their influence at the court of the king of kings was supposed to have fluctuated.
11 To reconstruct the institutions, including norms and practices, through which Zoroastrians structured their interactions with religious others, this chapter pursues two distinct objectives. First, we recover the cosmological perspective of Zoroastrian religious authorities on the culturally diverse population of Iran, The Myth of Zoroastrian Intolerance 27 which gave rise to a range of accounts of the place of bad religions in the social and political order. Rather than seek, or even imagine, the systematic exclusion of religious others, priestly scholars developed techniques for their regulation and disciplining, with the goal of ensuring that they did not jeopardize the operation of the institutions of the Good Religion.