The Benji jing and the Anle jing: Reflections on two Daoist and Christian manuscripts from Turfan and Dunhuang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In Turfan, numerous Christian manuscripts have been discovered. Recent scholarship has joined and identified some Syriac fragments. The verso sides of several Syeriac Christian fragments were written in Chinese and could be identified as the fragments from chapter three of one of the most popular Daoist texts in the Tang dynasty, the Taixuan zhenyi Benji jing. The newly identified fragments provide new opportunity in comparing different versions of this Daoist text popular in the Tang and Song dynasties, since it was cited in the Song encyclopedia Taiping yulan. While doing a comparison between the Daoist text Benji jing and the Christian text Zhixuan anle jing, it is striking that they shared a set of same vocabulary and metaphors in developing their religious thoughts respectively. For instance, ‘true nature’ was used in both texts. In Daoist text it refers to the Dao-nature, yet in Christian text it means the divinity. Further study reveals that the Daoist temple where the Benji jing was formed was very close to the Christian church in Chang’an, the capital city of Tang China. It seems that the Daoist community and the Christian community mutually knew each other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-228
Number of pages20
JournalStudies in Chinese Religions
Volume1
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 20 2015

Keywords

  • Chang’an
  • Church of the East
  • Daoism
  • Tang Dynasty
  • the Anle jing
  • the Benji jing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

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