It has received only the slightest of revisions, but in its earlier form was read by Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin; see his The Western Response to Zoroaster (1958), p. 104.
The entire series of lectures was accepted for publication by a university press in 1958, and subsequently George G. Cameron learned that one of the readers who recommended publication was Professor Wolfgang Lentz. Late in the same year, however, he decided to withhold publication until he could include a modern translation of all of Zoroaster’s Gathas; the latter task, unhappily, remains unfinished.
Cameron knows only too well how difficult it is to understand and to translate the Gathas of Zoroaster, and how full of obscurities they are. It is perhaps particularly dangerous for one who lays no claim to being essentially an Iranian-language specialist to cite (even from far better authorities) as many translations of various passages as are presented in this book.
Cameron realizes also (as Professor F. B. J. Kuiper first pointed out to him when, in the summer of 1965, Cameron suggested to him briefly and orally the interpretations here proposed) that he have taken no account of the prominent role which the cow plays in the Vedas; perhaps one might even suggest that Zoroaster may have emphasized the cow and cattle herding because he was dimly aware of some very old — and pre-Zoroastrian — myth involving this animal, the outlines of which had long since been lost.
The message of the prophet Zoroaster would have made strong appeal to those people in any era of time who, in the morass of polytheism, were searching for new approaches toward deity. He taught that there was a single god whom all men should recognize and worship since He, who was present at the beginning and would still be present at the end of time, represented the best in all life. He proclaimed that there was open to every man a free choice for good or evil, and that every man must make that choice. And he was confident that the reign of the righteousness of his Wise Lord would ultimately triumph on earth as of course it was supreme in heaven. That such lofty sentiments should be expressed by a prophet whose career had ended before the middle of the sixth century BC is an astonishing fact of history.
“Zoroaster the herdsman”
ISSN : 0019-7246 (Print) 1572-8536 (Online)
Volume 10, Number 4 / decembre 1968