kbs2244 wrote:They also mention fire worship.
Isn’t that a new one for the area?
And way too early for a Zoroastrian presence?
The Hawaiians worshipped the fire goddess, Pele.
This is from Wikipedia on Fire Worship:
Although the term "fire-worshippers" is primarily associated with Zoroastrians, the idea that Zoroastrians worship fire is originally from anti-Zoroastrian polemic. Instead, fire — even in a Fire temple (the Zoroastrian terms are more prosaic and simple mean "house of fire") — is considered to be an agent of purity and as a symbol of righteousness and truth. In the present-day this is explained to be because fire burns ever-upwards and can't itself be polluted. Nonetheless, Sadeh and Chaharshanbe Suri are both fire-related festivals celebrated throughout Greater Iran and date back to when Zoroastrianism was still the predominant religion of the region.
In Vedic religion, fire is a central element in the Yajna ceremony, with Agni "fire" playing the role as mediator between the worshipper and the other gods. Related concepts are the Agnihotra ritual, the invocation of the healing properties of fire; the Agnicayana ritual, which is the building of a fire altar to Agni; and Agnistoma, which is one of the seven Somayajnas. In Hinduism which is really Sanatana Dharma, Agni or Fire is cosidered to be the tongue of the Supreme Lord Narayana, hence all the sacrfices done even to any demigod ultimately is a sacrifice to the Supreme Lord Narayana.
Archaeologically, the earliest evidence for Indo-Iranian fire worship is found at the transition from the Sintashta-Petrovka to the Fedorovo culture around 1500 BC, together with first evidence of cremation. While cremation became ubiquitous in Hinduism, it came to be disavowed in Zoroastrianism.
Fire is also an element of theophany in the Hebrew Bible (Burning bush, Pillar of Fire). Additionally, the Biblical Hebrew language is sometimes referred to as "the flame alphabet" because many devout Jews believe that the Torah is the literal word of God written in fire (for example Aish HaTorah). The Holy Spirit in Christianity is described as "tongues of flame."