THE PROPHECY OF ZARDUŠT

Translated from Theodore bar Konai, Liber Scholiorum (CSCO scrip. syri, ser. II, t. 66;
ed. A. Scher; Paris: Carolus Poussielgue, 1912) 74-75.

For discussion and commentary, see J.C. Reeves, Heralds of That Good Realm: Syro-Mesopotamian Gnosis and Jewish Traditions (NHMS 41; Leiden: Brill, 1996) 126-29; idem, "Reconsidering the 'Prophecy of Zardusht'," A Multiform Heritage: Studies on Early Judaism and Christianity in Honor of Robert A. Kraft (ed. B.G. Wright; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1999) 167-82.

The Prophecy of Zardušt regarding Christ:

When Zardušt was sitting by the spring of waters named Gloša of Horin, the place where the ancient royal bath stood, he opened his mouth and spoke to his disciples Guštasp, Sasan, and Mahman, (saying) ‘I tell you, my beloved ones and sons whom I have educated in my teachings. Hearken, (for) I shall reveal to you a marvelous secret concerning the great king who is going to come in the world. In the fullness of time and at the end of the final age an infant will be conceived and its members shaped within the womb of a virgin, without a man approaching her. He will be like a tree with lovely foliage and copious fruit that stands in a parched place. The inhabitants of that place will obstruct his growth, and struggle to uproot him from the ground, but they will not succeed. Then they shall seize him and put him to death upon a tree, and heaven and earth will sit in mourning due to his murder, and the generations of the peoples will mourn him. He will begin (by) descending to the abyss of the earth, and from the abyss he will be exalted to the height. Then he will reappear when he comes with an army of light, riding upon bright clouds, for he is the child conceived by the word which established the natural order.’

Guštasp said to Zardušt: ‘This one of whom you speak all these things—from where does his power come? Is he greater than you, or are you greater than he?’ Zardušt replied to him: ‘He shall arise from my lineage and family. I am he, and he is me; he is in me, and I in him. When the advent of his coming is made manifest, great signs will appear in heaven, and a bright star will appear in the midst of heaven, whose light will surpass the light of the sun. Now, my sons, you (who) are the seed of life which came forth from the treasuries [of life and] of light and of spirit, and (who) were sown in a place of fire and water, it is necessary for you to watch and guard these things which I have told you so that you can look for his appointed time. For you will be the first to perceive the arrival of that great king, the one whom the prisoners await so that they can be released. And now, my sons, preserve the secret which I have revealed to you, and let it be inscribed upon your hearts, and may it be preserved in the treasuries of your souls. When that star which I told you about rises, you shall dispatch messengers bearing gifts, and they shall offer worship to him and present the gifts to him. Do not be neglectful, so that you not perish by the sword, for he is the king of kings, and all (kings) receive their crowns from him. I and he are one.’

These (things) were uttered by that second Balaam. As is customary, (either) God forced him to expound them; or he derived from a people who were conversant with the symbolic prophecies about Christ, (and) he predicted them.

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