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Cherubim Origins

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  • wrwmattfeld
    I have recently made a major revision of my article on the pre- biblical origins of the Cherubim associated with the Garden of Eden. Employing a _Secular
    Message 1 of 27 , Aug 4, 2006
      I have recently made a "major revision" of my article on the pre-
      biblical origins of the Cherubim associated with the Garden of Eden.

      Employing a _Secular Humanist_ point of view, I had earlier
      concentrated on they being winged Egyptian sphinxes, which had been
      later modified by the Phoenicians and Canaanites in Late Bronze and
      Iron Age times, having accepted Professor Albright's identification.

      Recently, I have come to realize my error. Numerous scholars have
      suggested that the closest parallel to the Garden of Eden story is
      the Mesopotamian myth called _Adapa and the South Wind_. I am in
      agreement with these scholars.

      I understand that the Hebrews recast this myth in order to _refute,
      deny and challenge_ the Mesopotamian beliefs regarding how a man
      once-upon-a-time had a chance to acquire immortality for himself and
      lost-out on this unique chance because he had been deceived by a
      lying serpent-god.

      It is my understanding that the original prototypes of the Cherubim
      asociated with Eden's garden were Ningishzida and Dumuzi of _The
      Adapa and the South Wind Myth_.

      It would be _later_ that these "original" prototypes would be
      transformed into Winged Sphinxes of Late Bronz and Iron Age Syria,
      Phoenicia, Canaan and
      Israel. So, Albright was _right_, the Winged Sphinx was a
      Cherubim prototype, but it was not the "original" prototype, to my
      understanding.

      If intersted, cf. the below url:

      http://www.bibleorigins.net/CherubimOrigins.html

      Regards, Walter
      Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
    • David Hall
      The use of the winged dragon motif was described as being from the Chinese dynasty of Huang Di from before 2500 BC. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yinglong This
      Message 2 of 27 , Aug 4, 2006
        The use of the winged dragon motif was described as being from the Chinese dynasty of Huang Di from before 2500 BC.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yinglong

        This may or may not predate the Sumerian legend. The Chinese have long been fascinated with depictions of legendary creatures. Marco Polo was reported as finding dragon bones (dinosaur fossils) after returning from his journey to China by way of the Gobi Desert.

        David Q Hall
        dqhall@...


        wrwmattfeld <mattfeld12@...> wrote:

        I have recently made a "major revision" of my article on the pre-
        biblical origins of the Cherubim associated with the Garden of Eden.

        Employing a _Secular Humanist_ point of view, I had earlier
        concentrated on they being winged Egyptian sphinxes, which had been
        later modified by the Phoenicians and Canaanites in Late Bronze and
        Iron Age times, having accepted Professor Albright's identification.

        Recently, I have come to realize my error. Numerous scholars have
        suggested that the closest parallel to the Garden of Eden story is
        the Mesopotamian myth called _Adapa and the South Wind_. I am in
        agreement with these scholars.

        I understand that the Hebrews recast this myth in order to _refute,
        deny and challenge_ the Mesopotamian beliefs regarding how a man
        once-upon-a-time had a chance to acquire immortality for himself and
        lost-out on this unique chance because he had been deceived by a
        lying serpent-god.

        It is my understanding that the original prototypes of the Cherubim
        asociated with Eden's garden were Ningishzida and Dumuzi of _The
        Adapa and the South Wind Myth_.

        It would be _later_ that these "original" prototypes would be
        transformed into Winged Sphinxes of Late Bronz and Iron Age Syria,
        Phoenicia, Canaan and
        Israel. So, Albright was _right_, the Winged Sphinx was a
        Cherubim prototype, but it was not the "original" prototype, to my
        understanding.

        If intersted, cf. the below url:

        http://www.bibleorigins.net/CherubimOrigins.html

        Regards, Walter
        Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: ANE-2 Cc: Jennifer Rose; Al Cohen In Response To: David Hall On : Dragons From: Bruce David had quoted Wikipedia about Chinese dragons. The perils of
        Message 3 of 27 , Aug 4, 2006
          To: ANE-2
          Cc: Jennifer Rose; Al Cohen
          In Response To: David Hall
          On : Dragons
          From: Bruce

          David had quoted Wikipedia about Chinese dragons. The perils of Wikipedia
          have already been mentioned on-list. I would like to add a caution about
          Wikipedia contributors (such as this one) who are, sincerely and even
          accurately enough, parroting traditional Chinese lore. The problem is that
          traditional Chinese lore is essentially worthless as historical information,
          including information about the history of myth.

          --------

          Here was David's comment: "The use of the winged dragon motif was described
          as being from the Chinese dynasty of Huang Di from before 2500 BC.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yinglong

          This may or may not predate the Sumerian legend. The Chinese have long
          been fascinated with depictions of legendary creatures. Marco Polo was
          reported as finding dragon bones (dinosaur fossils) after returning from his
          journey to China by way of the Gobi Desert."

          ------

          My response would be: The Chinese are indeed avid about legendary creatures,
          but the creatures are still legendary. There are, in fact, no such things as
          dragons. There is also no such thing as the Yellow Emperor. He is a reified
          abstract directional deity, later equipped with a dynasty of his own (as
          were other invented personages for whom a place in antiquity was eventually
          sought). Chinese myth is for the most part not popular, but rather intensely
          and purposively political. It is in large measure framed by the Empire
          government itself, or by people trying to cultivate its favor.

          There is a large gap between what critical specialists know about the Yellow
          Emperor and what the general public (including at least some Wikipedia
          contributors) know about the Yellow Emperor. One of my colleagues years ago
          composed a paper on the subject, called ""Will the Real Yellow Emperor
          Please Stand Up?" It pointed out that the popular notion of the Yellow
          Emperor now bears no connection with what the specialists know, and that the
          gap between the two is probably ineradicable. In writing this note, I am
          attempting to defy, at least for a learned subset of nonSinologists, that
          judgement.

          The paper was never published, as far as I know; it has achieved a kind of
          samizdat fame as an underground statement within Sinology.

          Chinese chronology is disputed earlier than the year 0841 (this is a
          culture-neutral way of writing 841 BC); the Jou conquest of Shang was within
          50 years or so of 01000, and writing was introduced to China three or four
          centuries before that. The "oracle bone" records exemplifying that script
          preserve isolated dates and events, plus a cast of mind in which divination
          plays a central guiding role in the acts of government. That's it for
          documentation of the usual sort. No Hammurabi code, no Amarna letters, no
          valid use for the year 02500; nothing. Everything allegedly earlier than the
          late middle 02nd millennium is a more or less self-interested construct of
          later times, and should be approached with extreme wariness by outside
          users. A complication is that the present government is attempting to
          construct or establish a Chinese chronology which, precisely, will outstrip
          the ANE chronology, and thus validate China as the world's oldest
          civilization. See http://www.umass.edu/wsp sv Methodology > Antiquity
          Frenzy.

          Archaeology provides probably our best clues as to the evolution of Chinese
          art motifs such as the winged dragon, or at least it does as long as the
          archaeology is interpreted by people free of the Chinese government's wishes
          in the matter, and to be operatively free of them is a rather tricky
          proposition. The evidence, so interpreted, is that the winged dragon, as
          distinct from the merely serpentine dragon, is not earlier than the Warring
          States Period (beginning in the early 05c, though just to make things
          complicated, there are those who prefer to begin it in the *late* 05c), and
          indeed, is somewhat distinctive of the onset of that period. The key paper,
          as I recall, is by Alain Thotes, a very careful and reputable person. I can
          probably dig out the reference in case anyone can use it.

          There would thus seem to be little danger of Chinese winged dragons
          predating any Sumerian ones. Go, Sumerians.

          At this point, the knowledge gap begins to run the other way, and it occurs
          to me to ask of the ANE world: Where might the Chinese somewhere around the
          year 0450 have picked up the idea of a winged dragon (as an improvement over
          their old serpentine dragon)? Are there verifiable creatures of that sort in
          the imagination of anybody at or before that time? Especially, as it might
          be, on the eastern borders of the Persian Empire?

          Some myths are probably widespread because they are in principle universal.
          No aetiology or diffusion scenario would seem to be called for in such
          cases. But in the period here in question, we seem to see in the Chinese
          record (once the texts comprising the record have been properly dated) the
          sudden appearance of some much more specific cultural capital, moving
          eastward from the ANE area into the Chinese backwater. Among items likely to
          be in this late inventory is the phoenix, which in Chinese lore comes to be
          associated with the dragon as a symbol of power, in addition to its own life
          as a symbol of renewal. And so on.

          Any suggestions welcome.

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Research Professor of Chinese
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        • Peter T. Daniels
          ... From: E Bruce Brooks brooks@asianlan.umass.edu ... No, it is not. It is an immensely confusing perversion of the phenomenon of the meaningless leading zero
          Message 4 of 27 , Aug 5, 2006
            ----- Original Message ----
            From: E Bruce Brooks brooks@...

            > Chinese chronology is disputed earlier than the year 0841 (this is a
            > culture-neutral way of writing 841 BC);

            No, it is not. It is an immensely confusing perversion of the phenomenon of the meaningless leading zero -- precisely because we have learned from our earliest age to disregard leading zeros!

            > the Jou conquest of Shang was within
            > 50 years or so of 01000, and writing was introduced to China three or four
            > centuries before that.

            That's highly unlikely. By the time Chinese writing is first attested (Oracle Bone Inscriptions, ca. 1250 BCE), it is a (functionally speaking) fully developed writing system, and in the other known cases of script invention (Sumerian and Mayan), it took many, many centuries to achieve that status -- in both cases, moreover, the mediation of writing in other languages was certainly (Sumerian) or probably (Mayan) involved, which provided the impetus for full phoneticization. We might then expect the first experiments with Chinese proto-writing to reach back close to the 3rd millennium.
            --
            Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • E Bruce Brooks
            To: ANE-2 In Response To: Peter Daniels On: Chinese Writing From: Bruce Peter has previously, but on that occasion privately, chided me on my suggestion about
            Message 5 of 27 , Aug 5, 2006
              To: ANE-2
              In Response To: Peter Daniels
              On: Chinese Writing
              From: Bruce

              Peter has previously, but on that occasion privately, chided me on my
              suggestion about date nomenclature. I may as well repeat here the gist of my
              earlier answer to him:

              ME: Chinese chronology is disputed earlier than the year 0841 (this is a
              culture-neutral way of writing 841 BC);

              PETER: No, it is not. It is an immensely confusing perversion of the
              phenomenon of the meaningless leading zero -- precisely because we have
              learned from our earliest age to disregard leading zeros!

              ME: Non sequitur. It is culture-neutral because the standard conventions in
              English, BC or BCE, both *assume* English, that is, they are abbreviations
              of English words and thus culturally centered in English. Those conventions
              do not adequately represent French (where a different phrase is in use), or
              German, or in fact anything other than English. I always recommend that
              conventions in any subject should be as widely based, or as widely
              acceptable, as is reasonably possible. The other neutral device (that is,
              the other device not based on words in a particular language) which one
              sometimes encounters is a minus sign prefixed to BC dates. The troubles with
              this are two: (1) it does not allow for convenient hyphenation of dates (if
              Confucius was born in -551 and died in -479, how would you give his
              lifespan, without running into hierarchic hyphen problems on the page?), and
              (2) it conflicts with established astronomical usage, which differs by one
              from "historical" usage. Since astronomical dates are frequently cited in
              ancient studies (eclipses are important evidence), that conflict cannot
              easily be shrugged off. All in all, then, it seems to me that the leading
              zero convention, which raises neither of these practical problems, and also
              does not rub Englishness in the faces of other language speakers, has a good
              deal going for it. Respectfully suggested, to those capable of entertaining
              such suggestions in tranquility.

              As to Peter's substantive objection, minus "perversion" and other somewhat
              unscientific lexical items, we, or at least a good many of us, have NOT
              "learned to disregard leading zeroes." They are increasingly common, and we
              often have to pay attention to them in daily life. Those citing an ISBN
              number, to take only one instance, will disregard the leading zero at their
              and/or Amazon's peril. It is precisely this greater familiarity with leading
              zeroes in modern life (including modern banking) which makes a leading zero
              convention less strange to the ordinary citizen, and thus more practical as
              a general convention, than it would have been 30 years ago. There will
              always be people who like what they have, and Peter has signed on as one of
              them. His distaste for this specific suggestion may or may not be widely
              shared, but his arguments in support of that distaste don't strike me as
              having general weight.

              Now we come to Chinese writing.

              ME: the Jou conquest of Shang was within 50 years or so of 01000, and
              writing was introduced to China three or four
              centuries before that.

              PETER: That's highly unlikely. By the time Chinese writing is first attested
              (Oracle Bone Inscriptions, ca. 1250 BCE), it is a (functionally speaking)
              fully developed writing system, and in the other known cases of script
              invention (Sumerian and Mayan), it took many, many centuries to achieve that
              status -- in both cases, moreover, the mediation of writing in other
              languages was certainly (Sumerian) or probably (Mayan) involved, which
              provided the impetus for full phoneticization. We might then expect the
              first experiments with Chinese proto-writing to reach back close to the 3rd
              millennium.

              ME: That timescale might fit that hypothesis, but that hypothesis itself
              doesn't convince me. It is agreed that Chinese oracle bone writing emerges
              rather full-blown. That suggests one of two things: either (1) Chinese
              writing went through a long period of local development which, and the
              social concomitants of which, are both utterly lost to us, or (2) it arose
              and quickly developed, in idiosyncratic local form, but as the result of
              stimulus from outside.

              It may be objected that Chinese is typologically different from all the
              other Asian writing systems which might have suggested it. That, to my mind,
              implies stimulus (knowledge of the *idea* of writing, without any guidance
              as to method, and thus a local resort to rebus procedures, much as in
              Kipling's story) rather than direct imitation. But the distances involved do
              not make that a less likely possibility. As for the missing alphabet, at
              least one scholar (Pulleyblank) has suggested that the seemingly meaningless
              series of cyclical (calendrological) signs, in two series of 10 and 12,
              totaling 22, may be distributed across the phonological system in such a way
              as to suggest an original consonantal set. If so, that possibility was not
              followed in the further development of the script, and represents a fossil
              rather than a fairway. But it might provide evidence of a sort of
              typological transition.

              The stimulus theory is anathema to the Chinese government, and thus to most
              Chinese scholars and indeed citizens, numbering in the millions, most of
              them passionately involved. But if one can get off in some quiet corner to
              consider the matter, it would seem that the stimulus hypothesis is subject
              to test as well as to feelings. The test might run this way: Is there any
              other cultural item which also arises rather suddenly in China, at about
              that same time, and have we any indications as to the provenance of that
              item? I would say, Yes and Yes, respectively.

              2. Bronze casting of remarkable quality and sophistication. Even some
              leading Chinese scientists (such as An Jr-min) now concede that, both
              technically and typologically, this is most intelligible as an introduction
              from the West, and not as an independent evolution. For one thing, no such
              evolution is attested, and with such hard items as bronze sacrificial
              vessels, likely to be preserved in tombs or concentrated at ritual centers,
              we would expect it to be.

              3. The war chariot. It was conceded by Shaughnessy, in a remarkably candid
              article some years ago in HJAS, that the Chinese war chariot is not only
              without local precedent, but is closely similar to the Mesopotamian war
              chariot. See the recent book by Robert Drews, with references.

              4. Wheat. I think it was the Russians who found that the particular strand
              of wheat used in Shang China has no species width in China, and thus does
              not look like a local domestication. The same strain of wheat is found along
              a sort of crescent, reaching from Mesopotamia up a little, and then down
              into North China. Species width obtains in Mesopotamia (as I recall), and
              thus domestication there is a plausible scenario. Wheat in early Chinese
              culture was exclusively an elite foot; the general populace ate millet. This
              makes three items so far which are restricted to the military elite culture
              of Shang.

              5. Horses. As is I think by now pretty well known, the horse (and without a
              horse, there is no great amount of use in the war chariot) is known all over
              East Asia by some version of a word which seems closely cognate to IE
              (specifically, OHGm) marah. Horses are also restricted to elite culture.
              Remarkably, the Chinese did not ride horses for the first thousand years of
              their acquaintance with horses. They only drove them. This is narrowness of
              use is perhaps typologically a little like the species narrowness of wheat;
              see above.

              Each of these items, though undoubtedly controversial in large sections of
              the planet, seems nevertheless fairly convincing when examined purely on the
              evidence. What is additionally convincing, at least to me, is that together,
              they all have the same character, which is not the character of a gradual
              local evolution, they all come in at roughly the same time, and thus suggest
              a culture complex rather than a group of disconnected culture traits
              requiring to be independently accounted for, and they all point in the same
              direction outside of China.

              I might add that it would be of great utility to Chinese studies (which as
              it stands is ill-equipped to deal with these questions in their fullness) if
              a knowledgeable ANE person or two got involved in the other ends of these
              equations. If there are any volunteers, I will be glad to hear from them,
              preferably off-line.

              Bruce

              E Bruce Brooks
              Research Professor of Chinese
              Warring States Project
              University of Massachusetts at Amherst
            • George F Somsel
              I don t know why people get so exercised with the chimera of cultural neutrality. I suppose that it s an aspect of political correctness. If I say
              Message 6 of 27 , Aug 5, 2006
                I don't know why people get so exercised with the chimera of cultural neutrality. I suppose that it's an aspect of "political correctness." If I say something happened 200 B.C. and my Jewish friend says something happened 200 B.C.E. we both know what is meant. We operate from different presuppositions which causes me to express the date in terms of the (erroneously determined) birth of Christ. My Jewish friend doesn't center his life around Christ and therefore refers to it as the "Common Era." We nevertheless communicate -- he expressing his presuppositions and I mine. If he really wanted to express his viewpoint he might rather enter the year today as 5766. My Moslem friend, however, has a different view since their calendar is based on the date of the Hegira. Thus even expressing the date as 0200 rather than 200 B.C. or 200 B.C.E. is not culturally neutral. I see no reason for us to get "bent out of shape" by a simple matter of dating when what is intended is
                quite clear and each can understand it in his own manner.

                george
                gfsomsel


                ______________


                E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...> wrote:
                To: ANE-2
                In Response To: Peter Daniels
                On: Chinese Writing
                From: Bruce

                Peter has previously, but on that occasion privately, chided me on my
                suggestion about date nomenclature. I may as well repeat here the gist of my
                earlier answer to him:

                ME: Chinese chronology is disputed earlier than the year 0841 (this is a
                culture-neutral way of writing 841 BC);

                PETER: No, it is not. It is an immensely confusing perversion of the
                phenomenon of the meaningless leading zero -- precisely because we have
                learned from our earliest age to disregard leading zeros!

                ME: Non sequitur. It is culture-neutral because the standard conventions in
                English, BC or BCE, both *assume* English, that is, they are abbreviations
                of English words and thus culturally centered in English. Those conventions
                do not adequately represent French (where a different phrase is in use), or
                German, or in fact anything other than English. I always recommend that
                conventions in any subject should be as widely based, or as widely
                acceptable, as is reasonably possible. The other neutral device (that is,
                the other device not based on words in a particular language) which one
                sometimes encounters is a minus sign prefixed to BC dates. The troubles with
                this are two: (1) it does not allow for convenient hyphenation of dates (if
                Confucius was born in -551 and died in -479, how would you give his
                lifespan, without running into hierarchic hyphen problems on the page?), and
                (2) it conflicts with established astronomical usage, which differs by one
                from "historical" usage. Since astronomical dates are frequently cited in
                ancient studies (eclipses are important evidence), that conflict cannot
                easily be shrugged off. All in all, then, it seems to me that the leading
                zero convention, which raises neither of these practical problems, and also
                does not rub Englishness in the faces of other language speakers, has a good
                deal going for it. Respectfully suggested, to those capable of entertaining
                such suggestions in tranquility.

                As to Peter's substantive objection, minus "perversion" and other somewhat
                unscientific lexical items, we, or at least a good many of us, have NOT
                "learned to disregard leading zeroes." They are increasingly common, and we
                often have to pay attention to them in daily life. Those citing an ISBN
                number, to take only one instance, will disregard the leading zero at their
                and/or Amazon's peril. It is precisely this greater familiarity with leading
                zeroes in modern life (including modern banking) which makes a leading zero
                convention less strange to the ordinary citizen, and thus more practical as
                a general convention, than it would have been 30 years ago. There will
                always be people who like what they have, and Peter has signed on as one of
                them. His distaste for this specific suggestion may or may not be widely
                shared, but his arguments in support of that distaste don't strike me as
                having general weight.

                Now we come to Chinese writing.

                ME: the Jou conquest of Shang was within 50 years or so of 01000, and
                writing was introduced to China three or four
                centuries before that.

                PETER: That's highly unlikely. By the time Chinese writing is first attested
                (Oracle Bone Inscriptions, ca. 1250 BCE), it is a (functionally speaking)
                fully developed writing system, and in the other known cases of script
                invention (Sumerian and Mayan), it took many, many centuries to achieve that
                status -- in both cases, moreover, the mediation of writing in other
                languages was certainly (Sumerian) or probably (Mayan) involved, which
                provided the impetus for full phoneticization. We might then expect the
                first experiments with Chinese proto-writing to reach back close to the 3rd
                millennium.

                ME: That timescale might fit that hypothesis, but that hypothesis itself
                doesn't convince me. It is agreed that Chinese oracle bone writing emerges
                rather full-blown. That suggests one of two things: either (1) Chinese
                writing went through a long period of local development which, and the
                social concomitants of which, are both utterly lost to us, or (2) it arose
                and quickly developed, in idiosyncratic local form, but as the result of
                stimulus from outside.

                It may be objected that Chinese is typologically different from all the
                other Asian writing systems which might have suggested it. That, to my mind,
                implies stimulus (knowledge of the *idea* of writing, without any guidance
                as to method, and thus a local resort to rebus procedures, much as in
                Kipling's story) rather than direct imitation. But the distances involved do
                not make that a less likely possibility. As for the missing alphabet, at
                least one scholar (Pulleyblank) has suggested that the seemingly meaningless
                series of cyclical (calendrological) signs, in two series of 10 and 12,
                totaling 22, may be distributed across the phonological system in such a way
                as to suggest an original consonantal set. If so, that possibility was not
                followed in the further development of the script, and represents a fossil
                rather than a fairway. But it might provide evidence of a sort of
                typological transition.

                The stimulus theory is anathema to the Chinese government, and thus to most
                Chinese scholars and indeed citizens, numbering in the millions, most of
                them passionately involved. But if one can get off in some quiet corner to
                consider the matter, it would seem that the stimulus hypothesis is subject
                to test as well as to feelings. The test might run this way: Is there any
                other cultural item which also arises rather suddenly in China, at about
                that same time, and have we any indications as to the provenance of that
                item? I would say, Yes and Yes, respectively.

                2. Bronze casting of remarkable quality and sophistication. Even some
                leading Chinese scientists (such as An Jr-min) now concede that, both
                technically and typologically, this is most intelligible as an introduction
                from the West, and not as an independent evolution. For one thing, no such
                evolution is attested, and with such hard items as bronze sacrificial
                vessels, likely to be preserved in tombs or concentrated at ritual centers,
                we would expect it to be.

                3. The war chariot. It was conceded by Shaughnessy, in a remarkably candid
                article some years ago in HJAS, that the Chinese war chariot is not only
                without local precedent, but is closely similar to the Mesopotamian war
                chariot. See the recent book by Robert Drews, with references.

                4. Wheat. I think it was the Russians who found that the particular strand
                of wheat used in Shang China has no species width in China, and thus does
                not look like a local domestication. The same strain of wheat is found along
                a sort of crescent, reaching from Mesopotamia up a little, and then down
                into North China. Species width obtains in Mesopotamia (as I recall), and
                thus domestication there is a plausible scenario. Wheat in early Chinese
                culture was exclusively an elite foot; the general populace ate millet. This
                makes three items so far which are restricted to the military elite culture
                of Shang.

                5. Horses. As is I think by now pretty well known, the horse (and without a
                horse, there is no great amount of use in the war chariot) is known all over
                East Asia by some version of a word which seems closely cognate to IE
                (specifically, OHGm) marah. Horses are also restricted to elite culture.
                Remarkably, the Chinese did not ride horses for the first thousand years of
                their acquaintance with horses. They only drove them. This is narrowness of
                use is perhaps typologically a little like the species narrowness of wheat;
                see above.

                Each of these items, though undoubtedly controversial in large sections of
                the planet, seems nevertheless fairly convincing when examined purely on the
                evidence. What is additionally convincing, at least to me, is that together,
                they all have the same character, which is not the character of a gradual
                local evolution, they all come in at roughly the same time, and thus suggest
                a culture complex rather than a group of disconnected culture traits
                requiring to be independently accounted for, and they all point in the same
                direction outside of China.

                I might add that it would be of great utility to Chinese studies (which as
                it stands is ill-equipped to deal with these questions in their fullness) if
                a knowledgeable ANE person or two got involved in the other ends of these
                equations. If there are any volunteers, I will be glad to hear from them,
                preferably off-line.

                Bruce

                E Bruce Brooks
                Research Professor of Chinese
                Warring States Project
                University of Massachusetts at Amherst
              • Peter T. Daniels
                ... From: E Bruce Brooks To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com Sent: Saturday, August 5, 2006 10:45:56 AM Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing
                Message 7 of 27 , Aug 5, 2006
                  ----- Original Message ----
                  From: E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...>
                  To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Saturday, August 5, 2006 10:45:56 AM
                  Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing Re: [ANE-2] Cherubim Origins


                  To: ANE-2
                  In Response To: Peter Daniels
                  On: Chinese Writing
                  From: Bruce

                  Peter has previously, but on that occasion privately, chided me on my
                  suggestion about date nomenclature. I may as well repeat here the gist of my
                  earlier answer to him:

                  ME: Chinese chronology is disputed earlier than the year 0841 (this is a
                  culture-neutral way of writing 841 BC);

                  PETER: No, it is not. It is an immensely confusing perversion of the
                  phenomenon of the meaningless leading zero -- precisely because we have
                  learned from our earliest age to disregard leading zeros!

                  ME: Non sequitur. It is culture-neutral because the standard conventions in
                  English, BC or BCE, both *assume* English, that is, they are abbreviations
                  of English words and thus culturally centered in English. Those conventions
                  do not adequately represent French (where a different phrase is in use), or
                  German, or in fact anything other than English. I always recommend that
                  **********
                  Like it or not, the international language of scholarship is currently English, and if either French or German has adopted a non-Christian way of referring to the Eras, I haven't heard of it yet: the expressions are still "avant j.-c." and "vorchristlich."
                  **********
                  EBRUCE: conventions in any subject should be as widely based, or as widely
                  acceptable, as is reasonably possible. The other neutral device (that is,
                  the other device not based on words in a particular language) which one
                  sometimes encounters is a minus sign prefixed to BC dates.
                  **********
                  We certainly don't encounter that in ANE studies, which are quite aware of astronomical practice.
                  **********
                  EBRUCE: All in all, then, it seems to me that the leading
                  zero convention, which raises neither of these practical problems, and also
                  does not rub Englishness in the faces of other language speakers, has a good
                  deal going for it. Respectfully suggested, to those capable of entertaining
                  such suggestions in tranquility.
                  **********
                  When I reviewed the 1998 Mair volumes (Sino-Platonic Papers 98 [Jan. 2000]: 4-46), I essentially had to state that your article was unreadable and uninterpretable, because of your bizarre date formulations, your bizsrre citation style; and your idiosyncratic transliteration (or transcription?) of Chinese, referenced only to a (then?) unpublished manuscript.
                  **********
                  EBRUCE: As to Peter's substantive objection, minus "perversion" and other somewhat
                  unscientific lexical items, we, or at least a good many of us, have NOT
                  "learned to disregard leading zeroes." They are increasingly common, and we
                  often have to pay attention to them in daily life. Those citing an ISBN
                  number, to take only one instance, will disregard the leading zero at their
                  **********
                  ISBNs begin with "1" for books in English, "3" for books in German, etc. Perhaps "0" is used for books in Chinese?
                  **********
                  EBRUCE: and/or Amazon's peril. It is precisely this greater familiarity with leading
                  zeroes in modern life (including modern banking) which makes a leading zero
                  convention less strange to the ordinary citizen, and thus more practical as
                  a general convention, than it would have been 30 years ago. There will
                  always be people who like what they have, and Peter has signed on as one of
                  them. His distaste for this specific suggestion may or may not be widely
                  shared, but his arguments in support of that distaste don't strike me as
                  having general weight.

                  Now we come to Chinese writing.

                  ME: the Jou conquest of Shang was within 50 years or so of 01000, and
                  writing was introduced to China three or four
                  centuries before that.

                  PETER: That's highly unlikely. By the time Chinese writing is first attested
                  (Oracle Bone Inscriptions, ca. 1250 BCE), it is a (functionally speaking)
                  fully developed writing system, and in the other known cases of script
                  invention (Sumerian and Mayan), it took many, many centuries to achieve that
                  status -- in both cases, moreover, the mediation of writing in other
                  languages was certainly (Sumerian) or probably (Mayan) involved, which
                  provided the impetus for full phoneticization. We might then expect the
                  first experiments with Chinese proto-writing to reach back close to the 3rd
                  millennium.

                  ME: That timescale might fit that hypothesis, but that hypothesis itself
                  doesn't convince me. It is agreed that Chinese oracle bone writing emerges
                  rather full-blown. That suggests one of two things: either (1) Chinese
                  writing went through a long period of local development which, and the
                  social concomitants of which, are both utterly lost to us, or (2) it arose
                  and quickly developed, in idiosyncratic local form, but as the result of
                  stimulus from outside.
                  **********
                  The origins of Chinese civilization are vastly off-topic for ANE-2 List, and nothing here is unfamiliar; I would refer you to the article by Michael Puett in the same Mair volume, on the scholarly pendulum regarding "outside influence" on China in the 2nd millennium. He argues for a middle ground, recognizing that some characteristics are imported and some are native. He does _not_ consider writing as a phenomenon influenced by the outside, and with very good reason ...
                  **********
                  EBRUCE: It may be objected that Chinese is typologically different from all the
                  other Asian writing systems which might have suggested it. That, to my mind,
                  **********
                  What "all the other Asian writing systems" of the 2nd millennium are those? The graphonomist [I have switched to Hockett's term from Gelb's "grammatologist" because of Derrida] is struck by its typological _similarity_ to Sumerian and Mayan writing.
                  **********
                  implies stimulus (knowledge of the *idea* of writing, without any guidance
                  as to method, and thus a local resort to rebus procedures, much as in
                  Kipling's story) rather than direct imitation. But the distances involved do
                  not make that a less likely possibility. As for the missing alphabet, at
                  least one scholar (Pulleyblank) has suggested that the seemingly meaningless
                  **********
                  Pulleyblank abandoned that suggestion decades ago.

                  He, Mair, and Cyrus Gordon spoke back to back to back at the 33rd ICANAS in Toronto in 1990 on exactly the same topic, and none of them ever provided the slightest hint of convincing evidence.

                  On the notion of "stimulus" and "rebus procedures," see any number of articles of mine, including, of course, my explanation of why writing came to be independently invented in exactly three locations that we know of: Sumer, China, and Mesoamerica. Bibliography can be provided if requested. In every known instance, "stimulus" results in a syllabary, not a logography.
                  **********
                  series of cyclical (calendrological) signs, in two series of 10 and 12,
                  totaling 22, may be distributed across the phonological system in such a way
                  as to suggest an original consonantal set. If so, that possibility was not
                  followed in the further development of the script, and represents a fossil
                  rather than a fairway. But it might provide evidence of a sort of
                  typological transition.

                  [I delete the political comments and the descriptions of various phenomena that plausibly were borrowed into China, as even more irrelevant to ANE-2.]
                  --
                  Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Peter T. Daniels
                  PS: Henry Rogers in the textbook *Writing Systems* (Blackwell, 2005) uses NEW and OLD (in small capitals) to identify the eras. It seems a bit silly.
                  Message 8 of 27 , Aug 5, 2006
                    PS: Henry Rogers in the textbook *Writing Systems* (Blackwell, 2005) uses "NEW" and "OLD" (in small capitals) to identify the eras. It seems a bit silly.

                    (Please don't copy an entire earlier posting!)

                    --
                    Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...



                    ----- Original Message ----
                    From: George F Somsel <gfsomsel@...>
                    To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Saturday, August 5, 2006 11:18:08 AM
                    Subject: The Chimera of Cultural Neutrality (was Re: Dating Chinese writing Re: [ANE-2] Cherubim Origins)


                    I don't know why people get so exercised with the chimera of cultural neutrality. I suppose that it's an aspect of "political correctness." If I say something happened 200 B.C. and my Jewish friend says something happened 200 B.C.E. we both know what is meant. We operate from different presuppositions which causes me to express the date in terms of the (erroneously determined) birth of Christ. My Jewish friend doesn't center his life around Christ and therefore refers to it as the "Common Era." We nevertheless communicate -- he expressing his presuppositions and I mine. If he really wanted to express his viewpoint he might rather enter the year today as 5766. My Moslem friend, however, has a different view since their calendar is based on the date of the Hegira. Thus even expressing the date as 0200 rather than 200 B.C. or 200 B.C.E. is not culturally neutral. I see no reason for us to get "bent out of shape" by a simple matter of dating when what is intended is
                    quite clear and each can understand it in his own manner.

                    george
                    gfsomsel

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • E Bruce Brooks
                    To: ANE-2 On: Previous Thread From: Bruce We seem to be in an irascible zone, but herewith a few notes for any irenic lurkers. PETER: Like it or not, the
                    Message 9 of 27 , Aug 5, 2006
                      To: ANE-2
                      On: Previous Thread
                      From: Bruce

                      We seem to be in an irascible zone, but herewith a few notes for any irenic
                      lurkers.

                      PETER: Like it or not, the international language of scholarship is
                      currently English.

                      BRUCE: Just so, and it behooves an international language to behave with
                      diplomatic tact. If its conventions can be adjusted to be more comfortable
                      for non-natives using that international medium, so much the nicer.

                      PETER: ISBNs begin with "1" for books in English, "3" for books in German,
                      etc. Perhaps "0" is used for books in Chinese?

                      BRUCE: Without leaning over very far at my desk, I find A Cohen (ed), The
                      Psalms [Hebrew Text and English Translation], 2ed Soncino 1995, ISBN
                      1-871055-65-2 (formerly ISBN 0-900689-32-3), part of a 14v set whose current
                      ISBN is 0-871055-70-9); also Erhard S Gerstenberger, Psalms: Part 1 / With
                      an Introduction to Cultic Poetry, Eerdmans 1988, ISBN 0-8028-0255-9; also
                      Michael Goulder, The Prayers of David: Psalms 51-72, Sheffield 1990, 2001;
                      Clark 2004, ISBN 0567082180 [sic; PB]. Doesn't look particularly Chinese to
                      me.

                      PETER: The origins of Chinese civilization are vastly off-topic for ANE-2
                      List, . . .

                      BRUCE: Not for the original Cherubim topic, it would seem. I trust we have
                      at least succeeded in clarifying the dragon question as it affects that
                      discussion. As to the general principle, let me put it this way: the next
                      ANE conference to be organized on the principle of divine kinship might with
                      interest include representatives who can speak to the case of India, that of
                      China, and for that matter, the later stages of Alexander's career.

                      PETER: [on Chinese writing] I would refer you to the article by Michael
                      Puett in the same Mair volume, on the scholarly pendulum regarding "outside
                      influence" on China in the 2nd millennium. He argues for a middle ground, .
                      . .

                      BRUCE: Michael had an interesting function at that conference. It was to be
                      the peacemaker, and for that reason he was spotted as the critical speaker
                      on the final, and public, morning of the conference. Nobody with an
                      experience of diplomacy will miss the symbolism. I thought Michael did it
                      very well, and told him as much at the time. But his overview might not be
                      the last word on any one of the specific points which it included.

                      PETER [on Chinese language]: The graphonomist . . . is struck by its
                      typological _similarity_ to Sumerian and Mayan writing.

                      BRUCE: The typical Chinese character is made up of two elements, one
                      conventionally called the "radical" in the belief that it represents the
                      root meaning, and the other conventionally called the "phonetic." Best
                      current thinking is that the "radical" is what at least some Near
                      Easternists call the "determinative" or semantic-area designator, and the
                      "phonetic" carries not only the sound, but [as in all languages] the meaning
                      associated with the sound. It would be nice to know exactly what NE script
                      is closest to this system, given that the "phonetic" part is pictorial
                      rather than alphabetic. Peter implies Sumerian. Does that find general
                      agreement on this list?

                      PETER: . . . any number of articles of mine, including, of course, my
                      explanation of why writing came to be independently invented in exactly
                      three locations that we know of: Sumer, China, and Mesoamerica. Bibliography
                      can be provided if requested. In every known instance, "stimulus" results in
                      a syllabary, not a logography.

                      BRUCE: Bibliography welcome. As for "stimulus" resulting in a syllabary, it
                      seems to me, from what little I know of writing systems in general, that the
                      most general tendency is for cultures to take one step at a time. We have a
                      syllabic system of writing in China, but not a syllalbary (a transition to
                      pure phonetic script). That step was later taken when Chinese writing was
                      borrowed into Japan [I trust nobody will take offense at this notion], and
                      there used not only in its original form, but in a reduced and abbreviated
                      form as a syllabary (still in use today). Presumably the third step, perhaps
                      more easily taken when ideas cross a frontier than when they do not, is from
                      a syllabary to its single-sound constituents, producing a further economy in
                      the inventory. That seems to have happened in Korea.

                      GEORGE SOMSEL: My Moslem friend, however, has a different view since their
                      calendar is based on the date of the Hegira. Thus even expressing the date
                      as 0200 rather than 200 B.C. or 200 B.C.E. is not culturally neutral.

                      BRUCE: Point taken. I might better have said "linguistically neutral." But
                      even that may be something, in a sometimes difficult world.

                      E Bruce Brooks
                      Warring States Project
                      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                    • Peter T. Daniels
                      ... From: E Bruce Brooks To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com Sent: Saturday, August 5, 2006 5:31:43 PM Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing
                      Message 10 of 27 , Aug 5, 2006
                        ----- Original Message ----
                        From: E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...>
                        To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Saturday, August 5, 2006 5:31:43 PM
                        Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing Re: [ANE-2] Cherubim Origins


                        PETER: [on Chinese writing] I would refer you to the article by Michael
                        Puett in the same Mair volume, on the scholarly pendulum regarding "outside
                        influence" on China in the 2nd millennium. He argues for a middle ground, .
                        . .

                        BRUCE: Michael had an interesting function at that conference. It was to be
                        the peacemaker, and for that reason he was spotted as the critical speaker
                        on the final, and public, morning of the conference. Nobody with an
                        experience of diplomacy will miss the symbolism. I thought Michael did it
                        very well, and told him as much at the time. But his overview might not be
                        the last word on any one of the specific points which it included.
                        ********
                        I was in Chicago, and had no means of attending the event. I'm not sure why Victor chose me to review the book, but I found the linguistic papers extremely fruitful for commentary.
                        ********
                        PETER [on Chinese language]: The graphonomist . . . is struck by its
                        typological _similarity_ to Sumerian and Mayan writing.

                        BRUCE: The typical Chinese character is made up of two elements, one
                        conventionally called the "radical" in the belief that it represents the
                        root meaning, and the other conventionally called the "phonetic." Best
                        current thinking is that the "radical" is what at least some Near
                        Easternists call the "determinative" or semantic-area designator, and the
                        "phonetic" carries not only the sound, but [as in all languages] the meaning
                        associated with the sound. It would be nice to know exactly what NE script
                        is closest to this system, given that the "phonetic" part is pictorial
                        rather than alphabetic. Peter implies Sumerian. Does that find general
                        agreement on this list?
                        ********
                        The _only_ typological difference between Chinese and Sumerian is that the combination of radical and phonetic was fused into a single item in Chinese -- the characters -- while in Sumerian, they remained separate (thus the thousands of Chinese characters vs. the several hundred in cuneiform).
                        ********
                        PETER: . . . any number of articles of mine, including, of course, my
                        explanation of why writing came to be independently invented in exactly
                        three locations that we know of: Sumer, China, and Mesoamerica. Bibliography
                        can be provided if requested. In every known instance, "stimulus" results in
                        a syllabary, not a logography.

                        BRUCE: Bibliography welcome.
                        ********
                        The _fons et origo_ is my chapter in *The Linguistics of Literacy*, ed. Downing, Lima, and Noonan (Benjamins, 1992) [a 1988 Milwaukee conference]; a more accessible treatment is in Blackwell's *Handbook of Linguistics* ed. Aronoff & Rees-Miller (2001, though contributors' copies were distributed already in mid-2000). A very extensive review article is about to be published on LINGUIST List, which contains more recent bibliography; see also *Israel Oriental Studies* 20 (2002) and *Written Language and Literacy* 9 (2006).
                        ********

                        BRUCE:As for "stimulus" resulting in a syllabary, it
                        seems to me, from what little I know of writing systems in general, that the
                        most general tendency is for cultures to take one step at a time. We have a
                        ********
                        "Cultures" don't devise scripts, individuals do. In every example we know of (the earliest being Sequoyah; at least a dozen followed over the next two centuries), when the script-creator ("grammatogenist") merely knew of the existence of writing, but knew nothing of how it worked, the invention was a syllabary. (Sometimes they tried doing a logography, with a different symbol for every word, but they soon, or eventually, discovered that no memory was adequate for such a scheme.)

                        Only when a language is monosyllabically oriented does an attempt at logography succeed, because only then can symbols for one word be reapplied, rebus-fashion, for very similar or identical but unrelated words, using the symbols for their sound-value alone.

                        And why is that? Because, as psycholinguists have repeatedly shown, the most salient stretch of speech is not the segment (consonant/vowel/etc.), but the syllable. Hence ancient grammatogeny in Sumerian, Chinese, and Mayan, but not in any Semitic or Indo-European language; hence my conviction that Egyptian hieroglyphs were not an independent invention but the result of some, inadequate, knowledge of Sumerian writing. And hence my preference for Dravidian, and not Munda (and of course not Indic) as the language behind the Indus Valley script.
                        ********
                        BRUCE: syllabic system of writing in China, but not a syllalbary (a transition to
                        ********
                        It's misleading to call Chinese "syllabic," precisely because it isn't a syllabary.
                        ********
                        BRUCE: pure phonetic script). That step was later taken when Chinese writing was
                        borrowed into Japan [I trust nobody will take offense at this notion], and
                        there used not only in its original form, but in a reduced and abbreviated
                        form as a syllabary (still in use today). Presumably the third step, perhaps
                        more easily taken when ideas cross a frontier than when they do not, is from
                        a syllabary to its single-sound constituents, producing a further economy in
                        the inventory. That seems to have happened in Korea.
                        ********
                        The kana are only diachronically, but not synchronically, related to the kanji, so it's misleading to suggest that Chinese writing :"is used in a reduced and abbreviated form as a syllabary."

                        I dare you to produce a single alphabetic script that developed, a la Gelb, from a syllabary.

                        The background to the invention of the Korean alphabet was both Chinese linguistic theory (which identified the initial, rime, and tone of each syllable) and knowledge of hPags pa (and maybe even Sanskrit directly) -- no syllabaries.
                        ********
                        GEORGE SOMSEL: My Moslem friend, however, has a different view since their
                        calendar is based on the date of the Hegira. Thus even expressing the date
                        as 0200 rather than 200 B.C. or 200 B.C.E. is not culturally neutral.

                        BRUCE: Point taken. I might better have said "linguistically neutral." But
                        even that may be something, in a sometimes difficult world.
                        ********
                        Yet one other thing: there's nothing about "0" that says "remember to count backwards" as an era label or even a minus sign does.
                        ********
                        E Bruce Brooks
                        Warring States Project
                        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                        --
                        Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • E Bruce Brooks
                        To: ANE-2 In Response To: Peter Daniels On: Writing From: Bruce Does anyone else have the sense that this discussion is dissipating in small quibbles? Here are
                        Message 11 of 27 , Aug 6, 2006
                          To: ANE-2
                          In Response To: Peter Daniels
                          On: Writing
                          From: Bruce

                          Does anyone else have the sense that this discussion is dissipating in small
                          quibbles? Here are some replies, with the excuse that general principles of
                          interest may sometimes be involved.

                          PETER: "Cultures" don't devise scripts, individuals do.

                          BRUCE: In the absence of a known individual to ascribe a script to, I
                          suggest that "culture" is a reasonable makeshift designation.

                          PETER [on the inventors of scripts]: (Sometimes they tried doing a
                          logography, with a different symbol for every word, but they soon, or
                          eventually, discovered that no memory was adequate for such a scheme.)

                          BRUCE: In that case the rule that invented scripts are always syllabaries
                          vanishes. As for logographic memory, in my field we are supposed to be able
                          to handle 50,000 different signs. What stopped Sequoyah?

                          PETER: It's misleading to call Chinese "syllabic," precisely because it
                          isn't a syllabary.

                          BRUCE: In Chinese, the character corresponds to the syllable. When a word,
                          such as the famous "butterfly" (hudye), has two syllables, two characters,
                          not one, are used to write it. A syllabary is where there is only one way of
                          writing each phonetic syllable in the language; in Chinese, there are *many*
                          different ways of writing the same phonetic syllable depending on what word
                          (or word fraction) it represents. The concept "syllabary" seems well
                          distinguished from "syllabic" in this sense, and I doubt that anyone has
                          been seriously misled.

                          PETER: The kana are only diachronically, but not synchronically, related to
                          the kanji, so it's misleading to suggest that Chinese writing "is used in a
                          reduced and abbreviated form as a syllabary."

                          BRUCE: Don't understand the statement about kana/kanji relation. My sense of
                          the situation is that Chinese characters had acquired abbreviated forms in
                          the Chinese calligraphic tradition before Japan (presumably some individual
                          Japanese or two, but don't I don't happen to know their names, so I default
                          to the next higher level) made contact with them. The Japanese innovation,
                          never attempted in China either then or since, was to adopt a set of these
                          short forms, one for each CV syllable in the Japanese of that time (Nara
                          period), and to write the language with them, abandoning the semantic
                          distinctions offered by the characters, but gaining whatever advantage
                          inheres in a more phonetic approach, including a much easier instructional
                          scenario. Kana did not replace characters in Japan, which were and still are
                          used alongside them (and some texts continued to be written wholly in
                          Chinese: the Chinese language, not just the Chinese wordforms).

                          I now try to get to a larger issue. What interests me about the evolutionary
                          picture here is that the step from characters to kana syllabary units was
                          not taken as long as the characters remained in China (despite the existence
                          in China of short written forms); this occurred only when they were
                          transmitted to Japan; that is, when they crossed a boundary and acquired a
                          different cultural context. My comparison would be to an introduced plant or
                          insect that goes wild when transferred to a place where its natural pests
                          are lacking, or where its natural food is plentiful. This seems to be a
                          model with many applications. Among them: The technology of ocean navigation
                          (the compass, the sternpost rudder) was developed in China, but did not lead
                          in China to an age of exploration or of maritime commerce. Once these tools
                          became known in Italy and Iberia, precisely that age did occur. Again, the
                          potential of an idea when taken out of its original context.

                          It's hard to think of things; cultural historians sometimes underestimate
                          this. The Chinese drove horses for a thousand years before it occured to
                          them to sit down on a horse, and even then (mid and late 04c), they didn't
                          really think of it, they copied it in desperate self-defense from the steppe
                          archers. I seem to remember that those archers also earned the healthy
                          respect of Rome. In any case, this is why the classic Chinese military
                          literature never mentions cavalry; it didn't exist when those texts were
                          written. Cavalry turns up a century or so later, in the third generation of
                          military writings.

                          PETER: Yet one other thing: there's nothing about "0" that says "remember to
                          count backwards" as an era label or even a minus sign does.

                          BRUCE: Nor is there anything in the shape of letter A that suggests a
                          following B. One learns these things by exposure. 0345 is in the backward
                          series; 345 is in the forward series. It's not very difficult. People do
                          that sort of thing all the time.

                          The leading zero idea, to avoid BC and all other acronyms whatever, does not
                          get rid of counting backward. It would be nice to get rid of counting
                          backward (does anybody else have trouble subtracting uphill?), but that more
                          radical change involves impractical consequences. Leading zero is thus an
                          admittedly partial solution, a mere mitigation, but with Voltaire, I figure
                          half a loaf is better than no bread. Recommended accordingly.

                          E Bruce Brooks
                          Warring States Project
                          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                        • Robert M Whiting
                          ... A certain amount of simplification here, since if I remember DeFrancis correctly (not having it here in front of me), this covers only one category
                          Message 12 of 27 , Aug 6, 2006
                            On Sat, 5 Aug 2006, E Bruce Brooks wrote:

                            > BRUCE: The typical Chinese character is made up of two elements, one
                            > conventionally called the "radical" in the belief that it represents the
                            > root meaning, and the other conventionally called the "phonetic." Best
                            > current thinking is that the "radical" is what at least some Near
                            > Easternists call the "determinative" or semantic-area designator, and the
                            > "phonetic" carries not only the sound, but [as in all languages] the meaning
                            > associated with the sound. It would be nice to know exactly what NE script
                            > is closest to this system, given that the "phonetic" part is pictorial
                            > rather than alphabetic. Peter implies Sumerian. Does that find general
                            > agreement on this list?

                            A certain amount of simplification here, since if I remember DeFrancis
                            correctly (not having it here in front of me), this covers only one
                            category (although perhaps the largest and hence the "typical" group) of
                            Chinese signs.

                            As I remember it, all the sign types identified by DeFrancis are found in
                            the Sumerian script, if not necessarily in the same proportions.

                            There are both iconic and indexical pictograms with no overt phonetic
                            marker. Iconic examples include UTU 'sun' [a picture of the sun rising]
                            and signs like GI 'reed' and $E 'barley' representing plants or MU$EN
                            'bird' or KU6 'fish' or SAG 'head' or KUR 'mountain'. Indexical
                            pictograms include DUMU (a picture of female breasts to indicate 'child')
                            and A (wavy lines to indicate water). Pictograms that represent an object
                            pars pro toto fall somewhere between icons and indices and include SAL (a
                            picture of the female pubic triangle for 'woman') U$ (NITA) (a picture of
                            the male sex organ for 'male', 'man') the head of an animal for the entire
                            animal (GUD, 'bull', 'ox'; AB2, 'cow', PIRIG, 'lion'; GIR3 (AN$E) 'equid';
                            KA5 'fox'; etc.). Also indexical is the use of a picture of a foot to
                            indicate actions associated with the foot (e.g. GIN 'go', 'walk'; TUM3
                            'bring'; GUB 'stand'), but not for the word 'foot' itself None of these
                            signs have any explicit phonetic content (i.e., the phonetic sequences
                            that they represent are supplied by the reader from his knowledge of the
                            language).

                            Iconic and indexical pictograms are also extended indexically to include
                            related concepts (e.g. UTU 'sun' --> UD / U4 'day' / 'time'; BABBAR
                            'white'; DAG2 'shining', 'bright'; KUM4 'hot'; AH3 'dry'; TAM (DAM2)
                            'clean'; etc. or KUR 'mountain' --> '[foreign] country'), still without
                            any explicit phonetic indication in the sign itself.

                            Another category of sign creation is the combination of two iconic or
                            indexical pictograms into a new sign. For example, KUR, 'mountain',
                            '(foreign) country' is combined with the signs NITA ('man'), SAL
                            ('woman'), and GUD ('bull') to make NITAxKUR (ARAD2, 'slave'), SAL+KUR
                            (GEME2, 'slave-woman'), and GUDxKUR (AM, 'wild bull'). Similarly, A
                            'water' and AN 'sky' combine into A+AN (AM3 / $EG3, 'rain' / 'storm').
                            There is still no explicit phonetic content to the sign but simply the
                            combination of two iconic or indexical representations. I tend to think
                            of these combinations as "word pictures".

                            Another method of sign creation is the specification of a part of an
                            existing sign to indicate a new meaning. Thus SAG ('head') with lines
                            drawn near the mouth becomes KA ('mouth') and DUG4 ('speak'). Such signs
                            can be further combined (e.g., KA 'mouth' and A 'water' become NAG2
                            'drink', etc.). Still no explicit indication of phonetic content,
                            however; just more word pictures.

                            Then there is the combination of iconic or indexical signs with phonetic
                            indicators, in the manner you consider "typical" of Chinese script, to
                            make new signs. PIRIG 'lion' is combined with the UD (u4) sign to
                            indicate UG 'lion' and with the ZA sign ('bead') to make AZ(A) 'bear'.
                            GIR3 ('equid') is combined with A+IGI (= alim) to make ALIM ('bison).
                            Similarly, KA ('mouth') + ME is EME 'tongue'. In such cases, the phonetic
                            element of the sign indicates part or all of the reading of the sign.
                            Note the distinction between the "word picture" 'mouth' + 'water' (KAxA) =
                            'drink' (NAG2) and the phonetic indication 'mouth' + /me/ (KAxME) = EME
                            where the semantic content of the ME sign is ignored. In the first
                            instance there is a fusion of two "radicals" with no phonetic content. In
                            the second, there is a fusion of "radical" and "phonetic" to produce a
                            sign that contains explicit phonetic information.

                            Finally, there are Sumerian signs that are more or less completely
                            phonetic. Such signs usually involve a "bearer" sign (which you might
                            consider as corresponding to a "radical") which does not enter into the
                            equation but merely provides a platform for the "phonetic" which provides
                            the entire determination of the semantic content of the sign (although
                            sometimes the "bearer" contributes part of the phonetic content). Common
                            bearer signs typically have open space where the "phonetic" can be
                            inscribed. Signs like KA, GA2, EZEN, URU and LAGAB are frequently
                            "bearers". An example is GAZI (= GA2xPA) or GAZI2 (= GA2xSUM) (where PA =
                            si29 and SUM = si3). Sumerian gazi corresponds to Akkadian kasû and the
                            word is probably a loan in both Sumerian and Akkadian since it refers to a
                            kind of condiment or spice. On the other hand, BAD3 ('wall') is simply
                            EZENxBAD and the phonetic value is provided solely by the inscribed BAD
                            sign and the EZEN part contributes nothing except to carry the BAD sign.

                            As far as I know (as I say, I don't have DeFrancis here), Chinese signs
                            corresponding to all these types are known, but the fact that the Sumerian
                            signs with explicit phonetic content are much rarer than the Chinese may
                            be explained by another factor, which brings me to the next point:

                            On Sat, 5 Aug 2006, Peter T. Daniels wrote:

                            ********
                            The _only_ typological difference between Chinese and Sumerian is that
                            the combination of radical and phonetic was fused into a single item in
                            Chinese -- the characters -- while in Sumerian, they remained separate
                            (thus the thousands of Chinese characters vs. the several hundred in
                            cuneiform).
                            ********

                            This, of course, is simply false. As can be from the discussion above, or
                            from a knowledge of the Sumerian script, there are numerous examples in
                            the Sumerian script where "radical" and "phonetic" were fused into a
                            single sign. The factor that accounts for the difference is the fact that
                            sometime fairly early on the Sumerian signary was closed. This meant that
                            after this point no new signs could be added to the inventory and blocked
                            the fusion of existing signs into a new sign. In logography, new signs are
                            needed for new words. These may be new coinings, but most commonly,
                            foreign names and loan words that must be expressed in writing. Since no
                            new signs can be added to the signary, such words must be written
                            syllabically (phonetically) or with "word pictures". The former really
                            needs no example since it is found passim. The latter is illustrated with
                            the writing of the Sumerian word for 'horse'. The horse came into
                            Mesopotamia long after the cuneiform signary was closed. The Sumerian
                            word for 'horse' is sisi (or zizi, since Sumerian did not have a
                            voiced/voiceless distinction it's hard to tell). Since no new sign could
                            be created for it, it was written either syllabically (AN$E.zi.zi or
                            simply zi.zi) or with a "word picture" (AN$E.KUR or AN$E.KUR.RA; "equid of
                            the mountains" or "foreign equid). As the examples of NITAxKUR, SAL+KUR,
                            and GUDxKUR given above show, had the word for 'horse' come into Sumerian
                            before the signary was closed, the most likely development would have been
                            *AN$ExKUR --> SISI 'horse'.

                            So the thing that sent the development of Sumerian script on a divergent
                            path from the development of Chinese script was the closing of the
                            Sumerian signary which prevented the fusion of existing signs into new
                            ones. Sumerians could coin new words, but not new signs.

                            Peter describes the situation in Sumerian after the closing of the
                            signary, but not before. If Chinese writing developed by "stimulus" from
                            Sumerian, then the closing of the Sumerian signary, whenever that may have
                            been precisely, would seem to be a likely terminus ante quem for the
                            stimulus.


                            Bob Whiting
                            whiting@...
                          • Tomas Marik
                            Yushu Gong, Studien zur Bildung und Entwicklung der Keilschriftzeichen, Hamburg 1993 [= Schriftenreihe Antiquates 7] offers actually a detailed comparison
                            Message 13 of 27 , Aug 6, 2006
                              Yushu Gong, Studien zur Bildung und Entwicklung der Keilschriftzeichen,
                              Hamburg 1993 [= Schriftenreihe Antiquates 7] offers actually a detailed comparison between Archaic Cuneiform and the script of Chinese bone inscriptions.

                              Tomas Marik
                              tomas.marik@...
                            • Peter T. Daniels
                              Not, surely, for suggesting any connection between them? They re 2000 years apart. -- Peter T. Daniels grammatim@verizon.net ... From: Tomas Marik
                              Message 14 of 27 , Aug 6, 2006
                                Not, surely, for suggesting any connection between them? They're 2000 years apart.

                                --
                                Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...



                                ----- Original Message ----
                                From: Tomas Marik <tomas.marik@...>
                                To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                Sent: Sunday, August 6, 2006 6:40:26 AM
                                Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing Re: [ANE-2] Cherubim Origins


                                Yushu Gong, Studien zur Bildung und Entwicklung der Keilschriftzeichen,
                                Hamburg 1993 [= Schriftenreihe Antiquates 7] offers actually a detailed comparison between Archaic Cuneiform and the script of Chinese bone inscriptions.

                                Tomas Marik
                                tomas.marik@...









                                Yahoo! Groups Links




                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Peter T. Daniels
                                ... From: Robert M Whiting To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com Sent: Sunday, August 6, 2006 6:06:49 AM Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing Re:
                                Message 15 of 27 , Aug 6, 2006
                                  ----- Original Message ----
                                  From: Robert M Whiting <whiting@...>
                                  To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                  Sent: Sunday, August 6, 2006 6:06:49 AM
                                  Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing Re: [ANE-2] Cherubim Origins


                                  On Sat, 5 Aug 2006, E Bruce Brooks wrote:

                                  > BRUCE: The typical Chinese character is made up of two elements, one
                                  > conventionally called the "radical" in the belief that it represents the
                                  > root meaning, and the other conventionally called the "phonetic." Best
                                  > current thinking is that the "radical" is what at least some Near
                                  > Easternists call the "determinative" or semantic-area designator, and the
                                  > "phonetic" carries not only the sound, but [as in all languages] the meaning
                                  > associated with the sound. It would be nice to know exactly what NE script
                                  > is closest to this system, given that the "phonetic" part is pictorial
                                  > rather than alphabetic. Peter implies Sumerian. Does that find general
                                  > agreement on this list?

                                  BOB: A certain amount of simplification here, since if I remember DeFrancis
                                  correctly (not having it here in front of me), this covers only one
                                  category (although perhaps the largest and hence the "typical" group) of
                                  Chinese signs.

                                  As I remember it, all the sign types identified by DeFrancis are found in
                                  the Sumerian script, if not necessarily in the same proportions.
                                  ********
                                  PTD: Thank you for this exposition. (How many times do I have to ask you to write down everything you know about cuneiform in a single monograph? You know more about certain things than anyone else alive. Or are we supposed to gather your Scripta Minora after you're gone, to piece an account together?) You don't need to refer to DeFrancis for the six categories -- they're very traditional and can be found in just about any account of Chinese writing, e.g. WWS p. 197.
                                  ********
                                  <...>
                                  BOB: Finally, there are Sumerian signs that are more or less completely
                                  phonetic. Such signs usually involve a "bearer" sign (which you might
                                  consider as corresponding to a "radical") which does not enter into the
                                  ********
                                  PTD: They're not really parallel to anything in Chinese, where both components always contribute something to the reading of the character, and there don't seem to be any phonetic components that never at all function as a separate character.
                                  ********
                                  BOB: equation but merely provides a platform for the "phonetic" which provides
                                  the entire determination of the semantic content of the sign (although
                                  sometimes the "bearer" contributes part of the phonetic content). Common
                                  bearer signs typically have open space where the "phonetic" can be
                                  inscribed. Signs like KA, GA2, EZEN, URU and LAGAB are frequently
                                  "bearers". An example is GAZI (= GA2xPA) or GAZI2 (= GA2xSUM) (where PA =
                                  si29 and SUM = si3). Sumerian gazi corresponds to Akkadian kasû and the
                                  word is probably a loan in both Sumerian and Akkadian since it refers to a
                                  kind of condiment or spice. On the other hand, BAD3 ('wall') is simply
                                  EZENxBAD and the phonetic value is provided solely by the inscribed BAD
                                  sign and the EZEN part contributes nothing except to carry the BAD sign.

                                  As far as I know (as I say, I don't have DeFrancis here), Chinese signs
                                  corresponding to all these types are known, but the fact that the Sumerian
                                  signs with explicit phonetic content are much rarer than the Chinese may
                                  be explained by another factor, which brings me to the next point:

                                  On Sat, 5 Aug 2006, Peter T. Daniels wrote:

                                  ********
                                  The _only_ typological difference between Chinese and Sumerian is that
                                  the combination of radical and phonetic was fused into a single item in
                                  Chinese -- the characters -- while in Sumerian, they remained separate
                                  (thus the thousands of Chinese characters vs. the several hundred in
                                  cuneiform).
                                  ********

                                  BOB: This, of course, is simply false. As can be from the discussion above, or
                                  from a knowledge of the Sumerian script, there are numerous examples in
                                  ********
                                  PTD: You have an odd definition of "simply false"! It's one of your favorite phrases ... but it rules out productive generalization.

                                  Define "numerous." There is also a small number of Chinese characters that are semantic-only, and an even smaller number that really are semantic+semantic (despite folk etymologies that have obscured their semantic+phonetic background, see e.g. David Prager Branner in the new ed. of _Encyclopedia of Lang & Ling_ [ed. Brown, Elsevier 2006]). That doesn't nullify the fact that the vast majority of Chinese characters are semantic+phonetic.
                                  ********
                                  BOB: the Sumerian script where "radical" and "phonetic" were fused into a
                                  single sign. The factor that accounts for the difference is the fact that
                                  sometime fairly early on the Sumerian signary was closed. This meant that
                                  after this point no new signs could be added to the inventory and blocked
                                  the fusion of existing signs into a new sign. In logography, new signs are
                                  needed for new words. These may be new coinings, but most commonly,
                                  foreign names and loan words that must be expressed in writing. Since no
                                  new signs can be added to the signary, such words must be written
                                  syllabically (phonetically) or with "word pictures". The former really
                                  needs no example since it is found passim. The latter is illustrated with
                                  the writing of the Sumerian word for 'horse'. The horse came into
                                  Mesopotamia long after the cuneiform signary was closed. The Sumerian
                                  word for 'horse' is sisi (or zizi, since Sumerian did not have a
                                  voiced/voiceless distinction it's hard to tell). Since no new sign could
                                  be created for it, it was written either syllabically (AN$E.zi.zi or
                                  simply zi.zi) or with a "word picture" (AN$E.KUR or AN$E.KUR.RA; "equid of
                                  the mountains" or "foreign equid). As the examples of NITAxKUR, SAL+KUR,
                                  and GUDxKUR given above show, had the word for 'horse' come into Sumerian
                                  before the signary was closed, the most likely development would have been
                                  *AN$ExKUR --> SISI 'horse'.

                                  So the thing that sent the development of Sumerian script on a divergent
                                  path from the development of Chinese script was the closing of the
                                  Sumerian signary which prevented the fusion of existing signs into new
                                  ones. Sumerians could coin new words, but not new signs.

                                  Peter describes the situation in Sumerian after the closing of the
                                  signary, but not before. If Chinese writing developed by "stimulus" from
                                  Sumerian, then the closing of the Sumerian signary, whenever that may have
                                  been precisely, would seem to be a likely terminus ante quem for the
                                  stimulus.
                                  ********
                                  PTD: If you can't suggest when this closing happened, the suggestion that it occurred isn't of much help for any such "stimulus." But surely this closing happened before the mid 3rd mill.? And please don't try to claim that Gelb advocated for this "stimulus" -- his argument for outside influence on Shang China comes down to nothing more than the view held in the 1930s (when most of Gelb 1952 was written) that Shang China was "characterized by so many foreign innovations that many scholars regard it as a ready made imported civilization" (219); and what he very tentatively suggests -- not in the text, but only in the chart (1952 endpapers, 1963 front matter) -- is Proto-Sumerian to Proto-Elamite to "Proto-Indic" (= Indus Valley) to Chinese (involving two unknowns, so any typological similarity between PSum and PChin isn't relevant).


                                  Bob Whiting
                                  whiting@...
                                  --
                                  Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Peter T. Daniels
                                  ... From: E Bruce Brooks To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com Sent: Sunday, August 6, 2006 3:09:22 AM Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing Re:
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Aug 6, 2006
                                    ----- Original Message ----
                                    From: E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...>
                                    To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                    Sent: Sunday, August 6, 2006 3:09:22 AM
                                    Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing Re: [ANE-2] Cherubim Origins


                                    To: ANE-2
                                    In Response To: Peter Daniels
                                    On: Writing
                                    From: Bruce

                                    Does anyone else have the sense that this discussion is dissipating in small
                                    quibbles? Here are some replies, with the excuse that general principles of
                                    interest may sometimes be involved.
                                    ********
                                    Have you _been_ reading ANE-2 List? It's _made_ of "small quibbles"!
                                    ********
                                    PETER: "Cultures" don't devise scripts, individuals do.

                                    BRUCE: In the absence of a known individual to ascribe a script to, I
                                    suggest that "culture" is a reasonable makeshift designation.
                                    ********
                                    In the presence of a dozen or more known examples of the 19th-20th centuries, I disagree.
                                    ********
                                    PETER [on the inventors of scripts]: (Sometimes they tried doing a
                                    logography, with a different symbol for every word, but they soon, or
                                    eventually, discovered that no memory was adequate for such a scheme.)

                                    BRUCE: In that case the rule that invented scripts are always syllabaries
                                    vanishes. As for logographic memory, in my field we are supposed to be able
                                    to handle 50,000 different signs. What stopped Sequoyah?
                                    ********
                                    A failed attempt is not an "invented script"; it's a failed attempt. The reason Chinese can be said to have 50,000 different signs (the number listed in the largest lists -- does anyone claim to be able to recognize them all?) is that they are _not_ 50,000 different entities, but are combined from somewhere around 1000 different components (the 214 [according to a common standard] radicals, and my "Fenn's Pocket Dictionary" of 1940 lists just under 900 phonetics), a number comparable to the number of English words whose pronunciation can't be determined from their spelling and so must be learned individually (e.g to two too, bomb comb tomb, bear fear [cf. tear]).
                                    ********
                                    PETER: It's misleading to call Chinese "syllabic," precisely because it
                                    isn't a syllabary.

                                    BRUCE: In Chinese, the character corresponds to the syllable. When a word,
                                    such as the famous "butterfly" (hudye), has two syllables, two characters,
                                    not one, are used to write it. A syllabary is where there is only one way of
                                    writing each phonetic syllable in the language; in Chinese, there are *many*
                                    different ways of writing the same phonetic syllable depending on what word
                                    (or word fraction) it represents. The concept "syllabary" seems well
                                    distinguished from "syllabic" in this sense, and I doubt that anyone has
                                    been seriously misled.
                                    ********
                                    It was a comment on your specific formulation, the one you snipped.
                                    ********
                                    PETER: The kana are only diachronically, but not synchronically, related to
                                    the kanji, so it's misleading to suggest that Chinese writing "is used in a
                                    reduced and abbreviated form as a syllabary."

                                    BRUCE: Don't understand the statement about kana/kanji relation. My sense of
                                    the situation is that Chinese characters had acquired abbreviated forms in
                                    the Chinese calligraphic tradition before Japan (presumably some individual
                                    Japanese or two, but don't I don't happen to know their names, so I default
                                    to the next higher level) made contact with them. The Japanese innovation,
                                    never attempted in China either then or since, was to adopt a set of these
                                    short forms, one for each CV syllable in the Japanese of that time (Nara
                                    period), and to write the language with them, abandoning the semantic
                                    distinctions offered by the characters, but gaining whatever advantage
                                    inheres in a more phonetic approach, including a much easier instructional
                                    scenario. Kana did not replace characters in Japan, which were and still are
                                    used alongside them (and some texts continued to be written wholly in
                                    Chinese: the Chinese language, not just the Chinese wordforms).
                                    ********
                                    Was it simply the words "synchronic" and "diachronic" that confused you?
                                    ********

                                    I now try to get to a larger issue. What interests me about the evolutionary
                                    picture here is that the step from characters to kana syllabary units was
                                    not taken as long as the characters remained in China (despite the existence
                                    in China of short written forms); this occurred only when they were
                                    transmitted to Japan; that is, when they crossed a boundary and acquired a
                                    different cultural context.
                                    ********
                                    See my article "On Writing Syllables: Three Episodes of Script Transfer," Studies in the Linguistic Sciences (Urbana) 30 (2000): 73-86 [the King Sejong memorial conference]. I don't use China > Japan as one of my examples of typological change when a script is taken over for a new language; it fits the paradigm.
                                    ********

                                    E Bruce Brooks
                                    Warring States Project
                                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                                    --
                                    Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Tomas Marik
                                    ... It deals with the structure of the signs, there seem to be no comments on this question. Tomas Marik tomas.marik@ff.cuni.cz
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Aug 6, 2006
                                      Peter T. Daniels wrote:

                                      >Not, surely, for suggesting any connection between them? They're 2000 years apart.
                                      >
                                      >
                                      It deals with the structure of the signs, there seem to be no comments on this question.

                                      Tomas Marik
                                      tomas.marik@...
                                    • Peter T. Daniels
                                      See also William Boltz, *The Origin and Early Development of the Chinese Writing System* (American Oriental Series 78, 1994; corrected pbk. reprint 2003),
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Aug 6, 2006
                                        See also William Boltz, *The Origin and Early Development of the Chinese Writing System* (American Oriental Series 78, 1994; corrected pbk. reprint 2003), which offers typological comparisons with Sumerian. NB He says that Jerry Cooper continues to misunderstand his typological notation regarding "S" and "P."

                                        --
                                        Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...



                                        ----- Original Message ----
                                        From: Tomas Marik <tomas.marik@...>
                                        To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                        Sent: Sunday, August 6, 2006 8:18:33 AM
                                        Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing Re: [ANE-2] Cherubim Origins


                                        Peter T. Daniels wrote:

                                        >Not, surely, for suggesting any connection between them? They're 2000 years apart.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        It deals with the structure of the signs, there seem to be no comments on this question.

                                        Tomas Marik
                                        tomas.marik@...

                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • Tomas Marik
                                        BTW, three weeks ago I found a fragment of an inscribed oracle bone among our Old Assyrian Tablets. My colleagues from Sinology were a little bit upset, until
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Aug 6, 2006
                                          BTW, three weeks ago I found a fragment of an inscribed oracle bone
                                          among our Old Assyrian Tablets. My colleagues from Sinology were a
                                          little bit upset, until we found out that the "J" of the siglum is a "U"
                                          and the bone really doesn't belong to 19th/18th century B.C. Kültepe.

                                          Tomas Marik
                                          tomas.marik@...

                                          Peter T. Daniels wrote:

                                          >See also William Boltz, *The Origin and Early Development of the Chinese Writing System* (American Oriental Series 78, 1994; corrected pbk. reprint 2003), which offers typological comparisons with Sumerian. NB He says that Jerry Cooper continues to misunderstand his typological notation regarding "S" and "P."
                                          >
                                          >--
                                          >Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                        • funhistory
                                          ... Back in June we had a thread, Old Shells Suggest Early Human Adornment (beginning @ message #1896). Why is it so easy for the scientific community to
                                          Message 20 of 27 , Aug 6, 2006
                                            > Not, surely, for suggesting any connection between them?
                                            > They're 2000 years apart.
                                            > Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

                                            Back in June we had a thread, "Old Shells Suggest Early Human
                                            Adornment" (beginning @ message #1896). Why is it so easy for the
                                            scientific community to push this human accomplishment back tens of
                                            thousands of years (i.e., the majority of specimens date to 40kya; some
                                            in Africa 75kya; es-Skhul reports allowed for 100-130kya), but a 2k-
                                            year gap between Archaic Cuneiform & the Chinese bone script sounds
                                            absurd? If there are similarities, no matter how obscure, isn't it
                                            possible that the same explanations for the continuity of symbolic
                                            behavior at es-Skhul could apply to a tangible relationship between
                                            scripts in Mesopotamia & China? Isn't it fair to say that our
                                            knowledge of ancient Chinese culture is vague/dim compared to that in
                                            Mesopotamia?

                                            George Michael Grena, II
                                            Redondo Beach, CA
                                          • Peter T. Daniels
                                            ... From: funhistory To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com Sent: Sunday, August 6, 2006 7:16:13 PM Subject: Dating Chinese writing Re: [ANE-2]
                                            Message 21 of 27 , Aug 7, 2006
                                              ----- Original Message ----
                                              From: funhistory <yahoo-ane-2@...>
                                              To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                              Sent: Sunday, August 6, 2006 7:16:13 PM
                                              Subject: Dating Chinese writing Re: [ANE-2] Cherubim Origins


                                              > Not, surely, for suggesting any connection between them?
                                              > They're 2000 years apart.
                                              > Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

                                              Back in June we had a thread, "Old Shells Suggest Early Human
                                              Adornment" (beginning @ message #1896). Why is it so easy for the
                                              scientific community to push this human accomplishment back tens of
                                              thousands of years (i.e., the majority of specimens date to 40kya; some
                                              in Africa 75kya; es-Skhul reports allowed for 100-130kya), but a 2k-
                                              year gap between Archaic Cuneiform & the Chinese bone script sounds
                                              absurd? If there are similarities, no matter how obscure, isn't it
                                              possible that the same explanations for the continuity of symbolic
                                              behavior at es-Skhul could apply to a tangible relationship between
                                              scripts in Mesopotamia & China? Isn't it fair to say that our
                                              knowledge of ancient Chinese culture is vague/dim compared to that in
                                              Mesopotamia?

                                              ********
                                              No, and no.

                                              What is the "same explanation"?

                                              What's the similarity between using naturally occurring pretty things as ornament, and writing?

                                              Have you looked at what archeology knows of Shang (and earlier) China?
                                              --
                                              Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

                                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            • Robert M Whiting
                                              ... What I know is dwarfed by what I don t know. Besides, I see no point in writing down things that should be obvious to anyone who has studied the script in
                                              Message 22 of 27 , Aug 7, 2006
                                                On Sun, 6 Aug 2006, Peter T. Daniels wrote:

                                                > ----- Original Message ----
                                                > From: Robert M Whiting <whiting@...>
                                                > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                                > Sent: Sunday, August 6, 2006 6:06:49 AM
                                                > Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing Re: [ANE-2] Cherubim Origins
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > On Sat, 5 Aug 2006, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
                                                >
                                                > > BRUCE: The typical Chinese character is made up of two elements, one
                                                > > conventionally called the "radical" in the belief that it represents
                                                > > the root meaning, and the other conventionally called the "phonetic."
                                                > > Best current thinking is that the "radical" is what at least some Near
                                                > > Easternists call the "determinative" or semantic-area designator, and
                                                > > the "phonetic" carries not only the sound, but [as in all languages]
                                                > > the meaning associated with the sound. It would be nice to know
                                                > > exactly what NE script is closest to this system, given that the
                                                > > "phonetic" part is pictorial rather than alphabetic. Peter implies
                                                > > Sumerian. Does that find general agreement on this list?
                                                >
                                                > BOB: A certain amount of simplification here, since if I remember
                                                > DeFrancis correctly (not having it here in front of me), this covers
                                                > only one category (although perhaps the largest and hence the "typical"
                                                > group) of Chinese signs.
                                                >
                                                > As I remember it, all the sign types identified by DeFrancis are found in
                                                > the Sumerian script, if not necessarily in the same proportions.
                                                > ********
                                                > PTD: Thank you for this exposition. (How many times do I have to ask you
                                                > to write down everything you know about cuneiform in a single monograph?
                                                > You know more about certain things than anyone else alive. Or are we
                                                > supposed to gather your Scripta Minora after you're gone, to piece an
                                                > account together?)

                                                What I know is dwarfed by what I don't know. Besides, I see no point in
                                                writing down things that should be obvious to anyone who has studied the
                                                script in contrast to reading one or more books about the script.

                                                > You don't need to refer to DeFrancis for the six categories -- they're
                                                > very traditional and can be found in just about any account of Chinese
                                                > writing, e.g. WWS p. 197.

                                                Okay, using the categories on p. 197 of WWS, we have the following
                                                (Chinese script and transcription omitted):

                                                1) 'indicating the matter': These are indexical signs that suggest
                                                the "semantic" through some association (e.g., Sum. DUMU, A, etc.).

                                                2) 'representing the form': These are iconic representations (e.g.,
                                                SAG, UTU, etc.).

                                                3) 'forming the sound': These are compounds of the KA + /me/ = EME
                                                type.

                                                4) 'conjoining the sense': These are compounds of the KAxA = NAG2
                                                ('mouth' + 'water = drink) type (what I call "word pictures").
                                                According to WWS, in Chinese, "In origin actual characters are never
                                                formed this way; this is an artificial, retrospective category." In
                                                Sumerian, however, signs were often formed this way, at least until
                                                the signary was closed.

                                                5) 'redirected characters': A usage category, not a category of
                                                character formation typology; Boltz seems unsure what this category
                                                reflects, and I confess that I'm not entirely sure either. In any
                                                case, I can't think of a Sumerian parallel. I would think that the
                                                parallel should be the use of a sign for associated words in other
                                                semantic domains (e.g., the use of the sign for 'sun' to write the
                                                words for 'day', 'time', 'bright', 'shining', 'hot', 'dry', etc., but
                                                this is not clear from what Boltz says.

                                                6) 'borrowed characters': Another usage cagegoy. This is rebus
                                                writing, where a sign is used to write a word homophonous with the
                                                word the sign usually represents (e.g., [famously] Sum. TI 'arrow'
                                                --> TI 'life').

                                                So according to Boltz, Chinese did not create signs of the "semantic" +
                                                "semantic" type but only of the unitary "semantic" and "semantic" +
                                                "phonetic" types. Since he does not mention it, presumaby it did not
                                                create signs of the "phonetic" + "phonetic" or "blank" + "phonetic"
                                                either.

                                                Sumerian, on the other hand created signs of all these types (before the
                                                signary was closed, of course).

                                                > ********
                                                > <...>
                                                > BOB: Finally, there are Sumerian signs that are more or less completely
                                                > phonetic. Such signs usually involve a "bearer" sign (which you might
                                                > consider as corresponding to a "radical") which does not enter into the
                                                > ********
                                                > PTD: They're not really parallel to anything in Chinese, where both
                                                > components always contribute something to the reading of the character,

                                                Sumerian even created polysyllabic combinations by ligaturing two
                                                individual signs, interestingly, always, to my knowledge, in reverse
                                                order: ZU+AB --> ABZU; GAL+LU2 --> LUGAL; GAL+U$UM --> U$UMGAL. These,
                                                however, are quite rare.

                                                > and there don't seem to be any phonetic components that never at all
                                                > function as a separate character.

                                                The same is true of Sumerian. This would seem to be logical since the
                                                phonetic value of a sign is only determined by its use as a character.
                                                Sumerian does have some values of some signs that are only phonetic (i.e.,
                                                there is no logographically represented word with that value represented
                                                by that sign. Sumerian referred to such values as KA.KA-si-ga.

                                                > ********
                                                > BOB: equation but merely provides a platform for the "phonetic" which provides
                                                > the entire determination of the semantic content of the sign (although
                                                > sometimes the "bearer" contributes part of the phonetic content). Common
                                                > bearer signs typically have open space where the "phonetic" can be
                                                > inscribed. Signs like KA, GA2, EZEN, URU and LAGAB are frequently
                                                > "bearers". An example is GAZI (= GA2xPA) or GAZI2 (= GA2xSUM) (where PA =
                                                > si29 and SUM = si3). Sumerian gazi corresponds to Akkadian kasû and the
                                                > word is probably a loan in both Sumerian and Akkadian since it refers to a
                                                > kind of condiment or spice. On the other hand, BAD3 ('wall') is simply
                                                > EZENxBAD and the phonetic value is provided solely by the inscribed BAD
                                                > sign and the EZEN part contributes nothing except to carry the BAD sign.
                                                >
                                                > As far as I know (as I say, I don't have DeFrancis here), Chinese signs
                                                > corresponding to all these types are known, but the fact that the Sumerian
                                                > signs with explicit phonetic content are much rarer than the Chinese may
                                                > be explained by another factor, which brings me to the next point:
                                                >
                                                > On Sat, 5 Aug 2006, Peter T. Daniels wrote:
                                                >
                                                > ********
                                                > The _only_ typological difference between Chinese and Sumerian is that
                                                > the combination of radical and phonetic was fused into a single item in
                                                > Chinese -- the characters -- while in Sumerian, they remained separate
                                                > (thus the thousands of Chinese characters vs. the several hundred in
                                                > cuneiform).
                                                > ********
                                                >
                                                > BOB: This, of course, is simply false. As can be from the discussion
                                                > above, or from a knowledge of the Sumerian script, there are numerous
                                                > examples in
                                                > ********
                                                > PTD: You have an odd definition of "simply false"! It's one of your
                                                > favorite phrases ...

                                                Actually, it is not one of one of my favorite phrases. It is just, sadly,
                                                often applicable. I am much fonder of "poppycock and balderdash", but I
                                                only use that for arrant nonsense. What you have said is not arrant
                                                nonsense. With some modification it could be made into a valid statement.
                                                But as it is stated, it is simply false. There are a large number of
                                                fused signs in Sumerian. There are just not any from after the signary
                                                was closed. So it's not a typological difference, it is a procedural
                                                difference. What caused the limited number of signs in Sumerian cuneiform
                                                is not the typology of sign creation, but the fact that the signary was
                                                closed forcing new combinations to be written as separate signs (generally
                                                known as diri-type logograms).

                                                > but it rules out productive generalization.

                                                I don't consider a generalization that is false over much of its range to
                                                be productive.

                                                > Define "numerous."

                                                Possibly as many as several hundred. To get an idea, look at a realy good
                                                sign list (I recomment Deimel, $L part I; Labat leaves too much out and
                                                Borger lacks the paleography). Look at the common "bearer" signs (KA,
                                                URU, EZEN, LAGAB, GA2 [PISAN], NINDA2 etc.) and see how many combinations
                                                there are. In a quick check today I counted over 40 combinations with KA
                                                and over 60 with GA2 as "bearer". All of these signs are not of equal
                                                evidentiary value, of course; some are only attested in archaic texts and
                                                their meanings and readings are unknown; some are attested from late sign
                                                lists and may reflect "scholarly reinterpretation over the millennnia.
                                                But there are sufficient transparent examples of "semantic" + "semantic",
                                                "semantic" + "phonetic" and "blank/bearer" + "phonetic" combinations to
                                                show that the technique was productive before the signary was closed.

                                                > There is also a small number of Chinese characters that are
                                                > semantic-only, and an even smaller number that really are
                                                > semantic+semantic (despite folk etymologies that have obscured their
                                                > semantic+phonetic background, see e.g. David Prager Branner in the new
                                                > ed. of _Encyclopedia of Lang & Ling_ [ed. Brown, Elsevier 2006]).

                                                That would be interesting since Boltz seems to be of the opinion (as
                                                described above under 4) that semantic+semantic was not used for character
                                                creation but is a "learned" category of reflective analysis.

                                                > That doesn't nullify the fact that the vast majority of Chinese
                                                > characters are semantic+phonetic.

                                                I don't doubt it. And if Nisaba or whoever was in charge of the Sumerian
                                                script hadn't put a stop to it, I don't doubt that a large part of the
                                                Sumerian signary would be too. I have always maintained that it is
                                                extremely fortunate that knowledge of the Chinese script was never lost,
                                                because the only way to decipher a script is to be able to break into the
                                                phonetic code and the phonetic part of the Chinese characters is so well
                                                hidden that it would have been a real bear to decipher.

                                                > ********
                                                > BOB: the Sumerian script where "radical" and "phonetic" were fused into a
                                                > single sign. The factor that accounts for the difference is the fact that
                                                > sometime fairly early on the Sumerian signary was closed. This meant that
                                                > after this point no new signs could be added to the inventory and blocked
                                                > the fusion of existing signs into a new sign. In logography, new signs are
                                                > needed for new words. These may be new coinings, but most commonly,
                                                > foreign names and loan words that must be expressed in writing. Since no
                                                > new signs can be added to the signary, such words must be written
                                                > syllabically (phonetically) or with "word pictures". The former really
                                                > needs no example since it is found passim. The latter is illustrated with
                                                > the writing of the Sumerian word for 'horse'. The horse came into
                                                > Mesopotamia long after the cuneiform signary was closed. The Sumerian
                                                > word for 'horse' is sisi (or zizi, since Sumerian did not have a
                                                > voiced/voiceless distinction it's hard to tell). Since no new sign could
                                                > be created for it, it was written either syllabically (AN$E.zi.zi or
                                                > simply zi.zi) or with a "word picture" (AN$E.KUR or AN$E.KUR.RA; "equid of
                                                > the mountains" or "foreign equid). As the examples of NITAxKUR, SAL+KUR,
                                                > and GUDxKUR given above show, had the word for 'horse' come into Sumerian
                                                > before the signary was closed, the most likely development would have been
                                                > *AN$ExKUR --> SISI 'horse'.
                                                >
                                                > So the thing that sent the development of Sumerian script on a divergent
                                                > path from the development of Chinese script was the closing of the
                                                > Sumerian signary which prevented the fusion of existing signs into new
                                                > ones. Sumerians could coin new words, but not new signs.
                                                >
                                                > Peter describes the situation in Sumerian after the closing of the
                                                > signary, but not before. If Chinese writing developed by "stimulus" from
                                                > Sumerian, then the closing of the Sumerian signary, whenever that may have
                                                > been precisely, would seem to be a likely terminus ante quem for the
                                                > stimulus.
                                                > ********
                                                > PTD: If you can't suggest when this closing happened, the suggestion
                                                > that it occurred isn't of much help for any such "stimulus." But surely
                                                > this closing happened before the mid 3rd mill.?

                                                I would say so; probably somewhat earlier than that but not more than a
                                                century or two.

                                                > And please don't try to claim that Gelb advocated for this "stimulus" --
                                                > his argument for outside influence on Shang China comes down to nothing
                                                > more than the view held in the 1930s (when most of Gelb 1952 was
                                                > written) that Shang China was "characterized by so many foreign
                                                > innovations that many scholars regard it as a ready made imported
                                                > civilization" (219); and what he very tentatively suggests -- not in the
                                                > text, but only in the chart (1952 endpapers, 1963 front matter) -- is
                                                > Proto-Sumerian to Proto-Elamite to "Proto-Indic" (= Indus Valley) to
                                                > Chinese (involving two unknowns, so any typological similarity between
                                                > PSum and PChin isn't relevant).

                                                Gelb just started with Sumerian and started walking East. The only real
                                                argument for the sequence is the correlation between the time and distance
                                                displacement of the appearance of the script as one moves eastward. The
                                                real problem is lack of evidence because Proto-Elamite and "Proto-Indic"
                                                are undeciphered, the sterotypical "Proto-Indic" inscriptions are problaby
                                                just the tip of an iceberg that was written on perishable materials; and
                                                the earliest Chinese script shows a stage that already reflects what is
                                                likely to be several centuries of development of which we have no record.

                                                Bob Whiting
                                                whiting@...
                                              • Peter T. Daniels
                                                See what I mean? There s stuff here that no one else has written down before. A few comments added below, most content deleted (but carefully saved for future
                                                Message 23 of 27 , Aug 7, 2006
                                                  See what I mean? There's stuff here that no one else has written down before. A few comments added below, most content deleted (but carefully saved for future use).

                                                  --
                                                  Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...



                                                  ----- Original Message ----
                                                  From: Robert M Whiting <whiting@...>
                                                  To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                                  Sent: Monday, August 7, 2006 5:59:49 PM
                                                  Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing Re: [ANE-2] Cherubim Origins


                                                  On Sun, 6 Aug 2006, Peter T. Daniels wrote:

                                                  > ----- Original Message ----
                                                  > From: Robert M Whiting <whiting@...>
                                                  > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                                  > Sent: Sunday, August 6, 2006 6:06:49 AM
                                                  > Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing Re: [ANE-2] Cherubim Origins

                                                  > ********
                                                  > PTD: Thank you for this exposition. (How many times do I have to ask you
                                                  > to write down everything you know about cuneiform in a single monograph?
                                                  > You know more about certain things than anyone else alive. Or are we
                                                  > supposed to gather your Scripta Minora after you're gone, to piece an
                                                  > account together?)

                                                  What I know is dwarfed by what I don't know. Besides, I see no point in
                                                  writing down things that should be obvious to anyone who has studied the
                                                  script in contrast to reading one or more books about the script.
                                                  ********
                                                  Years ago, you told me it came from day-to-day familiarity with the tablets themselves, the human artifacts: a familiarity that few Assyriologists have. Things like knowing the shape of the stylus and how to hold it.
                                                  ********

                                                  4) 'conjoining the sense': These are compounds of the KAxA = NAG2
                                                  ('mouth' + 'water = drink) type (what I call "word pictures").
                                                  According to WWS, in Chinese, "In origin actual characters are never
                                                  formed this way; this is an artificial, retrospective category." In
                                                  Sumerian, however, signs were often formed this way, at least until
                                                  the signary was closed.
                                                  ********
                                                  An exaggeration: even Branner, who is more doctrinaire about this than Boltz, admits that 'forest' represented by <three trees> belongs in this category.
                                                  ********
                                                  5) 'redirected characters': A usage category, not a category of
                                                  character formation typology; Boltz seems unsure what this category
                                                  reflects, and I confess that I'm not entirely sure either. In any
                                                  case, I can't think of a Sumerian parallel. I would think that the
                                                  parallel should be the use of a sign for associated words in other
                                                  semantic domains (e.g., the use of the sign for 'sun' to write the
                                                  words for 'day', 'time', 'bright', 'shining', 'hot', 'dry', etc., but
                                                  this is not clear from what Boltz says.
                                                  ********
                                                  No Sinologist can say what was intended by this category, but it's in the list of categories.
                                                  ********

                                                  To get an idea, look at a realy good
                                                  sign list (I recomment Deimel, $L part I; Labat leaves too much out and
                                                  Borger lacks the paleography).
                                                  ********
                                                  Nearly 35 years ago, when I had my first exposure to cuneiform, they (I don't think my teacher, Michael Rowton, specifically) said not to bother with Deimel, because it was old and outdated and unreliable.
                                                  ********
                                                  I have always maintained that it is
                                                  extremely fortunate that knowledge of the Chinese script was never lost,
                                                  because the only way to decipher a script is to be able to break into the
                                                  phonetic code and the phonetic part of the Chinese characters is so well
                                                  hidden that it would have been a real bear to decipher.
                                                  ********
                                                  Except that the OBI were deciphered _before_ "Archaic" Chinese was reconstructed by Karlgren (and his work improved on by several generations of Sinologists since).
                                                  ********

                                                  > PTD: If you can't suggest when this closing happened, the suggestion
                                                  > that it occurred isn't of much help for any such "stimulus." But surely
                                                  > this closing happened before the mid 3rd mill.?

                                                  I would say so; probably somewhat earlier than that but not more than a
                                                  century or two.
                                                  ********
                                                  Which makes it way too early to be relevant to the origin of Chinese writing, which is where this got started.
                                                  ********
                                                  > And please don't try to claim that Gelb advocated for this "stimulus" --
                                                  > his argument for outside influence on Shang China comes down to nothing
                                                  > more than the view held in the 1930s (when most of Gelb 1952 was
                                                  > written) that Shang China was "characterized by so many foreign
                                                  > innovations that many scholars regard it as a ready made imported
                                                  > civilization" (219); and what he very tentatively suggests -- not in the
                                                  > text, but only in the chart (1952 endpapers, 1963 front matter) -- is
                                                  > Proto-Sumerian to Proto-Elamite to "Proto-Indic" (= Indus Valley) to
                                                  > Chinese (involving two unknowns, so any typological similarity between
                                                  > PSum and PChin isn't relevant).

                                                  Gelb just started with Sumerian and started walking East. The only real
                                                  argument for the sequence is the correlation between the time and distance
                                                  displacement of the appearance of the script as one moves eastward. The
                                                  real problem is lack of evidence because Proto-Elamite and "Proto-Indic"
                                                  are undeciphered, the sterotypical "Proto-Indic" inscriptions are problaby
                                                  just the tip of an iceberg that was written on perishable materials; and
                                                  the earliest Chinese script shows a stage that already reflects what is
                                                  likely to be several centuries of development of which we have no record.
                                                  ********
                                                  I'm glad you said that -- since the claim of Gelb's support on that question is the principal feature of V. H. Mair's review of Henry Rogers's Blackwell textbook on Writing Systems (2005) in the latest issue of Word (56/1) -- my reply to which was accepted for publication yesterday afternoon, so I can now say that what I wrote yesterday morning was based on it.

                                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                • funhistory
                                                  ... Bob s succinct statement reinforces the point I made last week, which Peter disagreed with & apparently misunderstood; namely, it _IS POSSIBLE_ that the
                                                  Message 24 of 27 , Aug 12, 2006
                                                    > No, and no.
                                                    > Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

                                                    > the earliest Chinese script shows a stage that
                                                    > already reflects what is likely to be several
                                                    > centuries of development of which we have no record.
                                                    > Bob Whiting

                                                    Bob's succinct statement reinforces the point I made last week, which
                                                    Peter disagreed with & apparently misunderstood; namely, it _IS
                                                    POSSIBLE_ that the writing system in Mesopotamia was transmitted to
                                                    China, if for no other reason the simple fact that _WE HAVE NO
                                                    RECORD_ of how the earliest Chinese script came into being. As with
                                                    the es-Skhul shells, _WE HAVE NO RECORD_ of where those dozen-or-so
                                                    buried individuals came from or where their descendants went.
                                                    (That's my response to Peter's question, "What is the 'same
                                                    explanation'?")

                                                    Furthermore, Bob's "centuries of development" represent a
                                                    knowledgeable speculation, but nonetheless an assumption. A span of
                                                    20 centuries from the original Mesopotamian connection, though more
                                                    than Bob would probably allow, is not absurd if one's mind is open to
                                                    writing on Bob's "perishable materials" (just as applicable to
                                                    Chinese as Proto-Elamite & Proto-Indic). 20 missing centuries of
                                                    assumed cultural continuity/development are a drop-in-the-bucket
                                                    chronologically when compared to as many as 900 missing centuries at
                                                    es-Skhul! (For the record, I disagree with these proposed dates, but
                                                    that speculation is out-of-bounds for discussion here on ANE-2.)
                                                    Which requires more development, the drilling of holes through
                                                    seashells, or the establishment of a pictographic communication
                                                    system?

                                                    Peter also asked:

                                                    > What's the similarity between using naturally
                                                    > occurring pretty things as ornament, and writing?

                                                    Both are visual symbols that convey meaning. The same way jewelry &
                                                    fancy clothes convey meaning today. T-shirts tell a different story
                                                    than tuxedos.

                                                    George Michael Grena, II
                                                    Redondo Beach, CA
                                                  • Peter T. Daniels
                                                    What does Mr. Grena think writing is? Hint: Conveying meaning doesn t define writing. (I snipped the Velikovsky/von Danikenesque parts about there being no
                                                    Message 25 of 27 , Aug 13, 2006
                                                      What does Mr. Grena think "writing" is?

                                                      Hint: "Conveying meaning" doesn't define writing.

                                                      (I snipped the Velikovsky/von Danikenesque parts about there being no evidence for a connection, therefore there is a connection.)
                                                      --
                                                      Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...



                                                      ----- Original Message ----
                                                      From: funhistory <yahoo-ane-2@...>
                                                      To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                                      Sent: Saturday, August 12, 2006 11:32:20 PM
                                                      Subject: Dating Chinese writing Re: [ANE-2] Cherubim Origins


                                                      Peter also asked:

                                                      > What's the similarity between using naturally
                                                      > occurring pretty things as ornament, and writing?

                                                      Both are visual symbols that convey meaning. The same way jewelry &
                                                      fancy clothes convey meaning today. T-shirts tell a different story
                                                      than tuxedos.

                                                      George Michael Grena, II
                                                      Redondo Beach, CA










                                                      Yahoo! Groups Links




                                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                    • B.E.Colless
                                                      ... This has been an absorbing discussion, and, as one whose main field of study has been cultural interaction between East and West, I am not at all concerned
                                                      Message 26 of 27 , Aug 16, 2006
                                                        > From: "E Bruce Brooks" <brooks@...>
                                                        > Reply-To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                                        > Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2006 17:31:43 -0400
                                                        > To: <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
                                                        > Subject: Re: Dating Chinese writing
                                                        >
                                                        > PETER DANIELS: The origins of Chinese civilization are vastly off-topic for
                                                        > ANE-2 List, . . .
                                                        >
                                                        > [on Chinese writing] I would refer you to the article by Michael
                                                        > Puett in the same Mair volume, on the scholarly pendulum regarding "outside
                                                        > influence" on China in the 2nd millennium. He argues for a middle ground, .
                                                        > . .
                                                        This has been an absorbing discussion, and, as one whose main field of study
                                                        has been cultural interaction between East and West, I am not at all
                                                        concerned about observing "topical" limits when there is a case to be
                                                        considered in this area.

                                                        I hope Bruce is still listening, as there is some ("dodgy") evidence I want
                                                        to bring in to the debate.

                                                        One of my early publications was:

                                                        Dr B.E. Colless, Han and Ta-ch'in: China's ancient relations with the
                                                        West (1. Han relations with western countries; 2. Han designations for
                                                        western countries), Waikato University China Papers, 1, D. Bing, Editor,
                                                        Hamilton, New Zealanad, 1972, 56-66.

                                                        I suggested that Li-chien, Li-kan, and Ta-ch'in were all transcriptions of
                                                        Alexandria (taking note of Karlgren's reconstructions). And there was the
                                                        question whether An-hsi (An-syiek) represented Arsak or Antioch (Parthia or
                                                        Syria), and whether T'iao-chih was Tigris or Antiokhia.

                                                        However, I began by citing some data gleaned from Henry Yule, *Cathay and
                                                        the way thither* (4 vols), revised by Henri Cordier (London 1914) 1, 7-8.
                                                        The excitement of reading all those Hakluyt Society books in the Melbourne
                                                        University library has just returned to me, and it gave me lots of ideas for
                                                        problem-solving articles:

                                                        Journal of Southeast Asian History
                                                        Giovanni de' Marignolli. An Italian Prelate at the Court of the South-East
                                                        Asian Queen of Sheba. 9, 2 (1968) 325-341
                                                        The Ancient History of Singapore. 10, 1 (1969) 1-11

                                                        Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
                                                        Persian Merchants and Missionaries in Medieval Malaya. 42, 2 (1969) 10-47
                                                        Majapahit Revisited. External Evidence on the Geography and Ethnology of
                                                        East Java in the Majapahit Period. 48, 2 (1975) 124-161

                                                        Journal of the Oriental Society of Australia
                                                        Walaing and the Sailendras of Java. 7 (1970) 15-22
                                                        The Ancient Bnam Empire. Fu-nan and Po-nan. 9 (1972-1973) 21-31

                                                        This last one mentions Bnam (Fu-nan, Po-nan), Indochina, which comes into
                                                        the stories I want to recount here.

                                                        A legendary Chinese account of an ancient embassy in the time of Yao (one of
                                                        the Five Sages, I think): envoys of a race called *Yüeh shang shih* arrived
                                                        from the south and presented tribute to the emperor (Yao, I presume).

                                                        This same *Yüeh shang* nation is said to have sent another mission during
                                                        the reign of Ch'eng Wang, in 1110 BCE (let's call it 01111, with a hand of
                                                        four aces).

                                                        Later commentators state that this country could be reached within a year
                                                        (by sea), after passing Biu-nam (Fu-nan, Khmer region, Cambodia) and Lin-yi
                                                        (Champa,southern Vietnam peopled by speakers of a Malayo-Polynesian
                                                        language).

                                                        Yule and Cordier mention the hypothesis of Pauthier that these people (whose
                                                        name signifies "a people with long training robes", like those depicted on
                                                        Assyrian monuments) came from Mesopotamia.

                                                        However, Cordier (p8, n4) dismisses the sweeping generalization of Terrien
                                                        de Lacouperie (1894) "that the Chinese civilization had its origin in
                                                        western Asia and more particularly from Babylonia and Elam".

                                                        But the interesting detail is in the tribute brought to Yao (before the time
                                                        of the Shang Dynasty): a tortoise, which was allegedly one thousand years
                                                        old, and which had an inscription on its shell, in strange characters
                                                        resembling tadpoles.

                                                        Or, we might say, looking like wedges, and thus cuneiform writing.

                                                        Does this story receive a mention in the discussions going on in Sinic
                                                        academia about the origins of the Chinese writing system?

                                                        Brian Colless
                                                        Massey University, New Zealand
                                                      • E Bruce Brooks
                                                        To: ANE-2 In Response To: B E Colless On: E/W Relations and Origins of Chinese Writing From: Bruce BEC: I hope Bruce is still listening, as there is some
                                                        Message 27 of 27 , Aug 17, 2006
                                                          To: ANE-2
                                                          In Response To: B E Colless
                                                          On: E/W Relations and Origins of Chinese Writing
                                                          From: Bruce

                                                          BEC: I hope Bruce is still listening, as there is some ("dodgy") evidence I
                                                          want to bring in to the debate.

                                                          EBB: Sure, always listening. And I guess I should respond to the second
                                                          iteration of this note, within one calendar day. But I don't know what I can
                                                          usefully contribute. I don't specialize in this area, and I have only a
                                                          general sense of the issues involved. I will say what occurs to me, in good
                                                          faith, from that general standpoint.

                                                          First, a context warning: This whole topic is very much constrained at the
                                                          Sinological end, as I tried to indicate in an earlier note. As it happens, I
                                                          received just today an envelope containing some writings (on paper and disk)
                                                          by a colleague who happens to differ from the official Chinese Government
                                                          position on ancient chronology. He was concerned that something might happen
                                                          to him, and he wanted there to be a second copy in existence. My job is to
                                                          maintain custody of that second copy, and if possible secure its
                                                          dissemination. That's the kind of game this is. I doubt that ANE people
                                                          operate under anything like those conditions, but the ambience has to be
                                                          understood as obtaining in Sinitic matters, before scholarly opinions in
                                                          this area, especially recent ones, can be properly and objectively
                                                          evaluated.

                                                          I here try to keep things brief, while being at least minimally responsive.
                                                          More available if anyone should be interested.

                                                          BEC [summarizing a publication of his own from 1972]: I suggested that
                                                          Li-chien, Li-kan, and Ta-ch'in were all transcriptions of Alexandria (taking
                                                          note of Karlgren's reconstructions). And there was the question whether
                                                          An-hsi (An-syiek) represented Arsak or Antioch (Parthia or Syria), and
                                                          whether T'iao-chih was Tigris or Antiokhia.

                                                          EBB: Such are, and have always been, the uncertainties. One problem on the
                                                          Chinese end is that reconstructions of old Chinese have not been done on the
                                                          comparative method, but as backward projections of modern Mandarin, ignoring
                                                          intermediate stages and going directly for the prize: Tang Chinese (famous
                                                          for literature) and Classical Chinese (famous for the classics). Some
                                                          linguists are beginning to take my advice of decades ago and pursue the
                                                          matter in smaller, but also more directly knowable, stages. That work is
                                                          just beginning, and its effects on conjectures about the more remote stages
                                                          of the language are not yet felt. Karlgren has lots of problems (beginning
                                                          with a wrong evaluation of Japanese phonetic evidence for Tang; he missed
                                                          the fact of significant sound change in Japanese over the last thousand
                                                          years, which was discovered by Hashimoto et al only later). In my opinion,
                                                          some of these problems are not yet satisfactorily fixed by later attempts,
                                                          including Li, Starostin, or Baxter-Sagart. Pulleyblank years ago, starting
                                                          from discontent with Karlgren precisely because it ignored transcription
                                                          evidence, and wasn't helpful for the history of China within the larger
                                                          Asia, tried to redo the job. Some of Pulleyblank's insights are undoubtedly
                                                          in the right direction. But of course there is a danger built into
                                                          transcription evidence too: it helps if we know what original name we are
                                                          transcribing, and if we don't know that, there is a danger of circularity.
                                                          And so it goes. In my view, which is not that of one on the front lines of
                                                          this particular advance, the end is not yet in sight. Meanwhile, I find it
                                                          hard to speak with assurance on the phonetic side, meaning that, to me, more
                                                          of the argument is going to rest on the historical side. We can't depend on
                                                          the unsupported sounds (as presently reconstructed) to reliably give us the
                                                          answer by themselves.

                                                          One recent and careful attempt to reassess these West Asian place name
                                                          identifications is by John Hill, who has posted an annotation of the
                                                          relevant chapter of the Hou Han Shu (HHS 88) on the Silk Road Seattle site:

                                                          http://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/texts/hhshu/hou_han_shu.html

                                                          This is the latest thing as far as I know. Comments welcome. I am in touch
                                                          with John, and can pass on any comments to him (for that matter, I think
                                                          there is a mail like at this site).

                                                          BEC: A legendary Chinese account of an ancient embassy in the time of Yao
                                                          (one of the Five Sages, I think): envoys of a race called *Yüeh shang shih*
                                                          arrived from the south and presented tribute to the emperor (Yao, I
                                                          presume).

                                                          EBB: Presumptions are part of the problem. The other part of the problem is
                                                          legends as such. It is too often assumed that legends are in substance true.
                                                          I would suspect that, for the most part, legends are not a way of recording
                                                          facts, but are rather a culture's way of filling an uncomfortable gap in the
                                                          facts, or of replacing an uncomfortable fact by a more comfortable
                                                          concoction. Assuming for the moment that there is some sort of event at the
                                                          core of a given legend, the next question is, what is the date of that
                                                          event? In my experience, not only with Chinese legends or historical
                                                          statements, that date is very likely to be near the time of the writing of
                                                          the legend, and not the time *referred to* by the legend. Of this sort of
                                                          historical retrojection there are thousands of examples. That's the general
                                                          situation. I would need to know the source of this particular legend in
                                                          order to comment further. But if it has its roots in a real contact, that
                                                          contact need not necessarily be early. I think that Wellhausen made this
                                                          point long ago, for the history of Israel. I find that it applies to the
                                                          history of anything whatever. Most ancient texts are not themselves
                                                          antiquarian in nature; they intend to speak to their own time.

                                                          BEC: This same *Yüeh shang* nation is said to have sent another mission
                                                          during the reign of Ch'eng Wang, in 1110 BCE (let's call it 01111, with a
                                                          hand of four aces).

                                                          EBB: I would have to know what text first tells that story. It is, for
                                                          instance, absent in the Shr Ji account of the Jou dynasty, including
                                                          Chvng-wang (SJ 5; that account was written well before 0111, so that I lose
                                                          the chance of referring to a "hand of three aces"). Not knowing the date, I
                                                          can't evaluate it. But I can decode it, and so can anyone; it doesn't take
                                                          some ingenious French anthropologist. Most Chinese myths in this area have
                                                          as their content the message that China rightly rules the entire world, and
                                                          that since from time immemorial it always *has* ruled the entire world. The
                                                          only type of external political or cultural contact which Chinese orthodoxy
                                                          can readily imagine or comfortably internalize is one of complete
                                                          subordination to China. As Macartney and others found to their discomfort.

                                                          BEC: Later commentators state that this country could be reached within a
                                                          year (by sea), after passing Biu-nam (Fu-nan, Khmer region, Cambodia) and
                                                          Lin-yi (Champa,southern Vietnam peopled by speakers of a Malayo-Polynesian
                                                          language).

                                                          EBB: Again, how much later? But on information provided, it looks as though
                                                          some trans-Bnam sea contact of mediaeval times was (a) being rationalized
                                                          into a tribute mission the other way, and then (b) being furnished with a
                                                          wholly invented pedigree, which took the asserted relationship back to the
                                                          time of the (imaginary) Sage Kings.

                                                          BEC: . . . However, Cordier (p8, n4) dismisses the sweeping generalization
                                                          of Terrien de Lacouperie (1894) "that the Chinese civilization had its
                                                          origin in western Asia and more particularly from Babylonia and Elam".

                                                          EBB: It seems to me doubtful that a theory of wholesale cultural
                                                          transplantation from Mesopotamia to China can work (the Ten Lost Tribes
                                                          theory is only one of its variants). Doubtful a priori. Chinese civilization
                                                          also has fairly clear East Asian connections. But that China has from time
                                                          to time received significant infusions of ideas and techniques (in some
                                                          cases, along with a few termina technica in IE languages; I earlier
                                                          mentioned "horse") seems much more likely, and at minimum to be rationally
                                                          discussible.

                                                          Though pursuing that possibility won't get you anywhere either with the guys
                                                          in Peking or with Colin Renfrew, and both these facts have considerable
                                                          inhibiting force on the question itself. This situation in effect relegates
                                                          the topic to the fringe, where less scientific modes of discourse easily
                                                          come to obtain. It needs to be discussed, not at the fringe, but by people
                                                          in the center, with methodological rigor and with a linguistic conscience.
                                                          Maybe that can take place in the 22nd century; the present one seems to be
                                                          pretty much shot for this and other purposes.

                                                          BEC: But the interesting detail is in the tribute brought to Yao (before the
                                                          time of the Shang Dynasty): a tortoise, which was allegedly one thousand
                                                          years old, and which had an inscription on its shell, in strange characters
                                                          resembling tadpoles. / Or, we might say, looking like wedges, and thus
                                                          cuneiform writing.

                                                          EBB: Whatever the age and probity of this account, and I am dubious on both
                                                          scores, I don't think we can get from tadpoles to wedges. Two points: (1) It
                                                          was conjectured fairly early (by the Chinese) that some ancient worthy was
                                                          inspired to invent writing from seeing the marks on the shell of a turtle.
                                                          Whether that implies some knowledge of oracle bone writing (writing incised
                                                          into turtle plastrons, among other bone types) I don't know, though it is
                                                          imaginable. But in any case, as far as the actual origin of writing goes,
                                                          this aetiology looks like a free invention. (2) Some ancient writing does
                                                          look very like tadpoles. Those used to ordinary Chinese writing of the late
                                                          pre-Imperial period should, with that visual background, then take a look at
                                                          the inscription on a sword once belonging to a King of Wu (a non-Sinitic
                                                          area). The shapes of the latter, especially as viewed in that context, are
                                                          remarkably tadpole-like. Knowledge of such script forms (obtained from an
                                                          artifact or two then still above ground) plus the fact that these
                                                          inscriptions could not be read, could easily have given rise to the idea
                                                          that tadpole writing is more ancient than the other kind.

                                                          That's about as far as I get at this moment.

                                                          Best wishes,

                                                          Bruce

                                                          E Bruce Brooks
                                                          Warring States Project
                                                          University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                                                          [To be fair, I should add that another nature source for writing given in
                                                          the Chinese apocrypha is bird tracks. If we are aiming at wedges, bird
                                                          tracks may be a graphically easier place to start].
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