Philip Kreyenbroek, On the Construction of Zoroastrianism in Western Iran

The discrepancies between the evidence of the Old Persian Inscriptions and that of the Avesta have led many scholars to conclude that the Achaemenids were not Zoroastrians. This paper will argue that Ahura Mazda is an exclusively Zoroastrian divinity, and that the references to his name in the Inscriptions therefore imply that Zoroastrianism played a key role in the world-view of the Achaemenids. It will further be argued that most earlier theories were informed by an "essentialist" view of the way religion functions and develops, which should be abandoned particularly when dealing with a largely "oral" culture.