The Religion of Perfect Bodies : Observations on the Aesthetic Dimension of Zoroastrianism
The article highlights the attention to the care and beauty of human bodies that characterizes Zoroastrianism, or Mazdaism, as it was encoded in the Avesta. The ancient Iranian religion, which finds its greatest prophet in Zarathustra, while sharing many doctrinal aspects with Christianity, is distinguished from the latter by the privileged role it assigns to beauty in theological, ethical and soteriological questions. To show the deep roots of this peculiar aspect of Zoroastrianism, we will proceed from the general to the particular, presenting first the main discoveries made by linguists, historians and archaeologists about the ideology of Indo-Europeans, and then analyzing the religion of the Aryans. It is a long but necessary premise to fully understand the anthropological and sociological significance of some passages of the Avesta. It is necessary to keep in mind that the perspective of our study is not that of Iranian studies, but that of the history of ideas, understood here as a vital source of historical sociology.
Riccardo CampaJagiellonian University in Krakow