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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Blend of Christian, Tao & Confucian Thoughts, 1 Mar 2005
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Fascinating religious scrolls were discovered in caves in Xian, China at the turn of the century. They were disseminated to museums in France, Britain (UK) and into private collections and not translated for many years. The political upheavals in China left the remaining texts safe ... until 1998 when the monastery where they were stored was discovered. This small volume is a gem that includes translations of the scrolls, although high-priced for only 138 pages, the information contained within is well worth reading. Part I describes the historical background of how Christian monks from Persia in 635 C.E. traveled 3,000 miles over the Silk Road to China. They were honored by the enlightened Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty, who recognized the wisdom of the Christian teachings which he called "The Luminous Religion". He had the monks write down their teaching and included it in the Imperial library that contained 200,000 volumes of scrolls, one of the most substantial places of knowledge in the world. Close to a 1,000 years later the Chinese found the scrolls and built a monument, which at the top had a cross rising from the center of a lotus blossum. On the stele was carved the teachings of Christianity, Taoism, and Confucianism. In the early 1900s, a Taoist priest/monk discovered the caves where the original manuscripts were laid ... he devoted his life to preserving the caves and their contents.
Amazingly it was a Hungarian Jew, Sir Aurel Stein, who grew up in Britain, obtained his Ph.D. at age 21, was raised as a Christian, who brought these texts to the world's attention. Later he received a knighthood and honorary degrees from Oxford and Cambridge. A French archeologist, Paul Pelliot, also deserves credit for his outstanding translations of the numerous scrolls that he took back to the Bilbiotheque Nationale in France and for which he received honors later in life. The book does indeed fall short in providing enough of the translated scrolls themselves, there are only just over 40 pages devoted to this alone, but the overall research and information contained within had my undivided and full attention. This is a most highly recommended book. Erika Borsos (bakonyvilla)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story, 6 Sep 2010
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P. Duval "philip_duval" (Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
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I found the religious history of these scrolls and the story of their discovery fascinating. The sutras themselves have proved a bit underwhelming but are definitely a unique take on Christianity/ Buddhism/ Taoism. Of course I could just be very shallow!
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