Christian historians who force connections
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04-02-2015, 08:49 AM (This post was last modified: 04-02-2015 12:20 PM by ghostexorcist.)
Christian historians who force connections
I recently learned that, back in 2002, Wang Weifan, a retired theology professor, wrote an article claiming that stone tomb engravings show Christianity entered China during the 1st-century BCE (around the same time as Buddhism). This revelation apparently made waves in the religious community when the story first broke. It sounded a bit fishy to me because all the stuff that I've previously read stated that Christianity officially arrived during the 7th-century. I did some digging and found both the original article and a rebuttal. The original is accessible via the wayback machine:

I have attached the rebuttal at the bottom of this post. The latter shows that the aforementioned professor went out of his way to force his Christian perspective on Chinese cultural elements that have well-established meanings. For example, Wang describes this as a depiction of Adam and Eve wearing leather skins. Adam, the smaller one, is said to be holding a hoe.

[Image: rpEwHI.png]

Do you guys see a man and woman wearing leather skins? This interpretation doesn't hold up when viewed from the cultural context in which the images were created. These were found on the tomb of a member of the aristocracy. The rebuttal therefore states that it most likely depicts an aristocratic lady (left) and her servant (right). I would like to point out that Chinese art uses "hierarchy in scale" to depict less important figures like servants in a diminutive fashion. I suggest the "hoe" is actually a ruyi, a scepter signifying secular power that became a symbol of longevity thanks to its later association with Daoist immortals.

Here is another example. Wang describes these two different images as depictions of the manger.

[Image: K1KVh4.png]
[Image: O2bjM2.png]

Again, he fails to view the images from their correct cultural context. These are simply depictions of stylized aristocratic houses. Wang's article has many more examples of such forced connections. Each is the equivalent of taking a mallet and hammering a square peg through a hole.

What other examples are there of Christian historians making such "leaps of faith"?
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