Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia

Zöckler, Otto

(1833–1906). Prominent Luth. theol.; b. Grünberg, Hesse; educ. Giessen; mem. of Prussian* Union; influenced by Erlangen school; prof. Giessen; prof. Greifswald to end of life. Zöckler was a prolific writer, chiefly on apologetic subjects regarding the inner harmony of revealed religion and true science. His best book on these is perhaps Gottes Zeugen im Reich der Natur. He wrote commentaries in J. P. Lange's* commentary; with H. L. Strack* ed. a commentary on the Bible; ed. Handbuch der theologischen Wissenschaften and Evangelische Kirchen-Zeitung (founded by E. W. Hengstenberg*).

Zöckler, Theodor

(1867–1949). Ev. theol.; b. Greifswald, Ger.; miss. to Jews 1890; pastor at Stanislau (Stanislav), Galicia (after WW I Stanislawów, Poland; after WW II Ivano-Frankovsk, USSR) 1891; est. schools and active in inner missions; helped unite Polish chs. in “Council of Ev. Chs. in Poland; he and his institutions were forced to relocate in Ger. 1939; work continues in Stade, W. Ger.

Zoellner, Wilhelm

(1860–1937). Ger. Luth. theol.; b. Minden, Westphalia; educ. Leipzig, Halle, Bonn; pastor Friedrichsdorf near Bielefeld and Barmen-Wupperfeld; dir. of deaconess institution at Kaiserswerth 1897; gen. supt. of Ch. of Westphalia 1905; chairman of the committee of the Ger. fed. of chs. in Kirchenkampf* 1935; exponent of confessional Lutheranism. Works include Im Dienst der Kirche; Die Kirche der Geschichte und die Kirche des Glaubens.

Zollikofer, Georg Joachim

(1730–1788). Ref. preacher; rationalist; b. St. Gall, Switz.; pastor Morat, Switz., and Leipzig, Ger.; praised by J. W. v. Goethe* for sermons. Works include Predigten; Predigten über die Würde des Menschen.

Zonaras, Joannes

(12 c.). Byzantine historian. Works include general history; commentaries on patristic canons.

Zorn, Carl Manthey

(March 18, 1846–July 12, 1928). B. Sterup, Schleswig, Ger.; grad. Leipzig 1870; miss. of Leipzig Mission Soc. in India 1871–76; pastor Sheboygan, Wisconsin, 1876–81; Cleveland, Ohio (Zion), 1881–1911, when he retired. Among his books are many popular expositions of Bible books, the most comprehensive being that on Colossians; other works include Bekehrung und Gnadenwahl; Eunike; Brosamlein; Auf den Weg; Handbook for Home Study; Christenfragen aus Gottes Wort beantwortet.

C. M. Zorn, Dies und das aus dem Leben eines ostindischen Missionars (St. Louis, 1907); Dies und das aus frühem Amtsleben (St. Louis, 1912); Abwärts, Aufwärts (Milwaukee, 1910); F. D. Lueking, Mission in the Making (St. Louis, 1964).


Grecized name of Zarathustra, founder of Zoroastrianism* and alleged author of Zend-Avesta.* Exact time and place of birth and place of activity unknown; but it seems assured that he lived a considerable time before the 6th c. BC in Iran. Details of his life also shrouded in obscurity, but tradition tells the following: B. 660 BC. At age 30 he received revelations from Ahura Mazdah regarding new monotheism which he was to preach in opposition to contemporary polytheism. For 11 yrs. he went from court to court in Iran without success, until he converted King Vishtaspa 618 BC, through whose influence the new religion spread widely. Was slain at age of 77 in a religious war.


1. The religion of Persia prior to the Mohammedan conquest. Its traditional founder is Zoroaster,* its sacred book the Avesta. (see also Zend-Avesta). Other sources are texts written in Pahlavi, the medieval Persian, collected from the 3d to the 9th c., of which the most important is the Bundahishn, a work containing cosmogony, mythology, and legend.

2. Before Zoroaster the religion of the Persians was a polytheistic nature worship (see Brahmanism). Among their deities were Mithra, the sun god, Ahura Mazdah, or “Wise Lord,” the sky god, a fire spirit, numerous evil spirits, called daevas. This nature worship was reformed by Zoroaster in the direction of a practical monotheism. Of the old gods he chose Ahura Mazdah (later Persian, Ormuzd) and ascribed to him absolute supremacy, rejecting all other gods. The name Mazdaism, therefore, is also applied to the Avestan religion. Zoroaster also taught an ethical dualism which, as Zoroastrianism, developed during the following centuries and became more and more pronounced until it was the most characteristic doctrine of the system.

3. Beside Ahura Mazdah, who is the creator of the universe, the guardian of mankind, the source of all that is good, and who demands righteousness of his people, there existed from eternity a powerful evil spirit, Angra Mainyu, or Ahriman, who is the source of all evil and the implacable opponent of Ahura Mazdah and who endeavors to lead men from the path of virtue. Between these two spirits is man, who has a free will to choose bet. good and evil and will be rewarded or punished accordingly. Characteristic of the system also is a well-developed angelology and eschatology.

4. Associated with Ahura Mazdah are a large number of good spirits, presided over by 6 archangels, the Amesha Spentas, or “Immortal Holy Ones,” who are personified attributes of the supreme deity and regarded as his main agencies. They are Good Thought, Best Righteousness, Wished-for Kingdom, Harmony on Earth, Salvation, Immortality.

5. Opposed to the good spirits and associated with Ahriman is a hierarchy of evil spirits. The conflict bet. these 2 forces will continue until the end of the world cycle, which consists of 12,000 years, when Ahura Mazdah will finally triumph and Ahriman be overthrown. The last period of 3,000 years of this cycle begins with Zoroaster's prophetic career.

6. Zoroaster's ethical code lays great stress on “good thoughts, good words, good deeds.” To be good, however, means chiefly to abstain from demon worship and to worship Ahura Mazdah and follow his precepts. Body and soul must be kept pure. It is also man's religious duty to foster agriculture, cattle raising, and irrigation, to protect especially the cow and the dog, to abstain from lying and robbery. The elements of earth, fire, and water must be kept from defilement. Because of the last injunction Zoroastrians neither bury nor cremate their dead, as thereby earth and fire would be defiled, but expose them to vultures on “towers of silence.” Forgiveness of sins has no place in the system; sins must be counterbalanced by good works. Three days after death the souls cross the Cinvat bridge to be judged, the righteous passing on to heaven, the wicked to the tortures of hell. If good and evil deeds balance exactly, the soul passes to an intermediate place, called Hamestakan (or Hamestagan; Hamistagan), where it experiences neither bliss nor torture.

7. At the Last Day all men will be raised from the dead and subjected to another ordeal. They must pass through molten metal, which causes joy to the good, but extreme pain to the wicked. After that all souls, even of the wicked, being purified, will be taken to heaven and a new world established, which shall endure to eternity.

8. Zoroaster's teachings did not involve a ritual. Later, however, a complete ceremonial worship and a priesthood developed (see Magi). Important rites were preparation of the haoma, a sacred drink, and in later centuries fire ceremonies (see Fire Worshipers). Marriage was a religious duty, and intermarriage of those closely related, even of brother and sister, was permitted. Zoroastrianism made considerable progress under the Achaemenian kings (558–331 BC); but whether it was universally accepted during that period is not known. It received a setback through the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great and under Greek and Parthian rule had difficulty in maintaining itself. In the Neo-Persian empire (226–637), under the Sassanid dynasty, it again became the dominant religion; but after the Moslem conquest it began to decline rapidly, yielding to Shi>ite* Mohammedanism. Due to Moslem persecution many Zoroastrians emigrated to India, where they settled mainly at Bombay.

See also Anahita; Antichrist; Parsi.

See Religion, Comparative, Bibliography.


(5th c.) Byzantine hist.; preferred paganism to Christianity. Works include Nea historia (Gk.)

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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