We often highlight Zoroastrians on the site, here’s a word from the Oxford English Dictionary. In contemporary times, Freddie Mercury was a Zoroastrian.

Avesta, n.
[‘The sacred scripture of Zoroastrianism; spec. the ancient texts enshrining the law, liturgy, and belief system of Zoroastrianism, written in the ancient Avestan language.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /əˈvɛstə/, U.S. /əˈvɛstə/

You can read the Avesta at the Zoroastrian Archives.  There is a Zoroastrian Shop on the site also.



Grammatical Forms

Forms: 17– Avesta, 18 Awasta rare, 19 Awesta rare.
Origin: Formed within English, by clipping or shortening. Etymon: Zend-Avesta n.
Etymology:Shortened < Zend-Avesta n., probably as a result of reinterpretation of the first element as attributive.

Compare the French Avesta (1762 or earlier) and the German Avesta (1763 or earlier; formerly this was also spelt Awesta).  Compare earlier Zend n.  Awasta and Awesta are probably remodelled after Persian awastā (see Zend-Avesta n.).


                                                         Definition

The sacred scripture of Zoroastrianism; specifically. the ancient texts enshrining the law, liturgy, and belief system of Zoroastrianism, written in the ancient Avestan language.In its surviving form the Avesta appears to have been assembled under the Sassanian Kings (3rd–7th cent. a.d.) from the remains of a much larger body of ancient scripture.

In earliest use (see quot. 1774) erroneously applied to the interpretative text which accompanies the Avesta in many manuscripts; cf. Zend n., Zend-Avesta n.


Historical Usage of Avesta

1774 M.-A. Pillement de Fauques Vizirs III. 2 The Zend..is a compound of absurd doctrine, and of morality… The Vesta, or Avesta, which was joined to it, is a commentary on the doctrine.

1798 Monthly Rev. Apr. 575 On many other occasions the author ingeniously consults the Avesta for geographical elucidations.

1853 Jrnl. Amer. Oriental Soc. 3 227 The three last named publications relate to the criticism of the text, and the interpretation, of the Avesta.

1888 Encycl. Brit. XXIV. 775/2 Although the Avesta is a work of but moderate compass..there..exists no single MS. which gives it in its entirety.

1930 Jrnl. Relig. 10 108 A later passage of the Avesta.

1985 M. Schwartz in I. Gershevitch Cambr. Hist. Iran II. xiv. 664 The Avesta is a compilation of liturgy, dogma, prayers, spells, mythological lore and prescriptions.

2016 L. Khatchadourian Imperial Matter i. 11 One such debate has long centered on the relation of the religion of the Avesta, commonly known as Zoroastrianism, to that of the Achaemenids.

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