In the present chapter I would like to offer a brief, critical survey of some of Geo Widengren’s early writings, published between 1938 and 1955. A part of them were conceived as a sequential series under the title “King and Saviour” (henceforth KS). Here, one finds the workshop where his most influential contributions were shaped, namely those on sacral kingship and apocalyptics. On the one hand, I am interested to investigate his first contribution to the field of the history of Iranian religions, the 1938 monograph on the high gods. On the other hand, I propose to provide a fresh review of the ‘King and Saviour’ series, which follows two main lines of inquiry: the integration of the (then) newly discovered Manichaean literature and his approach to Near East kingship, with a particular focus on whether it paved the path to the understanding of Iranian kingship.
The present article is a part of a wider project devoted to the Zoroastrian Middle Persian terminology often translated in European languages as “heresy” or “heretic.” I offer here an analysis of the Middle Persian ahlomōγ according to only one text of the exegetical literature of this religious tradition, written down after the Arab conquest of Iran, namely Dēnkard 7. I propose a hypothesis according to which the majority of the contexts in which this term is used refers to Mazdak and the Mazdakites, suggesting that the author of Dēnkard 7 here draws a historical scheme of this sectarian movement. Other meanings, though not so many, can be found, such as “apostasy.” Among the methodological considerations, one finds that the same notion may have slightly changed meaning from one text to another, from one period to another. The Avestan ašǝmaoγa, for which the Middle Persian ahlomōγ is a translation, does not clearly lead to the idea of heresy, understood as schism or sect.