Thaddeus Nelson

Thesis Title: "The Impact of Zoroastrianism on the Postexilic Development of Judaism."

Advisor: Alberto R. Green

My thesis attempts a holistic approach to the postexilic developments of Judaism that may have occurred under a Zoroastrian influence.  The religion of ancient Persia was in a long and close contact with the Jewish faith from the Exilic period to the rise of Islam.  While there are certainly many places that Judaism felt the influence of Zoroastrian beliefs, my paper goes beyond completely crediting postexilic developments to a Persian source, as has been popular in some branches of scholarship.  Instead, I trace the development of Judaism from the religion of Israel in the pre-exilic and Exilic periods, and seek to separate Zoroastrian influences in the postexilic period from the gradual evolution of Judaism.  In the end, my thesis marks the culmination of my career at Rutgers, but more specifically two and a half years of work in this subject area.   My work would have been impossible without the support of the entire department of religion, but especially Dr. Alberto Green.