Fakultäten » Theologische Fakultät » Religionswissenschaftliches Seminar » Prof. Dr. Dorothea Lüddeckens » Lüddeckens

Completed research project

Title / Titel Development and Differentiation of Theology within contemporary Zoroastrianism
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung Der Fokus des Forschungsprojektes liegt auf der Frage nach der Entwicklung und Differenzierung einer Theologie innerhalb des zeitgenössischen Zoroastrismus.
Ziel des Projektes ist eine Analyse von Entwicklungen innerhalb des indischen Zoroastrismus der Gegenwart und jüngsten Vergangenheit.

Auszug aus dem Final Scientific Report

The research project brought two perspectives on the Parsi Zoroastrian community together: A historical focus on the religious tradition of Zoroastrianism was contributed by the visiting fellow and a social scientific perspective on the present situation of the Parsi community was contributed by the host. Subject of the project was the role of the priesthood throughout the course of history and the differentiation of theological thought in Zoroastrianism.
The joint perspective showed continuities as well as discontinuities in the history of that religious tradition:
Conflicts about religious questions as they are very prominent in the present could be found in earlier times, too. These discussions posed a continuous challenge to the priesthood in their role as religious leaders and were starting points for the development of theological interpretations from the 18th century until today. Thus, conflicts facilitated religious reflexivity within the community. But despite these contentious periods with their differing religious interpretations, the priesthood fulfilled their main task of upholding the performance of rituals throughout the history of Zoroastrianism.
Discontinuities were found concerning the position of the priesthood within the community. The dramatic ascent of the Parsi community in colonial India, starting in the 18th and 19th century led to socio-economic change which massively improved the financial as well as the educational state of the Parsis. In both aspects, most of the laymen surpassed the priests. This lead to a relative decline in the prestige of the latter and to challenges of lay intellectualism in religious questions.
Thus, the priesthood is ritualistically indispensable, theologically challenged and socio-economically disadvantaged. While there's no central priestly organisation, individual priests attained influential positions within the community. In these, the role of education and organisation proved to be crucial and therefore have to be considered as main factors in the future development of the Parsi Zoroastrian priesthood.
Publications / Publikationen Lüddeckens, Dorothea/Karanjia, Ramiyar (2011): Days of Transition. The Parsi Death Rituals, Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag.
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Prof.Dr. Dorothea Lüddeckens (Project Leader)
Dr. Ramiyar Karanjiia
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
SNF (Personen- und Projektförderung)
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Apr 2011 to Jun 2011