Dan Sheffield, The Wizirgerd ī Dēnīg and the Evil Spirit: Questions of Authenticity in Post-Classical Zoroastrianism



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The 1848 edition of the text.



The Wizirgerd ī Dēnīg is a little-known Zoroastrian Pahlavi text with a complicated history. When it was published by Peshotanji Behramji Sanjana in 1848, it quickly attracted a great deal of criticism within the Parsi community for the "unorthodox" views it contained and was dismissed as a recent forgery, resulting in the destruction of most of the printed copies of the text. In this paper, a brief account of the history of the text is given. Following this, one passage from the text is discussed, in which it is stated that the head of the Zoroastrian pantheon, Ohrmazd, created the Evil Spirit Ahrimen for the expiation of the souls of the wicked. This passage is particularly striking since it stands in opposition to other Pahlavi texts which depict a dualist cosmogony in which Ohrmazd and Ahrimen both exist prior to the creation of the cosmos.