Mary Martin Booksellers- The Sinopedia Series (12 Volum - ()
In this multi-volumed study, Schmidt proved that ancient primitive humanity was nearly universally monogamous and monotheistic. He showed that ancient peoples from every part of Earth attributed no human-like activity to their single god, such as a diety having a wife or children or of having need of subordinates. He also showed that there was a! Schmidt could find no model in nature or experience from which the ancient people could formulate an eternal and transcendent God, yet they did.
As such, all of these ancient peoples testified to their knowledge of God as having come from the age in which this God lived among people and told them about Himself. The Western evangelist will be inclined to offer logical, reasoned! He goes on to show why humankind often supplants this God with a multitude of other, less demanding and less powerful gods to avoid guilt and responsibility. All education in China and Taiwan is largely rote repetition from memorized forms and graded by perfection of copy.
A deductive system of logic is necessary for the development of theoretical science. Analogical logic cannot provide deductive connections between theory and empirical observations. The ancient Chinese writers demonstrated in their writings all the logical forms used in the West but never systematize them into a structured logic curriculum. They would demonstrate a form in an argument but not be aware of the form. There were no Chinese thinkers studying these forms as systematic tools.
So, Chinese logic is a case of analogical inference. This often reduces further into simple trial and error linear thinking and problem solving. Compounding this problem in communication of ideas, the Chinese language is too vague and ambiguous to fit into scientific methodology. The language itself has shaped the culture of communication and has turned scholarship away from substance and toward form; away from synthesis and generalization and toward compilation and commentary. Werner, 85 E. Weimin, 86 S. Dao, 8 4 , Weimin, S. Modern Chinese and Taiwanese are able to see these logical deduction and induction forms when the Western presenter is patient and understanding to explain them without forceful insistence.
However, it takes time and relationship rather than undefeated argument and prowess of reasoning skills to guide the listener to see the structure of the argument. Chinese religious and philosophical dualism is widely documented. Speaking of validity and logical soundness is of limited value to many Chinese who are able to hold contradictory facts to a conclusion without anxiety. Patterns that Occidental thinkers see in historical development may not be seen by Oriental thinkers and visa versa. Internalization was aided by the distinction between knowledge and wisdom, between data accumulation and insight development through the cultivation of the!
Records from the Han dynasty show the first understanding of special cases in geometry, known as the Pythagorean theorem, were known about years earlier than were proposed in the West. It is certainly a major problem for the Western scholars to face the fact that Chinese thought, despite [or perhaps because of] an initial dalliance with logic, quickly turned away from it and proceeded down the centuries unfettered or untouched by a discipline considered so indispensable by western philosophers. Prehistoric Formation of Religion in China! The Yellow River Valley in Prehistoric Times In spite of years of research and several conjectures, the origin of the Chinese people remains undetermined.
Evidence extant points to immigration from outside of East Asia, from an alien race overcoming the aboriginal inhabitants. The majority view is that they were immigrants from the Tarim Valley, Acadia via East Turkestan, already demonstrating an advanced state of! Sun, Y-j. Cao, D-w. There may have been many different cultures and races in the vastness that is China from 10, to BC, yet there is no evidence of such, even though there are eight distinct and very different cultures known of from to BC.
China seems to have been populated by two migrations, one from Africa to Eurasia across Central Asia from the North, and the other from the South through Southeast Asia. They were highly social-conservative and unchanging in their traditions. Basic writing was already well developed at this time as well. More than sites, centered in the valleys of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, are spread over a vast area.
The Banpo site of the Yangshao Culture, years ago, and the Hemudu Site of the Hemudu Culture, years ago, are representative of the early Neolithic Period, while the! Werner, 92 E. Tanner, H. China: a history Amazon Kindle Digital Edition ed. Hackett Publishing Company. Ross, J. The Banpo site covers 50, square miles.
Oral history attributed key inventions and cultural traditions to them. Excavations in the area show that the leader of the village in this Stone Age was female suggesting a tribal system run along matriarchal lines. The LongShan culture, from to BC replaced the Yangshao culture coinciding with environmental change when the Central Plains became drier and cooler.
There seems to have been no invasion or defeat of the Yangshao culture by the LongShan, but rather they rose through a simple cultural dominance assisted by an environmental change. The LongShan and Yangshao people were physically different races. Such theories as these must be taken as a belief system as a presupposition, as no definitive proof can be offered and only circumstantial evidence upholds the theory with its many other arguable presuppositions. However, it is not a wild theory that is without the support of experienced researchers into Chinese culture and religion.
Chinese cosmology is absent of a well-accepted creation myth. Most of the educated Chinese after the Three Kingdoms period simply regarded the world as a spontaneous, self- generating cosmos, having neither creator nor ultimate cause external to itself. If the Chinese brought with them from the!
The global God: multicultural Evangelical views of God. Baker Academic. There is no actual evidence of what was truly believed in China about the origins of earth prior to BC in Chinese history. Many ancient cultures, to whom the Bible was unknown, have religious traditions embodying the idea of a garden of earthly paradise. The first human being on earth, according to both the Chinese and Hebrew records, was a fully grown adult man who came forth from the hands of God.
Falkenhausen, L. However, these stories are only legendary. ShenNong invented agricultural tools and experimented with hundreds of herbs to determine which was healing. He is believed to be the father of Chinese medicine. FuXi by tradition believed to be the son of new a while, taught how to catch fish with nets and with being the first author of the Yi Ching, the oldest written record of the Chinese. You-Sheng Li. American Standard Version of the Bible. Logos Bible Software. Such legends teach that in high antiquity animals lived in harmony with men, and walked with them without fear.
Later, they began to fear men; then they were scattered and cast into disorder. In later ages they concealed themselves, working in ambush, and skulking far away to escape injury. In great antiquity the men of supernatural wisdom enjoyed a complete knowledge of all the properties, external and internal, of the lower animals, together with a full understanding of their different stations and of the sounds they uttered; so that when they call them together they assembled, and when they taught them they received the instruction that was imparted, exactly like human beings.
Even those who establish these ancient civilizations might not recognize this internal source. Nevertheless, the origin of this source is unquestionably from the One who set all nations on the one planet, and that One is the Logos, also known as Tao. Missionary John Ross, to AD, one of the greatest missionaries to Asia in his generation, lived 40 years in Manchu, Korea, and at home in China.
He was an accomplished, respected and published linguist. According to Mohammedan writers, Japheth, whom they call Aboultierk, had eleven sons, among whom are: Sin, father of the Chinese; Turk of the Turks; and Ros of the Russians; nations wholly unknown to the ancient Hebrews. Chinese tradition places the first Emperors circa BC but documentary history only goes back to BC. However, archaeology shows this tradition may not be simple myth. When one talks about kings, governors and countries in this time of ancient China, BC, one is really talking about tribal leaders; tribes and small groups having a King who became more like a community organizer and priest-shaman.
Grayson, J. Painter, J. Kitto, J. American Book Exchange. There is no mention in Chinese myth, legend or history of a nomadic stage, and it is known that even in the late Neolithic age that the Chinese were already agriculturally stable. Mythic tales, of the more fantastical nature, are rare in China before BC and seemingly all from the same ancient foreign source.
Anthology considers three elements necessary for myth creation: uncritical thinking; stimulus such as danger, adventure, or conflict with others; and most importantly to this discussion, persistence of the imaginative narrative due to a longevity for the need to keep the myth.
There were periods in ancient China before circa BC that did create stories that are called myth, but these ages did not endure long enough in Chinese history to create true, time spanning and culture defining myth. China is, sociologically, an aggregate of the first order, that is; in a state of rigidity that arrests sociological and cultural development.
The ancient Chinese were not unimaginative,! Having no contact or competition with other peoples, combined with the soberness of their society, arrested a great deal of mythology. Therefore, it can be assumed that in conjunction with archaeology and the accuracy of Chinese historians that there were indeed pre-dynastic advanced people in China and that the reporting of their religion and culture is fairly but arguably accurate.
City states appeared in Mesopotamia years ago, circa BC. In China the first dynasty was founded about BC. In the years or so before the death of Christ, many cultures in the world laid down the philosophical foundations for the next years and up to the present. Scholars call this The Axial Age.
History still remains very dependent on the thoughts that developed during that period. Humankind is reminded of its remote traditions by popular comments that Western philosophy is only a footnote to Plato. The period of axial China was from to BC but the critical period of dramatic social changes and flourishing philosophies was the period of warring states from to BC. The so-called hundred schools of thought emerge during this time.
Taoists only viewed such achievements as further departure from the Tao. They sought to diminish it by saying, "Philosophies flourished, and human stupidity started. The last two rulers of this legend, Yao and Shun, appear to have lived in the postdiluvian period and were possibly the leaders of Chinese migration. Egypt, Babylon, and the Harappan all built ancient civilizations at the same time as China, but all of those fell.
The rise and fall of the Xia, Shang and Zhou accumulated the successive genes of the past Chinese cultures and preserved them, and at times corrupted them, gradually maturing in every step of the process. He ordered subordinates to invent writing characters, the calendar, arithmetic and music. Yandi, also known as Shennong Shi, the legendary founder of agriculture and medicine. Bronze artifacts unearthed in Gansu, Qinghai, and other places indicate that bronze and stoneware were both used in this period about years ago.
The famous emperor Yu was at this time dredging rivers and making dams to control floods and irrigation. His engineering achievements alone established his authority. By as early as BC or as late at BC, Yu was emperor over the first dynasty in non-unified China, recommended by Shen to Heaven for succession to the throne of the Middle Kingdom.
With the great plan of administration from heaven, Yu not only successfully controlled the devastating flood in the kingdom, but also brought social order. Only later did a hereditary system replace an abdication system. The true reason for this type of a typical succession was their respect and all for God, according to the ancient records. It covered a large area that was more than ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt combined. Under its rule were more than 10, so-called "countries" which were really villages and tribes. The estimated population was 12 million.
It's neighbors were called wasteland zones where no government existed. China was a superpower and a superstate in their known ancient world. This superstate structure of China endured in one form or another for the next years save for short periods of feuding. The people maintained their ancient leisurely lifestyles because there was no competition to hurry their development or change their pace. They saw themselves as part of nature, heaven and earth because of this low conflict history.
Although the government of the superstate was a secondary society, it was molded after the primary society as it was the only society they knew. China is the only ancient civilization in the world with no interruption. The Chinese people have inherited a common culture and history longer than have any other people on earth. The natural economy-based centralism, boasting a highly centralized state power and a well organized hierarchy, competently exercised jurisdiction over a large population across a vast territory via professional officials selected through imperial examinations, and created smooth and efficient road and communications networks.
The application of a single writing system via ! One of the reasons is that aesthetics developed in ancient China in the place of religion. Both Taoists and Confucians pursue self cultivation according to their aesthetic beliefs. Aesthetics are more individual and difficult to put in the service of social power while religion is often used to consecrate secular power. It is hard to measure the value of aestheticism the secondary society. The desire for union with the Tao is the religion of China and has been for ages past.
The monotheism of the Heaven and Earth Temple are also indicators that the most ancient Emperors believed in some kind of established Chinese religion. By assuming that a religion must be organized and delineated they have missed the very nature of Chinese aestheticism; that it seeks a beautiful unity rather than a western style category and form. Also called Chang, he was a duke serving under the last Shang Dynasty.
King Wen died in BC at the age of Therefore, this years and more time-period from Tang to Wen extends from the death of Tang to the birth of Wen - years. The Qin, the first Dynasty of a united China, and Han Dynasties, from BC to AD were the first unified multiethnic centralized states in Chinese history, laying the foundation for a united empire.
Paper played a significant role in worldwide communication, education, and trade, and had a profound impact on the progress of world civilization. To China, writing was civilization itself. The oldest Hebrew narratives were written in BC. Yet Chinese writing was developed before this,! The meaning can be rendered that straight from the mouth of God is understanding. The importance of divination in ancient China was extensive. The earliest writings were those engraved on the oracle bones, recording the subject for divination, the date, and the reading of the Oracle answer. This was the beginning of writing, of chronology, of history and of literature in China.
It was the beginning of literary education and the intellectual class; a class of men specially trained for performing such duties: the priests, the interpreters of the spirits and the teachers. The excavation at Anyang shows that the shells and bones of the Shang dynasty were carefully numbered and collected for preservation. The office of the imperial historian was always connected with the priesthood.
They were the first scientists and the first philosophers and they were also the first moral philosophers who sought to understand the will of the gods for the guidance of men. Nelson, E. Concordia Pub. Page 13 ! Chen, E. Vol Pages ! From such shells are the earliest examples of Chinese writing known. The writing of Chinese history has its roots in these oracle bone inscriptions from the Shang Dynasty which recorded not merely questions and predictions, but also the outcomes of relevant events, showing a commitment to both divination and genuine historical recording. The Han People did not even know of the lost and buried oracle bones when Chinese writing was standardized to its modern catalogue in the late first century BC.
It is a conservative estimate that the Hia Government mastered a few hundred symbols for keeping records. Hia and it's previous governments employed a specialized official for recording national events, and the authenticity of those records has been confirmed by western academic studies. Unlike the writing system of the Middle East which was developed because of commercial trade and property records, the Chinese writing system was first developed for divination. Jesus in China Kindle Digital Editions ed. By this time there were already characters. The written language is well known today and was well established at that ancient time.
Slightly modified characters on bronze-ware from the later Zhou period are called Jinwen. Both used 6 rules of character shaping paving the way for modern development. There were books from that Hsia Dynasty but only fragmentary parts of them have survived through quotes by early authors who referred to them in addition to evidence from other sources.
The original formulation of these words had to have been much earlier. The pictographic nature of Chinese characters and the relationship among the pronunciation, form, and meaning of these characters provide a wonderful opportunity for decoding the cultural implications of these words. It helped to bring the feeling of single culture for China.
For years, the written Chinese remained a unified form and had a profound influence on the consolidation of a unified multiethnic country. Legends Replace Lost Memories The written language of China was formed during a time in which the Chinese were still vested in the priest-king system servicing a monotheistic God named ShangDi. The preceding historical review sets the stage of presuppositions that underlie a popular theory that the written language has within it a shadow of the Genesis accounts. Skepticism against such a theory gives way to mathematical probabilities when viewing the great number of characters which accurately portray the Genesis saga within the ancient writing.
As has been already shown, some dare to assume the direct relationship between the ancient Chinese and Noah. Of course this leads to speculation more than to the realm of scholarship. It would be! Without presupposition, nothing at all can be said of the evidence extant other than that it exists and it is old. Weak evidence does not imply weak warrant for a presupposition when valid connections can be made. The warrant may be strong even if the evidence is circumstantial absent more valid defeating evidence. The Chinese concerned themselves deeply with the art of writing. They invented paper in AD, the first dictionary in AD, block printing in the ninth century, movable press in the 11th century, and printed more books than all of the rest of civilization at that time combined by AD.
Unpublished Masters Degree Paper. Trinity Theological Seminary, Newburgh, Indiana. These commentators state that the pictographs bear witness to original beliefs handed down by oral tradition and that correlation to Genesis with Chinese characters is persuasive, and therefore corroborates the Genesis account. Could ancient languages formed in antiquity and modified through the ages still contain the information of their original traditions?
Perhaps the modifications over time are not so great. The actual written forms have displayed only minor artistic and stylistic changes, and these same characters have remained intact through the millennia with little modification to their meaning. Concordia Publishing House.. The Seal style still contains the same ancient message of the original pictographs.
The more difficult characters of early languages usually become abbreviated into shortened forms to allow for rapid writing until letters evolved and phonetic alphabets were born. The Republic of China Taiwan and Hong Kong still maintain the use of the ancient script without any prescribed education for its citizens in the modern simplified writing. Hsieh, S. Therefore, chance formation of ancient symbols into modern interpretations is reduced. The structure is obscured because the reason for formation is lost. There is also little chance of Hebrew traders from the Silk Road influencing these Chinese pictographs.
As well, Christian influence on Chinese writing is negated since writing was well-established before Christians entered China. Christianity did not come to China until AD. Christianity flourished in China and the Bible was first translated at that time, until AD when the new Emperor persecuted Christians nearly to extinction. Once the characters had been popularized and accepted, they gradually lost their historical connections. Real and original meanings became mysterious. Moreover, later scribes expressed! Most modern Chinese dictionaries are still based on it, and still the first reference work students turn to.
Yet the Chinese who had formed these words knew nothing of this Neo-Taoism. He really just guessed at these pictures years removed from their sources and he without the archeological evidence academia possesses currently. LaFargue, M. Nelson, et al. HsuShen was unable to make ideographic sense without full knowledge of the ShangDi religion or the ancient symbols as they related to Chinese beliefs at that time, known today mostly through archaeological evidence completely unavailable to him.
He assumed that a random set of radicals were for sound only, in part because his ShouWen contains little analysis and no access to historical bronze-ware or oracle bones writings. These bones were being ground and used for medicine. Their source was traced to a site in Anyang, Henan Provence. Since then over , specimens have been uncovered. The formation of pictographs gave extended scope to the language that gives us an insight into the moral and social conditions of the ancients who framed them.
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There are such ideograph from ancient times. The dirt received breath and began to breathe. This perfect garden where dust starts to breathe by being breathed into is found no where in later Chinese mythology and fits closely to the Genesis account. This character indicates that people have a choice from God between two trees. This is another image not found in Chinese mythology and with no similar application outside of the Bible account in Genesis.
The character indicates that greed is like a woman choosing between two trees and wanting both. Though it could be any woman having any two trees to choose from, it seems specific to Genesis. Otherwise, other radicals could be used besides trees, such as sheep, belongings, houses, men, etc. The character shows two people coming out from behind a tree, reflective again of the Genesis story! The character indicates that difficulty is found when the tree has been closed off by boundaries.
It seems more than coincidence that the ancient Chinese would use this image for difficulty when they historically had floods and droughts as difficulties rather than statutory restrictions. This character is similar to kun difficulty character but replaces the tree with a noble man. Yet the oracle bones used this to mean a high official or noble man, his arms are out as if he is sitting on a throne or as if he is reaching out to control and order.
His sin is the reason all men are barred from the perfect garden. The character seems to show two offenses or offenders in front of authority. This again relates more to the the Genesis account than any Chinese myth or legend. There is a statutory nature to the meaning suggesting a divine source for thorns.
The character tells that man will farm in toil and sorrow in the midst of not only weeds, but ancient weeds as the cause of sorrow. There is an appeal to ancient legend that is unrecorded in common Chinese myths, but that parallels Genesis. Chuan is the most striking example to most Chinese and Taiwanese people first exposed to this theory.
Yet the generally known Chinese flood myth includes a mountain rescue but not a boat, and certainly not a family of eight souls but rather a couple alone. The ancient Chinese could not have considered eight people to be an important element of a boat if they had no knowledge of the Genesis account. It can be argued that the first Emperors were given authority to rule based on flood management, but! Modern Chinese thinking tends to regard sin as only criminal acts or deeply disturbing acts, and simple wrong doing is not considered to be sinful; so many Chinese do not think that they are sinners in need of salvation.
This is related to the culture of Neo- Confucianism and Neo-Taoist cultivation of the character and Buddhist cum Neo-Taoist definitions of desire and selfish action. It is odd that Chinese religious philosophy has always been known as one of self-cultivation and the working out of righteousness, yet the Chinese character for righteousness is to have the innocence of a lamb in the place of the violent man.
Yet the character better suggests that possession of these things is meaningless without God next to them, because when the God radical is removed from the writing, the remaining characters have no meaning as they are arranged or in any other formation. This is also in line with the theological view of ancient China and Confucius that God is not just the giver of good things, but the father that makes us family so that good things are part of a relationship and a laboring together.
There are many objections to this theory of a Genesis account link being communicated through ancient Chinese writing. The internet offers a few emotive arguments against such a theory, displaying little research into the question, often misrepresenting it or obtusely misunderstanding the points of the theory. The most notable, A. Nadder and Edward T. Their arguments against the theory never give! Babinski, E. Biblical Errancy. Jordan is in error with his critique of this theory of Chinese writing comparing it to the mystical practice of glyphomancy in which practitioners use Chinese characters to tell the future or divine hidden meanings from names.
No one of proper academic study in support of the theory is claiming that a one to one representation of Christian ideas are found in the Chinese writing. Doyle argues against the idea that ShangDi is an equivalent for the Hebrew God in that the title or name ShangDi is a singular and the Elohim of the Old Testament was a God of plurality that speaks to the godhead trinity.
Certainly the ancient Chinese writing would be pre-Mosaic, filtered and corrupted, and derivative. Yet, there is a remaining essence of the influential ancient knowledge that bears study. Despite evidence that there some other deities and demigods in ancient China, these were not all seeing, all powerful deities given the worship and respect of the One God. During the first three dynasties: Hsia, Shang, and! Cantonese, as well as Hakkanese, may be closer to the original spoken Chinese than Mandarin, as all three use the same writing system with different pronunciations, Cantonese and Hakkanese being more ancient and related more closely.
This more ancient pronunciation seems to parallel the Hebrew word Shaddai. Ventura, CA: Regal Books. Like Jehovah and Allah, ShangDi was never be represented by an idol. He was thought of in those ancient days as self-existent, all-father creator, and infinite in time and space. Their conclusion was that the ancient Chinese knew the true God of Genesis.
The Emperor was never thought of as a god on earth. Divine election gave authority and responsibility but did not approximate godhood in any way. The names Tien Tzu son of heaven or Yi Jen unique man, or One Man do not imply divine kingship; the Emperor was entirely human but unique in his relationship to Heaven personal,! Richardson, D. The Border Sacrifice is thought by some to indicate possible actual human sacrifice of the ancient Emperors.
When guilt is found in you who occupy the myriad regions, let it rest on me, the one man. When guilt is found in me, the one man, it shall not attached to you who occupy the myriad regions. Forgive the multitudes of people. The sins of the entire multitudes, I alone will bear. May the Almighty God and all the divinities spare the lives of the common folks. Do not harm them because of the delay of one man. After five years with no rain, he next told the nation,! Tan, W. Maybe this is what God wants. He does not delight in the offering of animals.
The animal is only a substitute for me. God wants me, because I am the son of heaven. The examination of them is my thy mind, O God. If, in my person, I commit offenses, they are not to be attributed to you, the people of the myriad regions. If you in the myriad regions commit offenses, these offenses must rest on my person.
This is also later confirmed by Zheng Xuan, a scholar of the! Amazon Digital Services, Inc. Chen, D. Shih, J. Other gods were subordinates and even deputies. Adding further linguistic problems, by the time of the Yin dynasty it was then mostly used to refer to the earthly king. A king is over a society, an emperor is over the world as a solitary sovereign. Spencer, A. Dubs, H. The general people alone could not worship ShangDi directly as that would be too familiar. They used the king as a priest. The Emperor on earth can do nothing to change the seasons except pray to the God of heaven, Tien.
This may arise from unnecessary reflexive categorization in modern thinking, as the Emperor of Earth in China was the representative of the Emperor of Heaven as a priest-king and as a symbol of the Son of Heaven. In a non-exacting pictographic language, their meanings are not nuanced and defined as well as Western scientific minds are accustomed to. The qualities of ShangDi are consistent with those of Jehovah: first, he is creator of all things; second, the order of his creation is the same as that of Genesis; third, he is just and demands the highest morals from his people; fourth, he is personal and communicates with creation; fifth, ShangDi is spirit and idols of him are forbidden; sixth, the lamb and the bull are the best true sacrifice to him and must be burned up completely to be considered proper sacrifice.
He was also an accomplished historian and minister in the government. De Bary, W. Columbia University Press. This is surprising in that fertility and maintaining the family line was of great concern to the ancient Chinese. This is indeed evidenced in the form of the Emperor as priest-king. Smith advises readers to not be misled by Han Dynasty scholars, who with attributed to the earliest dynasties the concept of kingship and the elaborate ceremonies and rituals as defined by the Han.
Those Neolithic Kings were not the same as the Han. Shih believes that this mandate theory, first seen in BC, was created to justify the new Chou dynastic rule and conquest over the Shang dynasty. The emperor was the unique man, he alone could offer the supreme worship and sacrifice to the high heaven God. Ancient Chinese! The worship of Heaven, the One God, was only performed by the Emperor in a system where ecclesiastical and political functions were not separate. The Emperor was high priest and his officers were priests. A close examination of the Border Sacrifice may hold the answer.
The Chinese sacrificed young unblemished Bulls through cremation. The five planets had not begun to revolve, nor the sun and moon to shine. In the midst thereof there existed neither forms nor sounds. You, O spiritual sovereign, came forth in your presidency, and first did divide the grosser parts from the purer. You made heaven: you made earth: you made man. All things with reproducing power got there being. Your sovereign goodness is infinite. As a potter, you have made all living things. Men and things are all emparadised sic in your love, oh God.
All living things are indebted to your goodness, but who knows from whom his blessings come to him? You alone, O Lord, are the true parent of all things His government is everlasting. Your sovereign goodness cannot be measured. As a potter, you have made all things that live. It was only by animal blood forgiveness was won and only the priest king could perform the sacrifice for the nation. The Chou people introduced their view of the Mandate of Heaven, saying that only the most moral shall rule, to justify their overthrow of the debauched, in their view, Shang dynasty.
People draw guilt upon themselves because evil is not from Heaven, and disorder is not sent down from Heaven, it is produced, according to Chinese idiom! Chen, N. Interestingly, there is a parallel literary development in Chinese ancient history to that of the Old Testament. Hebrew and Chinese phrasing is quite similar in loyalty or disloyalty to law and to covenants. Also, descriptions of divination, dream interpretation, wars, speeches, etc. The writings have no contemporary contact but are remarkably similar. The narrative states that the Heaven did not want to depose the sovereigns and he gave them five years of kindly forbearance to see that if they would improve themselves.
It is only after that time that Heaven allowed for a new dynasty to overthrow the old. Page 54! A prince can present them to the sovereign, but he cannot cause the sovereign to make that man a prince. A great officer can present a man to his prince, but he cannot cause the prince to make that man a high-ranking officer. Yao presented Shun to Heaven and Heaven accepted him. He presented him to the people, and the people accepted him. Therefore I say, Heaven does not speak. How reverent ought the masters of the earth to be! King one received the blessing of God, and it was extended to his descendants.
God said to King Wen, be not like those who reject this and cling to that, be not like those who are ruled by their likings and desires; I am pleased with your intelligent virtue, not loudly proclaimed or portrayed, without extravagance or changeableness, without consciousness of effort on your part, in accordance with the pattern of God. He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the nations, shall not he correct, Even he that teacheth man knowledge? The second commandment was that they shall not make any images of God; the ancient Chinese were not idol worshipers.
The first recorded history of making an idol was that of King Wu Ting, who was said to be without the Tao. He made an idol, calling it the spirit of heaven, and then shot at it. Even in the time of Confucius, the name of ShangDi was sacred, not to be spoken of carelessly. The fourth commandment is keeping the seventh day holy as a memorial of creation. The fifth commandment deals with filial piety. It was the God of oaths. Heavenly providence showed itself in human dreams in which an envoy of heaven, who was at the same time an ancestor, often brought warnings or gifts.
Granet, M. The religion of the Chinese people. Granet believes there was a sketch of monotheistic beliefs in these ancient Chines but that these believes were still highly indistinct and very closely related to beliefs concerning the spirit ancestors and mystical agrarian powers, predisposing them to become fascinated with cultic inventions rather than with the source of religious thought. In feudal religion, the cult of Heaven was only a dynastic and official cult, superimposed on the agrarian cults and the cults of the ancestors.
Heaven loves the people and the sovereign should reference this mind of heaven. He carried on the social reforms started in the Spring and Autumn period and of the Waring States period and implemented a series of measures to intensify centralized ! He believed that the feudal system was the source of ceaseless wars. Ancestor Veneration There are two elements of Chinese religion: one is, cosmic order; whether the self-centered Chi or the universal Tao, which must be understood and followed, or better yet submitted to; the other is, ancestor worship.
No study of Chinese religion as it might be influenced by proto- Hebraic world views can be complete without addressing this problematic belief system found in all Asia and particularly powerful in Taiwan. Chinese people worship their ancestors who functioned as messengers for mediators between man and God.
Since the ancestors they worshiped included their dead parents or grandparents with whom they had a strong emotional bond, their concept of God remained more vague and remote. Who is the Ancestor? Heaven is the king of kings. He is the most respected one over the sovereign on earth, the Emperor. The sovereign on earth, on the beginning of the year, should perform the sacrifice to the God of heaven Who is Heaven? Heaven is the earliest ancestor of mankind. Heaven is the very substance of man. At first, the veneration of ancestors was nationalistically centered towards the dead emperors, then later towards national heroes, then even later a family patriarch might venerate!
This view of ancestor worship antedates Confucius. Today this is less so among the educated, more so among the simple and the divide between worship and veneration is a fine one. The Family, even those long past, is the foundational unit of Chinese society and the primary relationship for Taoism. Today, the fear of not worshiping the familial spirits is overpowering to most.
This is not the culture that Confucius or the ancients advocated. Observers of Chinese culture from the West must realize that the ancestors which the Emperor worshiped in the national ceremonies were not his own in a direct literal sense. The further back in Chinese history it is researched, the greater part that is played by the national ancestors, the folk heroes, the founders. It is a populist presupposition concerning Chinese history today that the practice is !
Smith, D. The earliest Chinese histories speak of it, but it was the prime ancestors who were worshiped, heroes of history and society, not familial ancestors who were related by bloodline. Only in to BC did blood relationships enter into ancestor worship, and even then, it existed beside and unrelated to the worship of ShangDi. Richardson suggests that once a nation or tribe rejects the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God in favor of lesser deities, the people eventually discover, to their frustration, that it takes an infinite number of lesser deities to fill the myriad of functions that the true God fills.
The form of ancestor worship known today was not the national veneration of heroes of history that it was in early China. It was not the more supernatural focused worship that it has become. The original intent of honoring the ancestors of the nation and of the culture has been reduced to a simplistic superstition concerning the gaining of spiritual favors between the living world and the afterlife symbiotically. This quote best illustrates the difference between ancient practices of familial piety and those practiced today. Mencius said that the Mandate of Heaven which Confucius speaks of is not vested upon the ruler !
Knoblock, J. Volume 3, Books Stanford University Press. Confucius, again in The Analects, said to let the ruler be the ruler, the minister, a minister, the father, a father, the son, a son. All Confucian relationships, five in total, are all of the same nature. Mencius, claimed that ministers should reason clearly and firmly with a ruler; if he does not listen, they should dethrone him after ignoring their counsel repeatedly.
Parents are not demigods with unquestioning authority over their offspring any more than the emperor has unquestioned authority over the people. Checks and balances in the government and independent thinking in the home are not exclusively Western ideas and they are not foreign to China. He was answered, while you do not know life, how can you know about death? But dogs and horses likewise are able to do something in the way of support; without reverence, what is there to distinguish the one support given from the other?
Without remembering where one came from and where on is going, how can one be grounded in honest humility and respect? However, Confucius love of ritual and his rather stern application of ritualistic actions lead to the beginnings of what became the ancestor worship of today. His sternness has been taken to mean a legalistic form of veneration undifferentiated from worship.
If he does go abroad, he must have a fixed place to which he goes. In the book Zhuo Zhuang there is an interesting confrontation concerning immortality. I have heard that the highest meaning of it is when there is established virtue; the second, when there is established successful course; and the third, when there is established words. With these examples are not forgotten with wink of time this is what is meant by the saying, they died but were immortal.
Wang states that this is the only doctrine on human immortality in ancient China, yet it has nothing to do with immortality of the soul, but rather with memorials and remembrance. After Buddhism came in with its disbelief in the God of Heaven and false concepts of reincarnation, spiritualism and spiritism became ever more popular in China. Famous teachers of Confucianism in later ages failed to understand this first lesson of life and death from MuShu, and begin to incorporate this false belief into their philosophy.
The merged religions of China, placing so much emphasis on luck and personal blessings was the other force behind the transformation, asking the ancestors to help from the other side. The ! Page ! The Nestorians have been cleared of charges of heresy in recent scholarship, yet still suffer from those charges in church history. They flourished at the time of the Tang dynasty in to AD. Other than the Nestorians, Christian influences in ancient China were limited to a statistical null-set, the most noteworthy exception being Franciscan monks during the Yuan dynasty as recorded in the letters of Marco Polo.
They traced their own origin to Mesopotamia around AD when they were displaced by the Crusades and journeyed out as nomadic traders through Middle and Southeast Asia. Today they have no knowledge of Jewish history or religion but maintain certain customs though they have no clue as to the origins. Berg, I. These people are curious about Jewish practice but not committed and largely ignorant of it. This serves as analogy to the possibility that ancient pre-hebraic influence existed in Ancient China, was largely forgotten, but still can be detected within customs, writings, art, and philosophy of the ancients.
The strategy of early missionaries, such as the Nestorians and Catholics, was to build friendships with the royalty and then impress them with Western science and technology. Protestant missionaries followed suit, offering to the Chinese medical, educational, and social services. They indeed made tremendous contributions to the improvement of modern China. Yet they and the Chinese Christians became the catalyst for the Westernization of China. The success of this version is not without its historical elements. An accommodationist, he provided the first Romanization of Chinese and was influential in identifying the name ShangDi with the Christian God.
The Tao and God as was Described Before BC The "Lost Tao" The Chinese value that the natural world and human society are closely bound together has been the basic foundation for all Chinese belief since ancient times. They did not distinguish the ways of the world from the desires of their hearts any more than they thought of society being independent of nature. It was a completely subjective conception which would be turned into a system of dogma after the slow process of medieval philosophizing during the Spring and Autumn Period, the Warring Kingdoms and first two Chinese United Dynasties.
Over time, the central government of this dynasty gradually lost control. As these states became increasingly more independent, they competed and fought against each other for strength and survival. LaoTzu, Confucius, and MoZi all lamented that something crucial to the nation and people was missing, and had been lost to them: the ancient Tao in their culture. Although they sincerely tried each in their own way to recover the lost Tao, they regretfully remained unsuccessful even in their own !
Wang, D. As seen in their literature, the superior person opens up a path that encourages others to study for the sake of harmoniously benefiting humanity, rather than purely for the sake of careerism or for making a profit. Though he was no slave or automaton to the Tao, he could affect it by having a relationship with it, he still revered the Tao as supreme Heaven. Tao represents the most ancient Chinese cultural traditions. The kings and teachers are assistants of heaven to teach the people the love of Heaven. Tao is the un-produced producer of all that is, the word and action of Heaven.
Through the energetic initiative of creativity, the inexpressible nature of Tao appears in manifest forms. To live in accord with Tao is to realize this order of nature and gain stability in one's own life and society. After Mencius, no other Chinese teachers try to develop a new independent religious system. Buddhism is not of Chinese origin but was imported from India, it cannot be said to be of Chinese origin, but rather was changed by Chinese Neo-Taoism and Neo-Confucianism; corruptions of each rather than new thinking. What should be discovered is the true interpretation of ancient venerable writings about the Tao rather than new synthesis of the Tao into new forms and new interpretations.
One may argue that a work of contextualizing the Tao toward a Christian system is just such a new thinking. Page 11! Tao created the world and everything in the world. Tao is present in everything, and it is the Tao that makes everything the way it is. Tao is imminent. Tao is ineffable. The Tao is also referred to as one, and as nonbeing since there is really no name for Tao.
Tao is beyond words. Words are part of our world but Tao is not. Tao is transcendent. Tao is also the law of existence and all things must follow that law. It is the force prevailing in everything and in every space-time of the universes. Man is the only known creature that can depart from Tao. Though his departure from the union is not departure from the influence of Tao. The loss of the ancient Tao was not through sudden misplacement, but through gradual steps of dilution. It seemed that they could not trust anyone to carry out the sacred duty of obtaining readings from the divine Heaven, an exercise that often could sway royal power.
Over time the sacred function of the royal shaman became the work of the historian, called the Shih, who, while conscious of this ancient religious pedigree, brought with him the new force of reason. With the general advancement complex social order, the enlightenment of the aristocracy, and the rise of morality and ethics as a code, there was gradual separation of priestly functions from rulership. While the ruler would retain his religious power until AD, diviners and shamans lost political power. Yet, the old religious consciousness did not die out.
Robbed of its respectability and one time social power, it went underground and became the religion of the superstitious masses. Chen calls this the origin of religious Taoism, what this paper might call the seeds of Neo-Taoism; to her, the only indigenous religion of China. After the establishment of Confucianism, sorcery was entirely excluded from society, the shaman found in the rising religion of Taoism a popular field to further his arts. In a similar trend the secondary notions of Yin and Yang became scholastic entities of wild mystical speculation. Yen and Yang ceased to be concrete principles; became the dualistic orientation they had given as though it had always been an established fact; not become a religious reality, but a prejudice in favor of bipartite classification which would continue to dominate the world of sacred things in China.
The soul was to remain dual to the body, and a cult of the earth would be organized to confront that of Heaven. This was due to priests and practitioners currying favor and payment from the government, rather than teaching them and checking them from a level of equal shared power. Similarly, the separation of ! God shows his mercy toward his people and cares about their lives. Immobility does not produce nothing; it produces a something.
Forms must come to an end; the cosmos is finite in point of time, just as I am myself; but where the end leads to nobody knows… It is the destiny of the living to be finite; the finite cannot but come !
China's Political System
These may be some of the earliest words from ancient China concerning the nature of the Tao. This universe is bound by time and space therefore finite. The great Tao is without form, without description. Between the birth of a man and his death there are four great transformations: from infancy to childhood, from used to pry, from age to decrepitude, and from the last agonies to annihilation… On reaching this last stage the man finds himself at rest, and thus returns to the point from which he started.
This is an interesting juxtaposition to the Neo-Taoist idea of immortality. Seemingly dualistic, but rather facing the reality that in the unity of body and soul, both must change into something new that is outside of the universe, it rejects the Neo-Taoist search for immortality that is bound to space and time.
Even more strikingly is how these passages fit better with a Judeo-Christian world view than with a Neo-Taoist one of infinite cycles. To think that all this misery should result first from my caring too much for myself, and now from endeavoring to benefit my subjects! He recognized, like Solomon, that nothing is more important than serving the Heaven no matter how well intentioned and benevolent. In his retirement he dreamed. The people had no passions, no predilections, spontaneously reigned supreme. They knew nothing about the joys of life or the horrors of death, so that none died before their time; they do nothing of loving themselves and avoiding those unconnected with them, so that there was neither affection or hatred among them.
We know it; we possess it; but we cannot impart it to you. Treat us as clods, as deaf and blind! And then we will venture to ask you to instruct us. Close consideration of them suggests they are at least compatible with a Christian notion of heaven where there is no suffering, sin on earth, and division between Heaven and Earth. Yet the most interesting part of this comes at the end when the Yellow Emperor cannot describe it.
Here is seen the nature of the Tao; the indescribable state of heaven and the indescribable God desires to communicate with mankind and must take form in such a way that man is able to comprehend. Here is the Tao and the Logos. His view of the infinite leads to one of the few creation discussion in Chinese writing. It is ! This condition was called chaos. China's Ethnic Groups and Religions China's Geography China's History China's Legal System China's National Defense China's Political System China's Science, Technology, and Education China's Social Development.
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