The discovery (by Muslim folk) of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1947 - 1956) opened a new era in the study of Hebrew Scriptures. The 1945 discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library (again by Muslims) reopened the question of the relationship between Christian Scriptures and Gnosticism. We stand today in a similar position with the "unearthing" of the Zoroastrian Avesta Scriptures between the lines of the Quran and increasingly in the Bible. In this instance, Jews and Christians have played a role in the search, compared in Three Testaments to the outlines of Roman villages and fortifications in Britain, seen from space by Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts, but invisible to the British farmers who knew every stick and stone on the land.

On this basis, in Book One of Three Testaments we consider the late dates (628 - 551) now increasingly accepted for Zoroaster's life, suggesting that his oft-vaunted monotheism, coming hundreds of years after Moses, was possibly inspired by Israeli exiles from the 722 BCE diaspora, living in his Scythian / Azerbaijani birthplace. In Book Two of Three Testaments, in a manner similar to recent reconsideration of information about early Christianity in Gnostic sources, we reassess the ancient legends that Jesus travelled the Silk Route to India during his "missing years," postulating that his travels at least into Syrian Zoroastrian territory, as mentioned (and largely ignored) in the gospels, may have more significance that traditionally understood. In Book Three we employ the traditional Islamic perspective on the Quran as confirming, critiquing and amplifying previous revelations and scriptures, noting dramatic ways in which the Avesta Scriptures may be seen to foreshadow the Quran, much as do the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

Words freighted with specific theological meaning, and phrases first seen in the Zoroastrian Avesta, can now be correlated with similar or identical words, phrases and verses in the Torah, the Gospel and the Quran, a phenomenon we designate as "the Z factor." For many years, Torah scholars, using some version of the popular "documentary hypothesis," have identified those verses that came from "P" (the priestly source), from "D" (the "deuteronomist"), or the earlier sources, "J" and "E" (southern and northern respectively). New Testament scholars can likewise go through the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, underlining passages identified as "Q" (an early collection of stories about Jesus used by both in compiling their gospels). Future students may be able to identify the Z-related passages with confidence, as when Isaiah directly answers specific questions posed by Zoroaster, or when Jesus follows Zoroaster in using the I AM phrase from the burning bush to deliniate the divine presence in a variety of circumstances. The Quran confirms the pristine monotheistic prophecies of Zoroaster, as well as the messianic self-understanding of Jesus in a broader context that indicates a Zoroastrian judgment theology, in various Z verses.

In Three Testaments, we draw attention to these bold possibilities, and offer our own sample presentations of Z passages from the Avesta itself, in paraphrases with a modern ring to them, designed to evoke the same excitement in contemporary readers that they must have evoked for many in the Axial Age of the ancient world, from Buddha and Plato to Isaiah, and in derivitive fashion to Jesus and Muhammad. We present the evidence, speculate a little within the traditional framework of the three testaments under consideration, and let the story unfold as scholars, students and other readers may discern. It is well and good to place the three testaments side by side to appreciate their commonality and their separate endowments. However, it is the Z factor that not only connects us to one another, but also to ancient Vedic traditions which are foundational for Taoist, Confucian, Hindu, Buddhist and other faiths further east. No less an agenda than world peace is served by connecting us to truths found there, and connecting us with those people in a new appreciation of "world religion," appropriate for the twenty first century.

Four Testaments: Tao Te Ching, Analects, Dhammapada, Bhagavad Gita takes the Z factor to its logical conclusion, given the greater ease in finding such vedic / Zoroastrian material in texts the further east we go. A subtext of this book is the beginning of a search for "The Dead Zee Scrolls,"  in chapters focused directly on the Z factor in pursuit of discovery of either or both complete texts of the Avesta, all but destroyed twice when Greek invaders under Alexander and Muslim invaders soon after Muhammad sought to burn all copies circulating in the Persian Empire. The Zoroastrian community today has some 20% of the ancient Z texts; at least some copies of the 20,000 or more copies once in circulation will eventually be found. Meanwhile, along with J, E, D, P and Q, many Z passages are being identified in the Hebrew Scriptures, the New testament and the Quran., as well now as the sacred texts of the Eastern religions.