Martin Schwartz, How Zarathushtra Generated the Gathic Corpus: Inner-textual and Intertextual Composition


This article constitutes a revised and expanded statement of the author's most recent discoveries concerning the compositions of the Gathas of Zarathushtra.
     The principles of systematic concentric ring-composition (in various patterns) which govern the compostion of each individual canonical poem are set forth. The same principles of concentrism are noted as applying to sequences of stanzas within many of of the canonical poems. These inner concentric compositions represent the earlier completed poems ("proto-poems") and, overlapping with the last line of the latter, concentically composed expansions of the proto-poems, the two inner compositions together forming the basis of the canonical (i.e. final) poems of the corpus.
    The article also sets forth the principle of sequential recursive compostion, whereby, proceeding forwards and backwards, beginning with the first poem composed, each stanza of the poem contributes consecutive lexical material toward the skeleton of the next poem to have been  composed, upon completion of whose composition both poems similarly yield  the skeleton of a third poem, and so forth. Each poem in our corpus (except the first poem composed), reflects, in all of its stanzas, the sequential recasting of lexical elememts from the earlier compositions, poem by poem, in order of their authorship.
     Recursive composition is illustrated, with charts, of poems which bear on Zarathushtra's etymological play on components of ten Gathic personal/family names.

 

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