Chinese Characters Prove Genesis?

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Chinese Characters Prove Genesis?

Postby BryanJ » Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:26 pm

http://www.morgenster.org/signs.htm

I did a little digging and found a few websites claiming the connection between ancient Chinese characters and Genesis. After listening to the show I decided to look into the subject since, while I am by no means an expert, I have been studying Chinese for a few years. If you know a couple pretty basic things about Chinese, the whole premise falls apart.

First of all, all Chinese characters are made up of 200-some basic parts called "radicals"(Many character dictionaries are organized by radical). An important thing to remember is that radicals can play a role in meaning or phonics. For example, the Chinese character for woman is 女(nǚ)and the character for horse is 马(mǎ). Put them together and you get 妈(mā), which means mom, as in mama. In this case 马 is providing the approximate pronunciation and not the meaning. It seems the website above doesn't take this sort of thing into account.

Case in point:
------------------------------------------
"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree in the garden, but you shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
This can be found in the Chinese symbol for prohibition or to prohibit:
------------------------------------------
The author constructs this etymology:
禁(jìn) = 林(lín) + 示(shì)
Prohibition
To Prohibit = Tree + (Divine) Command

What the author fails to mention is that in this case, 林(lín) plays a phonetic role and 示(shì) relays more of the meaning.
http://www.nciku.com/search/zh/detail/%E6%9E%97/1309590
http://www.nciku.com/search/zh/detail/%E7%A4%BA/1313780


Also, I have never seen 田(tián) used to refer to garden,just fields or farmland and stuff of that nature.

That's a start. I'll probably add this Chinese Character claim to the wiki sometime.
Last edited by BryanJ on Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby eimerian » Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:34 am

Thats very interesting.

When listening to the show I came up with a different explanation:

I know that a lot of chinese words and characters were basically "invented" when concepts of western culture came to China.

For example the chinese name for the "planet" Pluto is "Underworld King Star". Since Pluto is Hades, King of the Underworld in the Roman pantheon it sort of makes sense to think that at some point in time a chinese scribe familiar with Greek/Roman mythology came up with this term.

My guess is that just as the chinese had no characters for Roman mythology they would also lack characters for beings from Hebrew mythology like the devil. Therefore it wouldnt surprise me at all if a scribe familiar with Genesis came up with a "devil" character that includes descriptive elements of the story.

Would that be plausible?

PS: The two "ma" words you used in your example remind me of something:
I was told that in order to practice chinese pronunciation you have to say the sentence "Ma ma ma ma?" which basically means "Why does mother beat the horse?" but I wasnt able to verify this.
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Postby BryanJ » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:28 pm

eimerian wrote:Thats very interesting.
I know that a lot of chinese words and characters were basically "invented" when concepts of western culture came to China.

For example the chinese name for the "planet" Pluto is "Underworld King Star". Since Pluto is Hades, King of the Underworld in the Roman pantheon it sort of makes sense to think that at some point in time a chinese scribe familiar with Greek/Roman mythology came up with this term.

My guess is that just as the chinese had no characters for Roman mythology they would also lack characters for beings from Hebrew mythology like the devil. Therefore it wouldnt surprise me at all if a scribe familiar with Genesis came up with a "devil" character that includes descriptive elements of the story.

Would that be plausible?

That's almost giving them too much credit. I think it's probably more likely that people promoting this idea choose characters that fit into into their narrative, excluding other similar terms. They start with these basic etymologies, some of which are as far I can tell, simply made up at worst and misinformed at best. Then they build those into other, more complex, characters.

I'll give you a second example from the website I linked:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired she took of its fruit, and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate." (Genesis 3:4-6). This can be found in the Chinese word lán for desire or greed
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
婪(lán) = 女(nǚ) + 林(lín)
greed/desire =woman + trees

Let's ignore that my etymology dictionary says that the 林(lín) in this character is phonetic . Let's also ignore that 婪(lán) only appears along side another character, which together form the adjective "greedy"(Not the noun).
So what? It's such a vague association and I don't think it even means what the author wants it to mean.

eimerian wrote:PS: The two "ma" words you used in your example remind me of something:
I was told that in order to practice chinese pronunciation you have to say the sentence "Ma ma ma ma?" which basically means "Why does mother beat the horse?" but I wasnt able to verify this.


I think you are looking for 妈妈骂马吗? māmā mà mǎ ma
http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.p ... C%E5%90%97
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Postby GodBeLess » Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:21 pm

Having just watched this episode, i couldn't help but be reminded of this article by the Onion.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/sumeri ... worl,2879/

Members of the earth's earliest known civilization, the Sumerians, looked on in shock and confusion some 6,000 years ago as God, the Lord Almighty, created Heaven and Earth.

"I do not understand," reads an ancient line of pictographs depicting the sun, the moon, water, and a Sumerian who appears to be scratching his head. "A booming voice is saying, 'Let there be light,' but there is already light. It is saying, 'Let the earth bring forth grass,' but I am already standing on grass."
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Postby Eyedunno1 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:38 am

I made this way back when and meant to post it then, but better late than never, I suppose, and it definitely fits the tone of the forum:
Image

In the interest of honesty, though, I should say that this character is simply being used as a shorthand version of 鐵 ('iron' in proper traditional Chinese and old-style Japanese orthography), and originally meant something along the lines of 'to sew [cloth, etc.]' (when used as a verb) or 'rope' (when used as a noun), but it fell out of currency in these usages and took on the modern usage as shorthand for 'iron'.

On the other hand, many of the arguments actually out there that claim Chinese characters "prove" Genesis are just as anachronistic and flawed. And most of the rest miss the phonetic/signific structure of the vast majority of Chinese characters (instead treating characters as ideograms or glorified pictograms) and brush off the human talent for finding patterns anywhere and everywhere.

Edit:
BryanJ wrote:First of all, all Chinese characters are made up of 200-some basic parts called "radicals"(Many character dictionaries are organized by radical). An important thing to remember is that radicals can play a role in meaning or phonics.

To be a little pedantic, "radical" technically refers only to the component of any given character under under which it is placed in a dictionary - one character, one radical (e.g., the radical for 鉄 is 金). To be even more pedantic, "radical" is a terrible name for this, since it implies that that component is the "root" of the character, when the radical is usually the signific component in semasio-phonetic characters and in fact the phonetic element tends to be what came first historically, with the signific tacked on later for disambiguation. But the term has stuck, so oh well.

eimerian wrote:For example the chinese name for the "planet" Pluto is "Underworld King Star". Since Pluto is Hades, King of the Underworld in the Roman pantheon it sort of makes sense to think that at some point in time a chinese scribe familiar with Greek/Roman mythology came up with this term.

My guess is that just as the chinese had no characters for Roman mythology they would also lack characters for beings from Hebrew mythology like the devil. Therefore it wouldnt surprise me at all if a scribe familiar with Genesis came up with a "devil" character that includes descriptive elements of the story.

Would that be plausible?

It would be very unlikely. The provenances of these characters can often be determined (at least in the sense of being able to know by when they were used), and the idea of Jewish mythology exerting a massive influence on Chinese literati in, say, 500 B.C.E. strains credibility, but granted, not as much as supernatural explanations do.

In any case, we scarcely need that hypothesis. These apologists are being very loose with the supposed meanings of characters and components, and by doing that and digging through thousands of characters, it's not really that difficult to come up with a bunch of stories that fit your assumptions.

Edit #2: I went ahead and made a wiki entry: http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Chinese_characters_and_the_Bible
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