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Flood Legends and Chinese History


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#1 zisfro

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 04:42 AM

I am interested in learning about Flood legends in Chinese history/mythology/whatever.
Topics like this can easily cross into religious territory. This is not what I am interested in. Neither do I wish this thread to turn into a debate about whether or not the Flood account as recorded in the Bible is true history. What I am interested in are the facts. Armed with facts, each one must make up his own mind as to what to believe.
I'm hoping this thread can churn up some interesting facts about Flood legends/history/mythology/whatever that will be of interest to all.
I have no problem with people stating their own belief and the reasons for it, but please don't presume to give your opinion about what others believe.

Why am I interested in this? Fact: Dissimilar cultures world-wide have Flood legends, in fact, almost all cultures and practically every ancient culture did/does.
However, in any book or reference work I've seen that lists these flood legends, China or Chinese culture is grouped only as "Chinese" with no further definition. If only "Chinese" culture were that simple... It leaves one in the dark as to whether the particular "Chinese" culture they are referring to is Han, Miao, Yi or what...
This alone could be considered as evidence that the author isn't very familiar with the "Chinese" culture.
Then there are the reference works who cite dubious sources. There is one "Chinese flood legend" that is frequently cited, but seems to be untrue:
http://www.talkorigi...CG/CG202_2.html

Is there a legend of "Fuhi" at all? What IS the true story? What is the "Hihking", is it the "Shan Hai Qing"?
Some sources cite the "Chinese" legend of "Lolo", albeit without mention of which "Chinese" "Lolo" belongs to or what the characters for "Lolo" are...

I've also heard people compare Yu the Great, or DaYu, to the "Chinese Noah". Although this claim usually encompasses a little bit of wishful thinking, there are SOME similarities. The most convincing evidence I've personally heard to link DaYu with the Flood account is the timing of events.
So please, tell me your thoughts on this line of reasoning because it is not very fully developed:
In the Bible, there were 9 or 10 generations until the Flood. During this time period, people's lifespans were quite long.
In some Chinese legends, there were an equal number of generations from the time of the Yellow Emperor until DaYu, during which time lifespans were quite long. Some people theorize that the Yellow Emperor, HuangDi, could correspond to Adam, and that DaYu would correspond to Noah. Of course, there are VAST differences in the details, but that could be expected as the account was passed down through many different dynasties and governments, each willing to change a few things to make the account more friendly to their own agenda.
What are your thoughts?

Of course, with this topic someone will inevitably mention the Chinese character for "ship"...船... I'm sure you all know about this bit of Chinese history meets Biblical history...
I'd like to compare both sides of this issue as well.
We all know that much is to be gleaned about Chinese history and culture from examining Chinese characters, so what do you think? Is this character evidence that at one time ancient Chinese people had a story about a big boat with 8 people inside? Or is it merely coincidence that the word for "ship" shares a remarkable similarity to one of the most famous, earliest ships ever built?
I'm not taking sides, I can see some logic in both arguments... I'm just interested in comparing.

It is one of my pet-peeves when I read an article that says something like:
"the Chinese consider this person to be the father or their civilization"
because there is no way a Han Chinese person would consider a person from Miao legend to be the "father" of their civilization.

Thank you and I look forward to your comments. I've spent a lot of time trying to find information about this on the web, and most of what I found wasn't too helpful. But I've also noticed that there is quite a bit out there in Chinese, which I'm not too proficient at reading, so I hope we can turn up some interesting facts for a nice discussion here.

#2 Bao Pu

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 06:41 AM

Here's a book you can buy or browse online:
http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/0791466639
0r
http://books.google....K...4&ct=result
May you enjoy good health, harmony and happiness.
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#3 WebWonder

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 07:07 PM

Hi zisfro.
The cause of such floods might also be something for you to consider.
You might like to view the content of The Impact And Exit Event - it's a new hypothesis and quite revealing, as the 'exit' element of the hypothesis focusses in the region of China that is the Takla Makan Desert.
I'm sure you are aware of the many myths and legends pertaining to ancient China, many of which can be associated with the subject matter of the hypothesis - including ancient history, geology and astronomy. More information is at the following url: www.theimpactandexitevent.com.

Edited by WebWonder, 06 February 2009 - 07:09 PM.


#4 Yun

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 07:47 PM

Of course, with this topic someone will inevitably mention the Chinese character for "ship"...船... I'm sure you all know about this bit of Chinese history meets Biblical history...
I'd like to compare both sides of this issue as well.
We all know that much is to be gleaned about Chinese history and culture from examining Chinese characters, so what do you think? Is this character evidence that at one time ancient Chinese people had a story about a big boat with 8 people inside? Or is it merely coincidence that the word for "ship" shares a remarkable similarity to one of the most famous, earliest ships ever built?


Unfortunately (and I say this as a Christian who does believe in the flood of Noah), that explanation for 船 does not make etymological sense. The radical on the right of the character was not a pictogram, but a phonetic component that is also found in other characters to indicate how they should be pronounced. Yang Xiong's Fangyan, a dialect dictionary written in the first years of the first century AD, also suggests the character 船 was originally a regional dialect term used in the Chang'an region (the region "west of the passes", corresponding to the ancient Qin state): 舟,自關而西謂之船. On Fangyan see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fangyan
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#5 William O'Chee

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 01:49 AM

Hi zisfro.
The cause of such floods might also be something for you to consider.
You might like to view the content of The Impact And Exit Event - it's a new hypothesis and quite revealing, as the 'exit' element of the hypothesis focusses in the region of China that is the Takla Makan Desert.
I'm sure you are aware of the many myths and legends pertaining to ancient China, many of which can be associated with the subject matter of the hypothesis - including ancient history, geology and astronomy. More information is at the following url: www.theimpactandexitevent.com.

I always enjoy self-promotion by authors and their publishers.

I think the following extract sums it all up though:

The author readily admits he has only a basic knowledge of the subject matter yet his findings are absolutely astounding - so astounding in fact that many who read the book may not be able to fully comprehend (or indeed accept) the importance of what has been presented to them ...by a novice.


Is it really surprising that people might be astounded by the conclusions of someone with only a basic knowledge of the subject matter? Is it so strange that people might not comprehend something if it does not make sense? :wallbash:

Edited by William O'Chee, 07 February 2009 - 01:49 AM.


#6 Yun

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 03:22 PM

Some more reading on Chinese flood myths:
http://www.chinaheri...t...c&issue=009
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#7 Freddy1

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 04:51 PM

Why am I interested in this? Fact: Dissimilar cultures world-wide have Flood legends, in fact, almost all cultures and practically every ancient culture did/does.

From what I recall there are at least 4 flood myths in Mesopotamia alone.
The only region that seems devoid of flood legends is Africa.

Infact The Epic of Gilgamesh predates the Noah legend. Its believed by some historians that the Noah Legend was based on The Epic of Gilgamesh and even by earlier versions of the legend.

There is also a Hindu flood myth or rather "Vishnu's Ark" legend. In the Noah version land was found with the help of a bird. In the Hindu version land was found with the help of a golden fish. Very similar but with twists.

As for China many years ago I read something about a great flood in China and the flood was halted by a Taoist immortal by using a magical talisman.

Edited by Freddy1, 08 February 2009 - 04:58 PM.


#8 WebWonder

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 11:55 AM

I always enjoy self-promotion by authors and their publishers.

I think the following extract sums it all up though:

The author readily admits he has only a basic knowledge of the subject matter yet his findings are absolutely astounding - so astounding in fact that many who read the book may not be able to fully comprehend (or indeed accept) the importance of what has been presented to them ...by a novice.


Is it really surprising that people might be astounded by the conclusions of someone with only a basic knowledge of the subject matter? Is it so strange that people might not comprehend something if it does not make sense? :wallbash:


You are quoting from what is an honest self-appraisal. That does not mean that the content of the book is not worth reading. It is not a couple of pages long (230+), and certainly not without many years of research behind it. What is implied is ...just what is stated. The book contains a great deal of new information based upon logic and existing geology and uses both to provide answers that have evaded us for a very long time - including those pertaining to ancient chinese history.

Have you read it?

#9 Lacrymosa

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 01:56 PM

Flood is apparently unrelated to culture, just like forest fire, earthquake, hurricane, etc. Humans need water to survive. I will be surprised if a big civilization doesn't have a flood story. All civilizations probably had records about fire, storm, etc as well.

#10 kaiselin

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 04:43 PM

From what I recall there are at least 4 flood myths in Mesopotamia alone.
The only region that seems devoid of flood legends is Africa.

Infact The Epic of Gilgamesh predates the Noah legend. Its believed by some historians that the Noah Legend was based on The Epic of Gilgamesh and even by earlier versions of the legend.

There is also a Hindu flood myth or rather "Vishnu's Ark" legend. In the Noah version land was found with the help of a bird. In the Hindu version land was found with the help of a golden fish. Very similar but with twists.

As for China many years ago I read something about a great flood in China and the flood was halted by a Taoist immortal by using a magical talisman.



Good points Freddy1,

Although most people are not aware of this fact, many of the stories from the Bible are very similar to other legends that predate the bible.


In China, one of its earliest legendary heros is DaYu, who was credited with stoping the floods.

Edited by kaiselin, 12 February 2009 - 04:45 PM.

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#11 HappyHistorian

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 06:41 PM

Good points Freddy1,

Although most people are not aware of this fact, many of the stories from the Bible are very similar to other legends that predate the bible.


In China, one of its earliest legendary heros is DaYu, who was credited with stoping the floods.

That is an interesting point! Is this mere coincidence or can links be ascertained?

#12 William O'Chee

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 07:00 PM

You are quoting from what is an honest self-appraisal. That does not mean that the content of the book is not worth reading. It is not a couple of pages long (230+), and certainly not without many years of research behind it. What is implied is ...just what is stated. The book contains a great deal of new information based upon logic and existing geology and uses both to provide answers that have evaded us for a very long time - including those pertaining to ancient chinese history.

Have you read it?

I like to exercise some discernment in my reading.

#13 WebWonder

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 11:29 AM

I suppose it hasn't gone un-noticed here, but I'll mention it anyway:

There appears to be a correlation between the different flood 'myths' or 'legends' in terms of reverse chronology (if there is such a thing :rolleyes: ).

Am I correct in my recollection of what I have read over the years that the further east you look, the older the flood legend becomes?

If so, could this then provide a literary 'route' (if you get my drift) to the actual source of the flood event? :unsure:

#14 Bao Pu

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 02:41 PM

I suppose it hasn't gone un-noticed here, but I'll mention it anyway:

There appears to be a correlation between the different flood 'myths' or 'legends' in terms of reverse chronology (if there is such a thing :rolleyes: ).

Am I correct in my recollection of what I have read over the years that the further east you look, the older the flood legend becomes?

If so, could this then provide a literary 'route' (if you get my drift) to the actual source of the flood event? :unsure:


I believe Yu is supposed to have lived in the 21st century BCE (but we have no record of him until approximately the 7th century BCE). When was Noah's flood? I think it was earlier. Also, the "flood" Yu tames was not the type that covered the entire Earth, it was flooding rivers, iirc.
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#15 Pattie

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 03:07 PM

You do recall correctly; from Wiki:

Great Flood

Main article: Yu the Great

Shun passed his place as leader of the Huaxia tribe to Yu the Great (禹). According to legend, the Yellow River was prone to flooding, and erupted in a huge flood in the time of Yao. Yu's father, Gun, was put in charge of flood control by Yao, but failed to alleviate the problem after 9 years. He was executed by Shun, and Yu took his father's place, and led the people in building canals and levees. After thirteen years of toil, flooding problems were solved under Yu's command. Shun enfeoffed Yu in the place of Xia, in present-day Wan County in Henan. On his death, Shun passed the leadership to Yu. The main source for the story of Yu and the Great Flood comes from The Counsels of Yu the Great in the Classic of History (尚書大禹謨).

Because of his achievement in resolving the Great Flood, Yu, alone among the mythological rulers, is usually called "Yu the Great" (大禹). Alternatively, he is called Emperor Yu (帝禹), like his predecessors.


But I'm wondering now if there is a mythic reason why the Yellow was 'prone to flooding.' Will investigate.
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