Zoroaster / Zarathustra
Μαγικὰ λόγια τῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ Ζωροάστρου μαγῶν. — Paris 1595.480 €
Μαγικὰ λόγια τῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ Ζωροάστρου μαγῶν. — Paris, F. Morel, 1595.
4to (257 x 145 mm). A4: 7 pp. Later marbled wrappers. Leaves are toned. – Hoffmann III, 623. This edition is preceeded by an edition of 8 leaves: Paris, Tiletanus, 1538, and is the second separate edition printed in Greek.
¶ The text of the Oracles – „a collection of abstruse, hexameter verses purported to have been ‚handed down by the gods‘ to a certain Julian the Chaldean and/or his son, Julian the Theurgist, who flourished the late second century C.E.“ – printed in 1538 and 1595 has been compilated by Plethon, who also wrote a commentary on it. Marsilio Ficino owned a manuscript of Plethon’s edition. To Ficino the Oracles had the same range as the Corpus Hermeticum, both representing a prisca philosophia culminating in Plato’s philosophy. Ficino’s occupation with the Oracles forms the starting point for the Renaissance interest in it.
In France the interest on the Oracles was inaugurated by Giano Lascaris and the circle of Germain de Ganay, with whom Ficino changed letters, and to which circle such prominent and influential figures like Lefèvres d’Etaples and Guillaime Budé belonged. France became the most important place of the reception of Zoroaster in the 16th century.
Different to the career of Zoroaster and „his“ oracles as the „Bible of the Neoplatonics“ equal in importance only to Plato’s Timaeus, was the role he played in the writings of the defenders of Christian religion. In the twelfth century Zoroaster became Ham, the bad son of Noah, and in the following century he began to be regarded as father of heathen philosophy and arch-heretic, of prisca superstitio; in the sixteenth and seventeenth century storytellers like Athanasius Kircher saw him – or his son, the second Zoroaster – spreading his atheistic philosophy from Mesopotamia to Persia, India, and westward to Greece as well as eastward to China, and becoming the founder of heathen „oriental philosophy“.
(Quotes from U. App, The Cult of Emptiness, Wil 2014. In detail see: M. Stausberg, Faszination Zarathustra. Zoroaster und die Rezeptionsgeschichte der Frühen Neuzeit. 2 vols. Berlin 1998).