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What You will learn?

  • Understand the historical origins and development of Zoroastrianism within the context of ancient Persia.
  • Identify and explain the core beliefs and tenets of Zoroastrianism, including the concepts of Ahura Mazda, Angra Mainyu, and the cosmic dualism.
  • Analyze the significance and teachings of the primary sacred texts, including the Avesta and the Gathas.
  • Recognize the key practices, rituals, and ceremonies central to Zoroastrian worship, with a special emphasis on the role of fire and other elements.
  • Evaluate the influence of Zoroastrianism on other major world religions and its contributions to theological thought.
  • Discuss the challenges and adaptations faced by Zoroastrianism in the modern era, especially post the Islamic conquest of Persia.
  • Appreciate the cultural and historical significance of Zoroastrian festivals, traditions, and community events.
  • Engage critically with firsthand accounts and narratives from the Zoroastrian community, understanding the lived experiences of its members.
  • Reflect on the diasporic experiences of Zoroastrians, especially in the context of migration, identity, and community preservation.
  • Contribute to and engage in scholarly discussions, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the nuances within Zoroastrian theology and practice.


Introduction to Zoroastrianism
Explore the foundations of one of the oldest monotheistic religions in the world, Zoroastrianism. Discover its origins, fundamental principles, and its significant role in shaping theological and philosophical thought. This module will set the stage for a deeper understanding of the intricate tapestry of beliefs, rituals, and traditions that characterize this ancient faith, providing insights into its enduring significance.

  • 00:00
  • What is Zoroastrianism?
  • Key Figures in Early Zoroastrianism
  • Basic Tenets and Beliefs
  • The Importance of Studying Zoroastrianism

Foundational History
Venture back in time to unravel the early history of Zoroastrianism, from its inception with the Prophet Zoroaster to its spread and flourishing within ancient Persia. Uncover the triumphs and tribulations of Zoroastrianism through the eons, and understand the contexts and circumstances that have influenced its evolution and interpretation, setting the stage for a deeper exploration of its texts, teachings, and practices.

Core Beliefs and Theology
Delve into the profound theological constructs of Zoroastrianism, exploring its unique conception of divinity, the nature of existence, and the cosmic struggle between good and evil. Unravel the ethical frameworks and moral imperatives that guide Zoroastrian thought and conduct, providing a comprehensive understanding of its philosophical underpinnings and spiritual ethos.

Sacred Texts of Zoroastrianism
Immerse in the rich tapestry of Zoroastrian scriptures, understanding the origins, compositions, and significance of texts like the Avesta and the Gathas. Explore the theological debates, ethical teachings, and ritual instructions encoded within these sacred writings, and appreciate the intricate interweaving of belief, practice, and tradition they represent.

Rituals, Practices, and Sacred Symbols
Experience the living traditions of Zoroastrianism through an exploration of its rituals, practices, and sacred symbols. Learn about the pivotal role of fire in worship, the rites of passage marking life’s milestones, and the deeper meanings behind the iconic Faravahar symbol. This module offers a window into the tangible expressions of Zoroastrian faith and the enduring elements that define its religious identity.

Zoroastrianism’s Influence on Other Religions
Investigate the extensive influence of Zoroastrianism on a myriad of world religions, unveiling the shared narratives, themes, and beliefs that intertwine with Christian, Islamic, and Dharmic traditions. Understand the syncretic exchanges and theological adaptations that have occurred through centuries, contributing to the rich mosaic of global religious thought.

Contemporary Zoroastrianism
Explore the modern landscapes of Zoroastrianism, examining the challenges, adaptations, and revitalizations within Zoroastrian communities around the globe. From the Parsi communities in India to the smaller communities in Iran and the diaspora, gain insights into the ongoing efforts to preserve and promote Zoroastrian heritage, identity, and values in a changing world.

Personal Narratives and Ethnographic Studies
Listen to the voices of the Zoroastrian community as they share their stories, experiences, and reflections on their faith. Engage with ethnographic studies to understand the nuances of lived experiences, cultural negotiations, and identity formations within the community, enriching your perspective on the multifaceted expressions of Zoroastrianism.

Evolution of Zoroastrian Thought
Deepen your understanding of Zoroastrianism with advanced studies exploring aspects like astrology, occult practices, and philosophical debates in ancient Persia. Discover the intersections of religion, power, and knowledge, and unravel the complex tapestry of beliefs, traditions, and innovations that have marked the evolution of Zoroastrian thought and practice through the ages.

Art, Music, and Cultural Expressions of Zoroastrianism
Explore the aesthetic dimensions of Zoroastrianism, delving into its artistic, musical, and cultural expressions. Understand the symbology in visual representations, the role of hymns in worship, and the significance of traditional attire in rituals. Experience the vibrancy of Zoroastrian festivals and uncover the myriad ways in which art and culture articulate and celebrate Zoroastrian identity and heritage.

Comparative Theology and Philosophical Inquiry
Embark on a comparative exploration of Zoroastrianism with other philosophical and religious traditions. Scrutinize the ethical foundations, evaluate shared philosophical themes, and explore dialogues with other religious philosophies such as Buddhism and Greek thought. This module seeks to position Zoroastrianism within the broader spectrum of global theological and philosophical discourse.

Archaeological and Material Evidence
Traverse through the remnants of ancient civilizations to uncover material evidences and archaeological discoveries related to Zoroastrianism. Decode inscriptions, analyze relics, and reconstruct ancient rituals to piece together the historical narratives and cultural contexts of Zoroastrianism, enriching our understanding of its development, spread, and transformations.

Socio-Political Role of Zoroastrianism
Examine the interplay between Zoroastrianism and political structures from ancient Persia to the modern day. Understand the influence of Zoroastrian priests in state affairs, the intertwining of religion and governance, and the shifts in status and recognition of Zoroastrianism throughout history. This module sheds light on the societal dimensions and political ramifications of Zoroastrian thought and practice.

Diaspora and Globalization
Navigate the global journey of Zoroastrianism through migration, diaspora, and globalization. Understand the impacts of displacement and adaptation on Zoroastrian communities and explore their endeavors to preserve tradition while navigating new cultural landscapes. Examine the role of diaspora in reshaping and reimagining Zoroastrian identity in a interconnected world.

Zoroastrian Ecological Perspectives
Unfold the ecological wisdom inherent in Zoroastrian teachings and explore its relevance in contemporary environmental discourse. Understand the sacredness attributed to natural elements within Zoroastrianism and delve into the implications of its ecological ethos in fostering sustainability, conservation, and reverence for nature.

Theological Debates and Schisms
Explore the internal discourses, disputes, and divergences within Zoroastrianism, examining the formation of sects and the unfolding of theological debates. Scrutinize the dynamics of reform and orthodoxy, and understand the ramifications of differing interpretations and practices on the coherence and continuity of Zoroastrian tradition.

Zoroastrian Mysticism and Esoteric Traditions
Plunge into the mystical currents within Zoroastrianism, exploring the esoteric dimensions of its teachings, practices, and experiences. Examine the roles of poetry, music, and meditation in accessing the divine and understand the intersections of Zoroastrian mysticism with other mystical traditions, uncovering the subtle nuances and profound insights of spiritual realization within this ancient faith.

Pedagogy, Preservation, and Transmission
Examine the methods and challenges in transmitting Zoroastrian knowledge and values across generations. Investigate the strategies for preservation of manuscripts and artifacts and explore the role of education in sustaining and revitalizing Zoroastrian heritage. Consider the impacts of digital platforms and youth engagement in ensuring the longevity and vibrancy of Zoroastrian tradition.

Capstone and Projects
Synthesize your learning experience through group projects, essays, and presentations. Engage with the community, apply your knowledge in practical contexts, and share your insights and reflections. This final module enables you to consolidate your understanding of Zoroastrianism, articulate your learning outcomes, and contribute to the ongoing discourse on Zoroastrian studies.

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Enrollment validity: Lifetime

What's included

  • Digital Textbooks: Comprehensive e-books covering the history, beliefs, and practices of Zoroastrianism.
  • Interactive Timelines: Visual representations of key events and developments in Zoroastrian history.
  • Video Lectures: Recorded sessions from scholars, historians, and community leaders discussing various aspects of the religion.
  • Audio Narratives: Firsthand accounts and stories from members of the Zoroastrian community.
  • Documentary Clips: Segments from documentaries that delve into the historical and cultural significance of Zoroastrianism.
  • Virtual Tours: 360-degree views of significant Zoroastrian sites, temples, and historical locations.
  • Discussion Forums: Online platforms for students to engage in discussions, ask questions, and share insights.
  • Quizzes & Assessments: Interactive tests to gauge understanding and reinforce learning.
  • Primary Source Documents: Translations and interpretations of sacred texts like the Avesta and the Gathas.
  • Illustrated Guides: Visual aids detailing rituals, ceremonies, and symbols associated with Zoroastrianism.
  • Research Papers: Scholarly articles and studies on various facets of Zoroastrian theology, history, and culture.
  • Interactive Maps: Geographical representations highlighting the spread and influence of Zoroastrianism over time.
  • Glossary: A comprehensive list of terms, names, and concepts related to Zoroastrianism.
  • Reading Lists: Curated lists of recommended books, articles, and journals for further exploration.
  • Multimedia Presentations: Slide decks and multimedia content summarizing key concepts and topics.
  • Interviews: Conversations with Zoroastrian priests, scholars, and community leaders offering insights and perspectives.
  • Workbooks: Printable or digital sheets for note-taking, reflections, and exercises related to the course content.
  • Community Contributions: User-generated content, stories, and insights that enrich the course material.
  • Resource Links: Direct links to external websites, archives, and platforms for deeper exploration.
  • Feedback Forms: Tools for students to provide feedback, suggestions, and share their learning experiences.

Target Audience

  • Members of the Zoroastrian community seeking a deeper understanding of their faith.
  • Iranian diaspora members interested in exploring their cultural and religious heritage.
  • Religious studies students and scholars researching comparative religions.
  • History enthusiasts and students focusing on ancient Persia and its religious evolution.
  • Educators and teachers looking to incorporate diverse religious teachings into their curriculum.
  • Interfaith dialogue participants aiming to broaden their understanding of world religions.
  • Travelers and tourists planning to visit historical Zoroastrian sites in Iran or India.
  • Cultural anthropologists studying the evolution and adaptation of ancient religions in modern contexts.
  • General public with a curiosity about world religions and their foundational beliefs.
  • Writers, filmmakers, and artists seeking inspiration or accurate representation of Zoroastrian themes in their work.


The Timeless Allure of Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism traces its origins to the Bronze Age, around 2000 BCE, making it one of the world’s oldest practiced religions. Historical records, including those from ancient Greek historians like Herodotus, provide glimpses into the religion’s early practices and beliefs. The core tenets of Zoroastrianism were codified in the Avesta, its primary collection of sacred texts. The Avesta, particularly the Gathas – hymns believed to be composed by Zoroaster himself – offers insights into the prophet’s teachings and the early followers’ way of life.

Zoroaster: The Prophet and His Dualistic Worldview

Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, is believed to have lived between 1500 and 1000 BCE. His teachings introduced a revolutionary dualistic worldview, emphasizing the eternal battle between the benevolent deity Ahura Mazda and the malevolent spirit Angra Mainyu. This cosmic struggle between good and evil became a foundational element of Zoroastrianism. Historical texts, like the Bundahishn, detail the creation story and the ongoing battle between these forces.

The Persian Empire: A Beacon of Zoroastrianism

The Achaemenid Empire (c. 550–330 BCE), founded by Cyrus the Great, was the first Persian empire to adopt Zoroastrianism as its official religion. Under Darius I, Zoroastrianism saw state patronage, and fire temples became widespread. The empire’s administrative regions, or satrapies, facilitated the spread of Zoroastrian practices and beliefs across vast territories, from India to the Mediterranean.

Beyond Persia: Zoroastrianism’s Global Footprint

The influence of Zoroastrianism on other religions is evident in several historical intersections. The Babylonian exile of the Jews (597–539 BCE) coincided with the peak of the Achaemenid Empire, leading to potential Zoroastrian influences on Jewish theology, including concepts of angels and Satan. Later, during the Sassanian Empire (224–651 CE), Zoroastrianism became even more institutionalized, and its interactions with early Christianity and Islam further intertwined their theological narratives.

A Collaborative Exploration: Your Voice Matters

Throughout history, Zoroastrian communities, from the Parsis in India to the Zoroastrians in Iran, have preserved their unique traditions. The migration of Parsis to India, around the 8th-10th century CE, following the Muslim conquest of Persia, stands as a testament to the religion’s resilience. These communities have safeguarded ancient rituals, texts, and traditions, ensuring Zoroastrianism’s continuity.

Bridging Ancient Wisdom with Contemporary Relevance

The legacy of Zoroastrianism is evident in many modern customs and festivals. For instance, Nowruz, the Persian New Year, has its roots in Zoroastrian traditions and is celebrated by millions globally. The religion’s emphasis on good thoughts, good words, and good deeds remains a timeless philosophy, echoing across cultures and epochs.

Key Features:

  • Modular Design: Journey through thematic modules, from the origins of Zoroastrianism and its sacred texts to its influence on other major world religions.
  • User-Generated Insights: Delve into personal stories, scholarly articles, multimedia presentations, and more, all contributed by our global community.
  • Interactive Discussions: Engage in vibrant discussions, debate interpretations, and connect with fellow learners and contributors.
  • Live Sessions: Attend webinars with historians, religious scholars, and prominent members of the Zoroastrian community.

Course Modules:

  1. Origins of Zoroastrianism: Explore the early days of Zoroastrianism, its foundational beliefs, and its place in ancient Persia.
  2. Sacred Texts & Teachings: Dive into the Avesta, the Gathas, and other holy scriptures, understanding their significance and teachings.
  3. Zoroastrian Practices & Rituals: Discover the sacred ceremonies, fire temples, and the importance of elements in worship.
  4. Influence & Legacy: Understand the impact of Zoroastrianism on other religions and its modern-day practices and challenges.
  5. Personal Narratives: Hear firsthand accounts from members of the Zoroastrian community, sharing their personal experiences and connections to the faith.

Contribute & Collaborate:

  • Submission Portal: Share your knowledge, experiences, or research on Zoroastrianism. Whether it’s a family story, an academic paper, or a multimedia presentation, your insights enrich our collective understanding.
  • Peer Review & Feedback: Engage in a community-driven review process, ensuring content accuracy, relevance, and depth.
  • Earn Microcredentials: Recognizing your valuable contributions, earn digital badges and certificates, and get featured on our leaderboard.

Course Duration: Self-paced. Engage with the content at your own rhythm, with new contributions continuously enriching the course.

Who Should Enroll: Anyone interested in Zoroastrianism, its history, practices, and influence. Especially encouraged are members of the Iranian diaspora and the Zoroastrian community to share their unique perspectives and stories.


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