In Search of Zarathustra by Paul Kriwaczek
The First Prophet and the Ideas That Changed the World

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A fascinating journey through time and across Europe and Central Asia, in search of the prophet Zarathustra (a.k.a. Zoroaster)—perhaps the greatest religious lawgiver of the ancient world—and his vast influence.

In Persia more than three thousand years ago, Zarathustra spoke of a single universal god, the battle between good and evil, the devil, heaven and hell, and an eventual end to the world—foreshadowing the core beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Moving from present to past, Paul Kriwaczek examines the effects of the prophet’s teachings on the spiri-tual and daily lives of diverse peoples. Beginning in the year 2000 with New Year’s festivities in Iran, he walks us back through Nietzsche’s nineteenth-century interpretation of Zarathustra to the Cathars of thirteenth-century France and the ninth-century Bulgars; from ancient Rome to the time of Alexander the Great’s destruction of the Persian Empire; and, finally, to the time of Zarathustra himself.

Not only an enthralling travel book, In Search of Zarathustra is also a revelation of the importance of the prophet, and a brilliantly conceived and lucid explication of the belief systems that helped shape the European Enlightenment, the Middle Ages, the Dark Ages, and the beginning of the Christian era. It is an enthralling study of a little-explored subject.

About Paul Kriwaczek

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Paul Kriwaczek was born in Vienna in 1937. At the age of two he fled Vienna and the Nazi threat with his parents, eventually arriving in England. After qualifying as a dental surgeon in 1962 and traveling extensively in Asia and Africa—including a two-year stint as the only European dentist in Kabul—he joined the BBC as a specialist in Central and South Asian affairs, and then BBC Television as a producer. He took up writing full-time in the 1990s. He lives in London.
Published February 11, 2003 by Knopf. 272 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Western culture, scholars say, rests on the twin foundations of Hellenism and Judaism. In this brilliant historical essay, BBC producer and writer Kriwaczek makes a solid case for adding Zoroastrianism to the mix.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of In Search of Zarathustra: The...

Publishers Weekly

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Hidden by the looming shadows of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, Zoroastrianism seems a largely forgotten religion today. Yet this ancient tradition so powerfully influenced these other three fait

Jan 13 2003 | Read Full Review of In Search of Zarathustra: The...

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