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


1. My desire is also that I write a story (nisang-1) out of the accompanying inconsistency and full delusion of the same scripture, (2) that is full of every iniquity and demonism; and I will disclose a summary of one part out of a thousand of what is declared thereby, (3) so as to notice the commands therein.

4. First, this is what he says about his own nature, (5) that is, 'I am the Lord, seeking vengeance (6) and retaliating vengeance 1, (7) and I retaliate vengeance sevenfold upon the children 2, (8) and one does not forget my original vengeance.' (9). Another place states that, 'having acquired 3 wrath and grievous thoughts, (10) his lips are also full of indignation 4, (11) his tongue is like a blazing fire, (12) and his breath (vâyâ) is like a river of rapid water (arvand nâk) 5. 13. His voice, too, as though for causing

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weeping, is more resembling the shouting of a demon 1, (14) and his seat is in the gloom 2, the dew, and the cloud 3. 15. His charger, also, is the drying (khûskâk) wind 4, (16) and from the motion of his feet is the arising of a whirlwind of dust 5. 17. When he walks the arising of fire is behind him 6.

18. And, elsewhere, he speaks about his own wrathfulness, (19) thus: 'I have been forty years in wrath about the Israelites 7,' (20) and he said that the Israelites are defiled in heart 8.

21. Elsewhere he speaks thus: 'Who is blind 9,

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unless it be my servant? 22. Who is deaf 1, but the messenger (firîstak) I am appointing? 23. Who is blind like the king 2?' And it is declared that their king is the Lord himself 3.

24. Elsewhere it also says this, that the worshippers (parastakân) of his fire are defiled 4. 25. Also this, that his deeds bring blinding smoke, (26) and his fighting is the shedding of blood 5. 27. And this, that is, 'I pour forth mankind one upon the other, (28) and I sit upon the sky, over their limbs.' 29. Likewise this, that, in one night, a hundred and sixty thousand were slain by him, through a wretched death, out of the champions and troops of the Mâzerdarâns 6. 30. And, on another occasion, he slew six hundred thousand men, besides women and young children, out of the Israelites in the wilderness; (31) only two men escaped 7.

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32. Again, it shows that his final result is all regret, (33) just as this which it states, that he became among the despondent (zardakân), and he spoke thus: 'I am repentant as to the making of men on the earth 1.'

34. This, too, it states, that he sits upon a throne which four angels hold upon their wings, from each one of whom a fiery river always proceeds, owing to the load of his weight 2. 35. Now, when he is a spirit, not formed with a body, why then are those four distressed by him, who have to sustain with toil the grievous load of that easy thing?

36. Again, it states this, that every day he prepares, with his own hand, ninety thousand worshippers, and they always worship him until he night time, and then he dismisses them, through a fiery river, to hell 3. 37. When trouble and injustice of this description are seen, how is it

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expedient for worldly beings to exist in duty, good works, and good deeds? 38. When he casts distressed worshippers who are reverent, listening to commands, and pure in action, together with others who are sinners, into eternal hell, (39) it is like even that which another congregation 1 asserts, that the sacred being, at the day of the resurrection, gives the sun and moon, together with others who are sinners, to hell for the reason that there are people who have offered homage to them.

40. Another place also states this, that when the eyes of the aged (masâtval) 2 Abraham, who was the friend of the Lord, were afflicted, the Lord himself came enquiring for him; (41) and he sat on his cushion and asked for peace 3. 42. And Abraham called Isaac 4, who was his dearest son 5, in secret, and spoke (43) thus: 'Go to paradise (vahist), and bring wine that is light and pure.' 44. And he went and brought it. 45. And Abraham made many entreaties to the Lord (46) thus: 'Taste one time 6 wine in my abode.' 47. And the Lord spoke thus:

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[paragraph continues] 'I will not taste it, because it is not from paradise, and is not pure.' 48. Then Abraham gave assurance thus: 'The wine is pure from paradise, and Isaac, who is my son, brought it.' 49. Thereupon the Lord, on account of his freedom from doubt in Isaac, and the assurance given by Abraham, tasted the wine one time. 50. Afterwards, when he wished to go, he was not allowed until one of them had sworn to the other by a serious oath 1.

51. Observe this twaddle full of delusion; not even a single detail is adapted to a sacred being. 52. In what way was his coming in bodily form to the abode of Abraham and eating bread, of which not even a single detail is adapted to him? 53. This, too, is evident, from it, that the suffering of Abraham was not 2 from the Lord, but from another producer. 54. And even the faultiness 3 which was owing to his want of understanding of knowledge was such, that the purity of the wine and whence it came were not known by him. 55. His falsity is also seen in this, when he spoke of not drinking the wine, and at last drank it. 56. Afterwards he is confessing that it is genuine and pure. 57. Now, how is he worthy of worship, as a divinity that is all-knowing and almighty, whose nature is this?

58. And another place states that there was one of the sick who, with his own wife and child, was

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particularly one that was suffering, poor, and without a stipend. 59. At all times he was very diligent and active in prayer and fasting and the worship of the sacred being. 60. And one day, in prayer, he secretly begged a favour thus: 'Give me any enjoyment that is in daily food (rôzîh), (61) that it may be easier for me to live.'

62. And an angel came down unto him and spoke thus: 'The sacred being has not allotted thee, through the constellations 1, more daily food than this, (63) and it is not possible to allot anew; (64) but, as a recompense for worship and prayer, a throne whose four feet are of jewels is appointed for thee in heaven (vahist) by me, (65) and, if it be necessary, I will give unto thee one foot of that throne.'

66. That exalter of the apostles enquired of his own wife, (67) and the unfortunate one spoke thus: 'It is better for us to be content with the scanty daily food and bad living in the worldly existence, (68) than if our throne, among our companions in heaven, had three feet; (69) but if it may occur to thee then appoint us a day's food by another mode.'

70. At the second coming of that angel he spoke thus: 'But if I dissipate the celestial sphere, and produce the sky and earth anew, and construct and produce the motion of the stars anew, still thenceforth it is not clear whether thy destiny will fall out good or bad 2.'

71. From this statement it is, therefore, manifest that he is not himself the appointer of daily food and supreme, (72) distribution is not by his will,

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he is not able to alter destiny, (73) and the revolution of the celestial sphere, the sun and moon and stars, is not within the compass of his knowledge, will, and command. 74. And also this, that the throne, as to which it was announced (nivîkînîd) thus: 'I will give it in heaven,' is not of his formation and creation.

75. And in another place he speaks about his own twaddle (76) thus: 'I have slain, in one day 1, an assemblage (ram) of sinners, as well as innumerable innocents.' 77. And when the angels talked much of the unreasonable performance, he then spoke of it thus: 'I am the Lord, the ruler of wills, (78) superintending, unrivalled, and doing my own will, and no one assists or is to utter a murmur (drengisnŏ) about me 2.'

79. Especially abundant is the twaddle that is completely delusive, which has seemed to me tedious to write. 80. Whoever would investigate the backward opinions of these statements, should be, for that purpose of his, a high-priest speaking candidly (âzâd), (81) until he becomes aware of the nature of the same scripture, and of the truth of that which is stated by me.

82. Now if he be a sacred being, of whom these are signs and tokens, that implies that truth is far from him, (83) forgiveness strange to him, (84) and knowledge is not bestowed upon him. 85. Because this itself is the fiend who is leader of the hell which

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is the den (grêstak) of the gloomy race, (86) whom the devilish defiled ones and evil people glorify by the name of the Lord, and offer him homage.

87. About this subject is here complete.


221:1 'To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence' (Deut. xxxii. 35). Or, as it is quoted in Rom. xii. 19, 'Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.'

221:2 'Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold' (Gen. iv. 15).

221:3 Perhaps ayâftak is a misreading of âshuftak, 'distracted by.'

221:4 Literally 'venom.'

221:5 'Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy; his lips are full of p. 222 indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: and his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck' (Is. xxx. 27, 28).

222:1 'And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones' (Is. xxx. 30).

222:2 Assuming that Pâz. gûam (Pers. gum, 'invisible') is a misreading of Pahl. tom, 'gloom,' as the Sanskrit is dhûmalatvam, 'smokiness.'

222:3 'He made darkness his secret place: his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies' (Ps. xviii. 11). 'Clouds and darkness are round about him' (Ps. xcvii. 2).

222:4 'Who maketh the clouds his chariot; who walketh upon the wings of the wind' (Ps. civ. 3).

222:5 'The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet' (Na. i. 3).

222:6 'For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire' (Is. lxvi. 15).

222:7 Pâz. Asarâsarã is evidently a misreading of Pahl. Asrâyîlân.

222:8 'Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, "It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways;" unto whom I sware in my wrath, that they should not enter into my rest' (Ps. xcv. 10, 11).

222:9 Sans. has 'whoever is needy,' both here and in § 23.

223:1 Sans. has 'whoever is prosperous.'

223:2 'Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord's servant?' (Is. xlii. 19).

223:3 'The Lord is our king' (Is. xxxiii. 22).

223:4 'About five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, "Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here?"' (Eze. viii. 16, 17).

223:5 'And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai' (Jos. viii. 21).

223:6 'Then the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses' (Is. xxxvii. 36).

223:7 'And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot, that were men, beside p. 224 children' (Ex. xii. 37). 'Doubtless ye shall not come into the land concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. . . . But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness' (Num. xiv. 30, 30.

224:1 'And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth' (Gen. vi. 6).

224:2 'Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. . . . Their wings were joined one to another. . . . As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures. . . . And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other. . . . And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it' (Eze. i. 5, 9, 13, 23, 26). 'A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him' (Dan. vii. 10).

224:3 This statement may possibly be quoted from the Talmud.

225:1 Probably the Christians, and referring to such texts as 'The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come' (Acts ii. 20).

225:2 Nêr. reads this word as a title, Mehâdar, of Abraham. It is, however, the Huzvâris of dâd-mas (for dâd-î mas, 'great age'), and appears to be a hybrid form, the first syllable being Iranian and the latter portion Semitic.

225:3 Upon his host; the usual Oriental salutation.

225:4 Nêr. has read Âsînak, which indicates a Pahlavi form that might be read Aîsôk, and points to Syr. ’Îs‘hoq as the original of this form of Isaac.

225:5 Sans. has 'his whole-blood brother's son.'

225:6 Assuming that Pâz. shê stands for Pahl. gâs-1, both here and in § 49. Nêr. seems to have understood it as Ar. say, 'somewhat.'

226:1 This tale is perhaps to be sought in the Talmud.

226:2 Reading lâ instead of râî. By reading the latter Nêr. has 'the suffering, which was for Abraham, was from the Lord,' which is inconsistent with the context.

226:3 Assuming that Pâz. bavãnî (Sans. vaikalyam) stands for Pahl. zîfânîh, which seems more probable than supposing it to be a miswriting of Pâz. dewãnagî, 'folly.'

227:1 Of the zodiac (see Mkh. XII, 5, 6, 8).

227:2 This tale is probably from the same source as the last.

228:1 Assuming that Pâz. zumaê is a corruption of gumê (see Chap. IV, 101 n) and stands for Huz. yôm-1. But it may mean 'the whole of.'

228:2 This seems to be quoted from the same source as the two preceding tales.

Next: Chapter XV