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Pahlavi Texts, Part III (SBE24), E.W. West, tr. [1885], at


1. Again, about the inconsistency and faulty statements of the first scripture 3, (2) which they call holy (âzâd)—(3) and as to it they are, in every way, unanimous that the sacred being wrote it with his own hand, and gave it to Moses (Mûshâê)—(4) so that, as it is full of delusion, I will here publish, for your information, a story 4 out of all its stupidity and of much that is in it.

5. It states, in the beginning of the scripture, (6) that there first arose earth, without form and void 5,

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darkness, and black water; (7) and the breathing 1 of the sacred being ever yearns 2 over the face of that black water 3. 8. Afterwards the sacred being spoke thus: 'Let there be light,' (9) and there was light 4. 10. And stooping he considered that light below him, (11) and the light was transmitted by him to the day, and the darkness to the night 5. 12. In six days this world and sky and earth were also created by him, (13) for during the seventh day he was reposing (khaspân) and comfortable 6. 14. Through that same mystery (râz) even now the Jews are enjoying repose on the Sabbath day 7.

15. This, too, is stated, that Adam and his wife Eve (Havâê) were created by him, (16) and put into a garden of paradise (vahist); (17) so that Adam

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should perform cultivation in that garden, and should keep watch 1. 18. The Lord 2, who is the sacred being himself, commanded Adam (19) thus: 'Eat of every tree which is in this garden, except of that tree of knowledge; (20) because when you eat thereof you die 3.' 21. Afterwards a serpent was also put by him into the garden; (22) and that serpent deceived Eve and spoke thus: 'Let us eat of the gathering from this tree, and let us give it to Adam 4.' 23. And she acted accordingly, (24) and Adam likewise ate 5. 25. And his knowledge became such that good was distinguished by him from evil, and they did not die 6. 26. He also saw and knew that he was naked, (27) and became concealed under the trees; (28) he likewise covered over his own body with leaves of trees, on account of the shame of nakedness 7. 29. Afterwards the Lord went to the

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garden, and called Adam by name thus: 'Where art thou 1?' 30. Adam replied thus: 'Here I am, under the trees, for this reason, because I am naked 2.' 31. The Lord indulged in wrath, (32) and spoke thus: 'Who could have informed thee that thou art naked? 33. Mayest thou not ever yet 3 have eaten of that tree of knowledge, of which I said that you shall not eat 4?' 34. Adam spoke thus: 'I have been deceived by this woman, who was given to me by thee, and I ate 5.' 35. And the Lord enquired of Eve thus: 'Why was it so done by thee?' 36. Eve spoke thus: 'I have been deceived by this serpent 6.' 37. And Adam and Eve and the serpent are, all three, forced out of the garden of paradise by him with a curse 7. 38. And he spoke to Adam thus: 'Thy eating shall be through the scraping off of sweat 8

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and the panting of the nostrils, (39) until the end of thy life; (40) and thy land shall grow all bodily refuse and dung 1.' 41. He also spoke to Eve thus: 'Thy pregnancy shall be in pain and uneasy, and thy bringing forth in grievous hastening 2.' 42. And he spoke to the serpent thus: 'Thou shalt be accursed from amid the quadrupeds and wild animals of the plain and mountain; (43) for thee also there shall be no feet, (44) and thy movement shall be on thy belly, and thy food dust. 45. And betwixt thy offspring, with those of the woman, there shall be such hatred and conversion to enmity that they will wound the head of that offspring 3.'

46. This, too, they say, that this worldly existence, with whatever is in everything, was made and produced by him for mankind; (47) and man was made by him predominant over all creatures and creations, wet and dry 4.

48. Now I will tell you a story (nisang-1) about

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the contents of their twaddle and the faultiness of their statements, (49) that is, where and with what limits did that earth without form and void 1, the darkness, the sacred being and his breathing 2, and the black water arise? 50. Or of what description was the sacred being himself? 51. It is manifest that he was not light, (52) because, when the light was seen by him, (53) stooping he considered it 3, for the reason that he had not seen it before. 54. If they say that he was dark, that manifestly implies that the origin of darkness is uttering 4 a word and there is light. 55. If they say that he was not dark, but light, (56) why, when the light was seen by him, did he admire and consider it, though he was light himself? 57. And if they say that he was neither light nor dark, (58) it is necessary for such to specify that third state which is not light and not dark.

59. Then as to him whose position and abode were in darkness and black water, and light was never seen by him, how was it possible for him to look at that light? 60. And what was his divinity owing to? 61. Because even now it is not possible for any one who remains in darkness to look at the light. 62. Observe also this, that if his origin and abode were darkness, how was it possible for him to remain opposite the light? 63. Because this is known, that it is not possible for darkness to remain opposite the light, since the latter puts it aside harmless.

64. Again, I ask this, that is, was that earth, which

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was without form and void, limited or unlimited? 65. If it were limited, what was there outside of it? 66. If it were unlimited, whither did that unlimitedness of it go, (67) when, as we see, this earth and worldly existence are not those of the first existence?

68. As to that which the Lord spoke, (69) that is: 'Let there be light,' and it was so, (70) it is thereupon appropriate to understand that the Lord existed before the time that the light arose; (71) and when he was wishing to make the light, and he gave the command for it to arise, he then considered mentally in what way the light is of good appearance or evil appearance. 72. And if the light, through its own nature, reached into the knowledge and consideration of the Lord, it is evident that the light was existing alike within the knowledge and mind of the Lord, (73) and alike outside of him. 74. For it is not possible to know and obtain anything, unless it be a manifestation of an existence. 75. If the light was existing is it 1, on that account, a creation of the Lord? 76. And if they say that the light was not, through its own nature, within his knowledge, that light was demanded by him, who did not know of what nature it was, very unwisely. 77. Or how is it possible to consider in the mind that which one has never even thought of or known?

78. And observe this, too, that that command for the arising of light was given either to something or to nothing, (79) because this is certain, that it is necessary to give a command to a performer of commands. 80. If it were given by him to something existing, which was light, that implies that the light

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itself existed. 81. And if the command were given by him, to something not existing, then how did the something not existing hear the command of the Lord? 82. Or how did it know that the will of the Lord was thus, that 'I should become light?' 83. Because the command of the Lord is not heard by what does not exist, in the same manner as though it were not given by him. 84. Since it is not possible for the non-existent even to think in any way, (85) it was that which is appointed nonexistent, so that it does not exist, but yet exists 1, that was really before the sight of the sage 2; by which it was known in what manner the Lord is demanding that it shall arise 3, and in the manner which was demanded by him it arose.

86. If they say that the light arose from the word of the Lord, which was spoken by him thus: 'Thou shalt arise,' and it was so—(87) that being when the Lord and his belongings (khûdîh) were dark, and light had really never been seen by him—in what way is it possible for that light to arise from his word? 88. Because this is known, that speaking is the progeny of thinking. 89. If they say that his word became light, that is very marvellous, because then light is the fruit of darkness, and the source of darkness is thereby the essence of light;

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or else it is this, that the light was concealed in the darkness.

90. As I have said 1, it is evident that it is of no use to give a command, except to a performer of commands, (91) so that it should be that the light existed, and then the command was expedient and given.

92. Again, I ask this, as to these creatures and creations, sky and earth of his, since they were prepared and produced by him in six days, (93) and the seventh he reposed (khaspîd) therefrom 2, (94) then, when this world was not produced by him from anything, but merely arose by his command, 'thou shalt arise,' and it was so, (95) to what was that delay of his of six days owing? 96. For when his trouble is merely as much as to say 'thou shalt arise,' the existence of that delay of six days is very ill-seeming. 97. It is also not suitable for trouble to arise for him therefrom. 98. If it be possible to make the non-existent exist, and he be capable of it, it is possible to produce it even a long time back. 99. And if he be incapable of producing except in the period of a day, it is not fitting to speak of his producing it from nothing.

100. And, again, I ask this, that is, when the number of the days should be known from the sun, whence then is the number of the day, besides the names of the days, known before the creation of the sun? 101. For they say that the sun was produced by him on the fourth day, which is itself Wednesday 3.

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102. I also ask this, to what was it owing that it was necessary for him to make himself comfortable and reposing on the seventh day? 103. When the delay and trouble in his creation and production of the world was merely so much as that he spoke thus: 'Thou shalt arise,' (104) how are those days accounted for by him, so that it was necessary to make him reposing whose trouble is recounted? 105. For if 'thou shalt arise' were spoken by him at once, that is his trouble, and he ought to become comfortable immediately.

106. Again I ask this, that is, for what purpose and cause is Adam produced by him, together with Eve 1, (107) so that while they practise his will 2, the purpose of it is not so presented by him that they shall not turn away from the performance of his desire? 108. For when it is known by him, before the fact, that they will not be listening to his command, and yet they are finally produced by him, that shows that for him now to become exhausted, and to indulge in wrath about them, is unreasonable, (109) because it is evident that the Lord himself was not fully proceeding with that which is desirable for his own will, and is manifestly an opponent and adversary to his own will. 110. If they are not understood by him before the fact, and it is not even known by him that they will not listen to his command, then he is ignorant and badly informed. 111. If they say that his will itself was for non-performance, why then is the command for performance given by him? 112. Also what is the sin in not performing

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it, and how goes (113) a horse whom they yoke with another in confinement (lag) and hurry on with a whip (tâzânak) 1. 114. From this statement signs and tokens of deceivers are manifested, (115) whose will and command are inconsistent and unadapted, one to the other.

116. And if his will and desire were this, that they shall not turn away from his will, (117) still their power and desire for turning away from his will are much stronger and more resistant than those which he gave for not turning. 118. If the will for their turning away from his will, and also the knowledge of it, were his, and the command for not turning away were given by him, how was it still possible for the distressed Adam to act so that they should not turn away? 119. Also, the origin and maintenance of his will ought not to exist, (120) because by turning away from his command one merely falsifies (drûged) it as a command, while by not turning away it becomes a falsification of both his will and knowledge.

121. Again, I ask this, that is, on what account and for what advantage was that garden, prepared by him, produced 2? 122. And as to the tree of knowledge itself, about which he commanded thus: 'Ye shall not eat of it,' and also as to the injunction for not eating of it, which was issued by him, why was it necessary for him to make them?

123. It is also evident, from his injunction and

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command, that scanty knowledge and ignorance are more loved by him, (124) and his desire for them is more than for knowledge and wisdom. 125. And that even his advantage from ignorance was more, (126) because while the tree of knowledge was not tasted by them they were ignorant, and not disobedient and without benefit unto him, (127) but just as their knowledge arose they became disobedient unto him. 128. There was also no anxiety for him from their ignorance, but just as their knowledge arose (129) he became exhausted and wrathful about them, (130) and, forced out of paradise by him, with grievous discomfort and disgrace, they are cast 1 to the earth. (131) The sum total is this, that the cause of this birth of man's knowledge, in the worldly existence, was owing to the serpent and deceit.

132. They also say this, that things of every kind were created for mankind—on account of which it is evident that even that tree was created by him for mankind—(133) and man was made by him predominant over every creature and creation 2. 134. If that be so, why were they now to incline their desires away from that tree which was their own?

135. From this following statement this, too, is evident, that knowledge was not really originating with him, (136) because if he came forth to the garden 3 and raised his voice, and called Adam by name thus: 'Where art thou,' it is just as though he were unaware of the place where he existed; (137) and if he had been unanswered by him, he would have been unaware of the place where Adam existed. 138. If it were not owing to his (agas)

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outcry, too, before seeing him, he would have been unaware that he had eaten of that tree, or not; and of this also, that is, by whom and how it was done, who ate and who deceived. 139. If he were aware, why had he to make that enquiry of him, 'mayest thou not ever yet have eaten of that tree, of which I commanded that you shall not eat 1?' 140. And at first, when he came forth, he was not exhausted, but afterwards, when he knew that they had eaten, he became exhausted about them and was wrathful.

141. His scanty knowledge is also evident from this, when he created the serpent, which was itself his adversary, and put it into the garden with them 2; (142) or else why was not the garden made so fortified by him, that the serpent, and also other enemies, should thereby not go into it?

143. Even his falsity is also evident from this, when he spoke thus: 'When you eat of this tree you die 3;' and they have eaten and are not dead, but have become really intelligent, (144) and good is well recognised from evil by them.

145. I also ask this, that is, how is his knowledge inconsistent and competing with his will and command? 146. For if it were willed by him to eat of that tree, and the command for not eating were given by him, the knowledge about it was that the fruit would be eaten. 147. Now it is evident that the will, knowledge, and command are all three inconsistent, one towards the other.

148. This, too, is evident, that, though Adam committed sin, the curse which was inflicted by Him (the Lord) 4 reaches unlawfully over people of every kind

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at various periods, (149) and I consider it, in every way, a senseless, ignorant, and foolish statement.

150. On this subject, on account of tediousness, thus much is considered complete.


208:3 The Old Testament.

208:4 Pâz. nihang-e (Pahl. nisang-1, Av. ni + sangha) appears to mean 'a tale, tract, or essay,' and is connected with farhang, 'learning.' Sans. has 'somewhat, a little.'

208:5 Assuming that Pâz. âv khûn u tãn (which Nêr. seems to have understood as âv-i khûn-vatãn, 'water containing blood') is a misreading of Pahl. afâm va tahân. Nêr. may have been thinking of Mkh. IX, 8.

209:1 Reading vâyâ, 'air; breath,' instead of Pâz. vakhsh, 'growth, expanse;' these two words being written alike in Pahlavi. Sans. has 'eyes.'

209:2 Reading nîyâzêd instead of Pâz. nyâved. Sans. has 'looks.'

209:3 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters' (Gen. i. i, 2).

209:4 'And God said, "Let there be light:" and there was light' (Gen. i. 3).

209:5 'And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night' (Gen. i. 4, 5).

209:6 'And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. . . . And he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made' (Gen. i. 31; ii. I, 2).

209:7 'But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work. . . . For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it' (Ex. xx. 10, 11).

210:1 'So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. . . . And the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it' (Gen. i. 27; ii. 15).

210:2 Pâz. âdînô is evidently a misreading of the Pahlavi form of Heb. adonâi, 'Lord.'

210:3 'And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die"' (Gen. ii. 16, 17).

210:4 'Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, . . . ye shall not surely die"' (Gen. iii. I, 4).

210:5 'She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat' (Gen. iii. 6).

210:6 '"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened; and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil"' (Gen. iii. 5).

210:7 'And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked: and they sewed fig leaves together, and made p. 211 themselves aprons . . . and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God, amongst the trees of the garden' (Gen. iii. 7, 8).

211:1 'And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. . . . And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, "Where art thou?"' (Gen. iii. 8, 9).

211:2 'And he said, "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself"' (Gen. iii. 8, 9).

211:3 Assuming that Pâz. agarat stands for Pahl. akvarikat; see § 139.

211:4 'And he said, "Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?"' (Gen. iii. II).

211:5 'And the man said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat"' (Gen. iii. 12).

211:6 'And the Lord God said unto the woman, "What is this that thou hast done?" And the woman said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat"' (Gen. iii. 13).

211:7 'Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man' (Gen. iii. 23, 24).

211:8 Sans. has 'through the spreading of sleep.'

212:1 'And unto Adam he said, ". . . cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life: thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; . . . in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground "' (Gen. iii. 17-19).

212:2 'Unto the woman he said, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception: in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children "' (Gen. iii. 16).

212:3 'And the Lord God said unto the serpent, "Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel "' (Gen. iii. 14, 15).

212:4 'And God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth"' (Gen. i. 26).

213:1 See § 6 n.

213:2 See § 7 n.

213:3 See § 10. The scripture merely says that 'God saw the light, that it was good;' but this difference does not really affect the author's argument as to the previous non-existence of light.

213:4 Assuming that Pâz. frâi is a misreading of Pahl. parâs.

214:1 Or, perhaps, 'it is.'

215:1 That is something produced as a nonentity which, being produced as nothing, is considered to be something different from nothing at all, which is not produced. Something analogous to the prototypes of the creatures, which 'remained three thousand years in a spiritual state, so that they were unthinking and unmoving, with intangible bodies' (Bd. I, 8).

215:2 Who wrote the account of the creation in the book of Genesis.

215:3 Literally 'that I shall arise.'

216:1 In § 79.

216:2 See §§ 12, 13.

216:3 Pâz. kihâr sumbad, Sans. katuhsanaiskarîya. 'And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the p. 217 lesser light to rule the night. . . . And the evening and the morning were the fourth day' (Gen. i. 16, 19).

217:1 See § 15.

217:2 The command mentioned in §§ 19, 20.

218:1 Illustrating the inconsistency of determining or permitting that anything (such as the abstaining from fruit, or the trotting of a horse) shall not be done, and yet urging its performance by whip or command.

218:2 See §§ 16, 17.

219:1 Or 'admitted.'

219:2 See §§ 46, 47.

219:3 See § 29.

220:1 See § 33.

220:2 See § 22.

220:3 See § 20.

220:4 See §§ 37-41.

Next: Chapter XIV