Jesus died for your sins.

Some Brief Background on the Bible

Zoroastrianism is perhaps the oldest of the revealed religions that would go on to influence Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Falling victim to mostly Muslim persecution and religious genocide, few Zoroastrians remain today even in its birthplace in modern Iran/Pakistan.

Part of this archive is also to debunk unfounded claims that Jesus was just a rehash of Buddha, Zoroaster, or Mithra. That's just historical nonsense and this is not a Christian, but skeptic website. So I leave it to the reader to believe what they want, but follow their God-given reason on the matter.

Some definitions:

Hellenism; When Greek culture merged with the culture(s) of the Middle East (and Persian Empire), it created a new cultural hybrid -- Hellenism (Hellas is the Greek word for Greece) -- whose impact would be far greater and last far longer than the brief period of Alexander's empire. Rabbi Ken Spiro.

Also see Religious Syncretism.

Apocalyptic Literature; A type of writing that flourished in Judaism and early Christian thought (165 B.C.E. to 120 C.E.), with the purpose of encouraging the faithful to stand firm under persecution.

The encouragement was in the form of a promise of speedy deliverance from current evils by the intervention of God, which would bring about the end of the present world order, the resurrection, and the eternal reward of the righteous and damnation of the unrighteous.

Apocrypha; Greek: "hidden, stored away." The Apocrypha refers to fourteen books found in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) but not in canonical Hebrew Scriptures. These books are important for the development of Jewish religious thought in the Second Temple period.

Aramaic: The language spoken by various northwest Semitic peoples from the eight century B.C.E. up through the first few centuries of the present era. Large portions of Daniel, Ezra, the Talmud, and the Midrash are written in Aramaic. Also the Lingua Franca of the ancient Near East.

Babylonian Exile; A period of time between the destruction of the kingdom of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.E. During this epoch, a small group of Jews remained in Palestine, although the majority of the Jews were exiled in Mesopotamia.

The Babylonian Exile is important for the development of the synagogue and the beginnings of the organized prayer book and canonization of the Scriptures. In 538 B.C.E. the Persian king, Cyrus, permitted the Jews to return to Palestine.

Diaspora; This word, which is derived from the Greek word meaning "dispersion," has referred to all Jewish settlements outside the land of Israel or Palestine. Jews began to live outside the Holy Land during the decline of the First Temple period.

After the first large exile residents of Judah by the Babylonians in the sixth century B.C., many Jews did not return to Palestine when they were permitted to do so in subsequent centuries. They became scattered throughout the existing kingdoms.

Essenes; A Jewish sect which flourished during the Hasmonean dynasty and whose members lived an ascetic and sometimes mystical life in monastic communities. They were heavily into Apocalyptic doctrine.

Pharisees; Emerged as a distinct group during and after the Maccabean Revolt (c. 165 B.C.E.). They believed in the authority of the Written Law, along with the Saducees; but they also held the Oral Law to be authoritative.

As the latter was an interpretation of the Written Law from viewpoint of each successive generation, the Pharisees represented the mass of Jewish people in religious and social outlook, and Pharisaism became the foundation of later rabbinical Judaism.

Saducees. Tracing their ancestry back to Zadok, high priest during the time of David, this Jewish sect, in the Hasmonean period, was composed of the Jewish aristocracy, prosperous merchants, and Temple priesthood. In their conservatism, they accepted as religiously authoritative only the Written Law, refusing the Oral tradition of the Pharisees.

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