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Re: Religion of Light was LWII: The Euroclones Strike Back!

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Thursday, June 19, 2003, 23:50
Quoting Costentin Cornomorus <elemtilas@...>:

> --- "Thomas R. Wier" <trwier@...> wrote: > > (I forget which), only did so because he was > > under the impression that this weird little group was > > just one of countless indigenous Daoist sects, > > Considering that it was touted as the religion of > the "Great Western Empire", I rather doubt he > thought they were indigenous.
I don't have my book with me, but there are several reasons to doubt that they would play up being from, much less call themselves representatives of, the "Great Western Empire", at this initial meeting: (1) Presumably this is a translation of _Daqin_, which -- correct me if I'm wrong -- means little more than "The West", and the Tang dynasty itself came from Western China (whether or not that is equated with "the West" is a different matter). (2) The Nestorian Christians had been brutally oppressed by the Byzantine Empire, and were essentially kicked out of the empire, only to be welcomed by the Sassanids, where they were later also brutally oppressed, and from which they fled to Central Asia, thence to China; (3) The Nestorians knew that the recently installed Tang dynasty claimed descent from Laozi, and that they provided political patronage to all Daoist monasteries above all other religions. The question is not who *they* thought they were, but who *Taizong* thought they were. I am suggesting that it is unlikely Taizong had much of an inkling that they were foreign, given that he had IIRC but one brief audience with some members.
> Anyway, I doubt > this religion could pass as orthodox in any way - > it seems to occupy a middle ground of sorts.
Oh, certainly. I mean, they had *six* commandments.
> > and he was interested in hyping the credentials of the > > person he claimed as ancestor, Laozi. > > True. > > > When they received > > an imperial audience, it's clear they played up > > the > > similarities between Daoism and (Nestorian) > > Christianity hoping for precisely that effect. > > Well, I don't see any particular problem with > that. They continued to have such favour for > quite a while - plenty of time in which to > discern anything that would cause their fall from > favour.
And indeed, they did fall from favor, IIRC during Wu Zetian's reign, who also oppressed Daoists, the only Tang ruler to do so. ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637