Solomon and Jamšīd: Transformation of Biblical and Talmudic Figures based on Iranian Literature

Document Type : Research Paper


PhD in Religion, Department of Religions and Cultures, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada


This article is focused on the influence of Iranian motifs and themes on Biblical characters in the Babylonian Talmud (Bavli). Through a comparison of the Bavli’s account of Solomon with Iranian accounts of the mythical figure of Jamšīd, it will be demonstrated that the latter figure helps us understand the differences between Biblical and Talmudic accounts of the former. This approach suggests that studying the impact of the Talmud and Midrash on Islamic tafsīr or exegesis—and consequently, Persian literature—may be a fruitful avenue for Iranists to explore. The main goal in this paper is to depict how Babylonian Jewish sages, who were familiar with Iran’s literature and culture, used this knowledge to create transformed versions of well-known biblical figures, such as King Solomon, and furthermore, show that these Sasanian rabbis as composers of the Bavli played a significant role in the long and complicated transformation process that occurred from the Avesta to classical Persian literature.


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