How do you explain the Trinity in Chinese? If you're a Christian in Tang China, there's a few ways!

I'm @ChenHuailun, back for my last #Twittistorian thread, this time on translating the names of God in Chinese Christian documents. ~ahc #jingjiao 1/

There are two main writers/translators credited in the extant documents of the Christian (called 'Jingjiao' 景教 in Chinese) corpus of Tang China: Aluoben and Jingjing. ~ahc #jingjiao /2
Aluoben (阿蘿本) was said to have been the Persian missionary responsible for bringing Christianity to China, arriving in Chang'an in 635 and building a church there with 21 monks. ~ahc #jingjiao /3
'Observing the azure clouds, he [Aluoben] bore the true sacred books; beholding the direction of the winds, he braved difficulties and dangers.' - Xi'an stele ~ahc #jingjiao /4
Let's pause on this name, Aluoben (阿蘿本). Some translate it as 'Olopen.' Is it a Syriac name, perhaps a rendering of Yahballaha or Abraham? Or perhaps a Middle Persian name Anōš-ruwān (meaning immortal soul)? ~ahc #jingjiao /5
In Tang Chinese, these characters would be pronounced [a-la-pun]. I am inclined to believe the explanation of Kahar Barat, who suggests that it is simply a colloquial rendering of the Syriac title 'Rabban,' (ܪܒܢ) meaning 'our great one, or monk.' ~ahc #jingjiao /6
The other writer is Jingjing (景净), who is the author of the Xi'an stele erected in 781, more than 100 years after Aluoben brought Christianity to China. His Syriac name in the stele in Adam. ~ahc #jingjiao /7
Now that we have our two writers established, we divide the Jingjiao corpus between the two. Aluoben is credited in the Book of Hearing the Messiah (序聽迷詩所經) and the Discourse on One God (一神論). ~ahc #jingjiao /8
Jingjing is credited in the Book of Attaining Mysterious Rest and Joy (志玄安樂經), the Book of Proclamation of the Highest Origin of Origins (大秦景教宣元本經), the Hymn in Adoration of the Three Persons (景教三威蒙度贊), and the Book of Honour (尊經). ~ahc #jingjiao /9
They have markedly different ways of translating the names of God into Chinese. ~ahc #jingjiao /10
The first way is transliteration, as used by Jingjing in the Hymn in Adoration and Book of Honour.

For those who may be familiar with Syriac or even other Semitic languages, try to look at these Middle Chinese pronunciations and guess their meanings. ~ahc #jingjiao /11
阿羅訶 [Mandarin: a-luo-he; Middle Chn: ʔa-la-xa]
彌施訶 [Mandarin: mi-shi-he; Middle Chn: mji-ʂi-xa]
盧訶寧俱沙 [Mandarin: lu-he-ning-ju-sha; Middle Chn: lu-xa-niajn-ky-ʂa]
~ahc #jingjiao /12
These correspond to the three persons of the Trinity, namely God (Alaha ܐܠܗܐ), Christ (Mšiḥa ܡܔܝܚܐ), and the Holy Spirit (Ruḥa d-Qudša ܪܘܚܐ ܕܩܘܕܫܐ) ~ahc #jingjiao /13
The second way is using indigenous terms, as in Aluoben's Book of Hearing the Messiah. God is Tian-zun (天尊). Tian (天) means something like heaven or sky, but etymology dates back to the 9th cent BCE. Zun (尊) is a title of the Buddha as well as a deity in Daoism. ~ahc /14
Jesus Christ is Shi-zun (世尊), as used in the Discourse on One God. This is one of the ten epithets of the Buddha. However, there is no indigenous term for the Holy Spirit. ~ahc #jingjiao /15
The 3rd way of translating Christian terms into Chinese is neologism. We can see this in the use of the term One God (一神). God (神) refers to a kind of supernatural being, a god or a spirit, and is usually used in the plural sense. It also can refer to the souls of humans. /16
However the term 'One God' would imply a strong monotheistic emphasis of the Christian ‘god' (神). ~ahc #jingjiao /17
There are many titles/names for Christ, including Holy/Virtuous Son (聖子), Son of Light (明子), King of Eternal Life (常活命王), Universally-Honoured One (普尊), Merciful Joyous Lamb (慈喜羔), Great Master (大師). ~ahc #jingjiao /18
The titles with the epithet 'son' are notably similar to the emperor's title, 'the Son of Heaven' (天子). ~ahc #jingjiao /19
The word 'wind' (feng 風), attempts to incorporate the multiple meanings of the Syriac Ruḥa (ܪܘܚܐ), which not only means 'wind,' but also 'breath' and 'spirit.' It may also be influenced by Manichaean translations of Spirit in Chinese as 'wind' as well. ~ahc #jingjiao /20
Different ways of translating may imply different theological understandings or emphases between writers. For instance, the Cool Wind in Aluoben's docs have a sensory emphasis, while the Pure and Parisuddha Wind in Jingjing's docs have an emphasis on purity. ~ahc #jingjiao /21
Translation is never easy, especially between religious traditions that have few premises in common. Christians writing in Chinese had to be creative, and their translations may even give us insight into the theology of the church in China at the time. ~ahc #jingjiao /22
Overall, the Jingjiao corpus is small, but it is rich, and it can reveal to us a crucial part of the religious world of China and the medieval east.

Thanks for reading, and I will follow up with a round-up of all my threads this week! ~ahc #jingjiao /23

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Once upon a time there was a Raja named Uttānapāda born of Svayambhuva Manu,1st man on earth.He had 2 beautiful wives - Suniti & Suruchi & two sons were born of them Dhruva & Uttama respectively.

Now Suniti was the daughter of a tribal chief while Suruchi was the daughter of a rich king. Hence Suruchi was always favored the most by Raja while Suniti was ignored. But while Suniti was gentle & kind hearted by nature Suruchi was venomous inside.

The story is of a time when ideally the eldest son of the king becomes the heir to the throne. Hence the sinhasan of the Raja belonged to Dhruva.This is why Suruchi who was the 2nd wife nourished poison in her heart for Dhruva as she knew her son will never get the throne.

One day when Dhruva was just 5 years old he went on to sit on his father's lap. Suruchi, the jealous queen, got enraged and shoved him away from Raja as she never wanted Raja to shower Dhruva with his fatherly affection.

Dhruva protested questioning his step mother "why can't i sit on my own father's lap?" A furious Suruchi berated him saying "only God can allow him that privilege. Go ask him"