The Pahlavi Literature of the 9th Century and Greek Philosophy

In: Iran and the Caucasus

Since the Hellenistic times (if not earlier) Iran participates in the philosophical development of classical Greece. In the times of the Sasanians some knowledge of Aristotelian and Neo-Platonic thinking is detectable, and treatises were written for Xosrō I by philosophers who were well acquainted with the writings of Aristotle. It was always maintained that also Sasanian Zoroastrianism was affected through these Greek-Iranian contacts. But it is remarkable that among the Zoroastrian writings of the 9th-10th centuries only two books–Dēnkard 3 and Škand Gumānīg Wīzār–seem to be substantially influenced by Aristotelian/Neo-Platonic terms and concepts. The paper deals with the question whether the Greek elements within these texts should not better be understood as the fruit of a Zoroastrian participation in the general interest of the Islamic world in Greek thinking in Abbasid Baghdad.

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