1818: Fraudulent work of Zoroastrianism
The Desatir or sacred writings of the ancient Persian prophets;
in the original tongue; together with the ancient Persian version and commentary of the fifth Sasan; carefully published by Mulla Firuz bin Kaus, who has subjoined a copious glossary of the obsolete and technical Persian terms: to which is added an English translation of the Desatir and commentary. Bombay: printed at the Courier Press, by J. F. de Jesus 1818
First edition Two volumes bound in one, pp., iii, , ix, , 4, , 316, (iv); ii, 203, 81. A very good copy bound in recent half calf, cloth boards. Forbes Library punched stamp on title. Paper very lightly age-toned. A couble of minor tears to margins.
Encycl. Iranica Vol. III (1989) pp.185-7 and Vol. VII (1994) p.85.
The Desatir is a sixteenth century forgery claiming to date from the Sasanian period, one of several works originating from an Indian milieu of mystic Zoroastrianism which attempts to show that a mystical form of Zoroastrianism preceded the 'historical' form. True Zoroastrianism is the least mystic of religions. According to the preface, the then only known manuscript of this work was purchased in Isfahan "about forty-five years ago, from one Agha Muhammed Taher, a bookseller", by Mollā Kāvūs, father of the publisher Mulla Firuz bin Kaus. This, the first printed edition, claimed the support of Sir William Jones, Jonathan Duncan, late Governor of Bombay, and Sir John Malcolm. Publication gave some credibility and influence in Parsee circles to the spurious work, but subsequent research has shown that it has no connection with the authentic ancient literature of Zoroastrianism. The manuscript is thought to have been fabricated during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar whose search for an ecumenical religion encouraged religious invention of this kind. The text is written in an ostensibly secret coded language. It is unknown whether this was published in mis-guided belief, or whether it represents an early attempt to increase the commercial value of a dubious manuscript.