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RELG 253 Lecture Notes - Loess, Dysfunctional Family, Terracotta Army

Religious Studies
Course Code
RELG 253
Victor S?gen Hori

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Myth and History in Ancient China
Myth vs History
a) Stories that people tell about where they came from, their significant personalities,
Why myths are similar across cultures?
b) False stories
Supposed to be facts
Winston Churchill: "History is written by the winners"
The past is written to justify the present
Northrop Frye
"If it tells a story, it's a myth"
The news is a list of random accidental events
Chinese conception of history
History tells a moral story
Story a virtuous person or a dynasty who falls
Mandate of Heaven
Looks down on the Earth and finds a virtuous person to watch after
When following generations lose virtue, Heaven's wrath comes
5000 years of history
2852 BCE
3 sovereigns and 5 emperors
3 dynasties
2205 BCE
Xia (Hsia)
1766 BCE
1115 BCE
Zhou (Chou)
Myth of Pangu
Myth of origin
Pangu separates Heaven and Earth after 18 000 years
Doesn't appear before 3rd century CE
Reason why it's important in Western textbooks
To be compared to the Bible's Genesis
Nature of creation
Creator is imminent in the Creation
Western God is transcendent
Pangu IS the universe
Ying and Yang
Yin = dark and female elements
Yang = light and male elements
Nothing is completely one or the other
Sun = red bird with 3 legs
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