From “Zurvanism” to Mazdak
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From “Zurvanism” to Mazdak book
Commonly taken as a Zoroastrian "heresy," the accentuation of Zurvan as generating the two Great Spirits, the beneficent Ohrmazd and malevolent Ahriman, as a singular primordial deity behind them, bears the appearance of "a Gnostic turn" in ancient Iranian religious history. According to the one substantial monograph on "Zurvanism," by Oxonian Robert Zaehner, who patiently mustered the primary sources, what is called the Mazdaeist establishment was settled during Persia's Sasanian dynasty. If Zurvanism was a form of Zoroastrianism or a special deviation from it in Sasanian times, it certainly did present problems for the Mazdaist mainstream believers, since it put in doubt the positive value of Creation by Ohrmazd. As for Mazdakism, it more readily complies with a Gnostic worldview than Zurvanism, since its principal doctrine appears to be one of emanationism. Mazdakism may have been influenced by Manichaeism, but it differs enough to constitute an independent assessment.