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[orthodox-synod] Re: a myth...Chinese ships

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  • Robert Miller
    ... trade ... *** Fr Andrew, you are one of those compulsive readers who could no more stop reading everything within eyeshot than you could stop drinking
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 4, 1999
      ----------
      > From: LJames6034@...
      > To: orthodox-synod@egroups.com
      > Subject: [orthodox-synod] Re: a myth...Chinese ships
      > Date: Monday, October 04, 1999 6:24 AM
      >
      > Peter,
      >
      > I recently read about a famous Chinese admiral whose ships plied the
      trade
      >
      > Maybe I should not read so much? Or, at least I shouldn't read such
      > diverse things.

      *** Fr Andrew, you are one of those compulsive readers who
      could no more stop reading everything within eyeshot
      than you could stop drinking water.

      It is difficult to remember where one found those things.
      > (those persons) were here, before Columbus.
      >
      > The one thing we know for certain is: The Book of Mormon is a 19th
      century
      > novel. However many Jews came to this hemisphere, they had nothing to
      do
      > with the alleged golden tablets, which Joseph Smith said he translated by

      > looking at them through a stone.

      *** Actually, according to one Mormon friend, (and I've had
      three, actually) Joseph Smith read the 'alleged Golden Tablets'
      through mystical spectacles called the Urim and Thummim.
      But eventually he lost them, and could no longer read the
      Golden Tablets. So I was told by Mormon Bishop. Now if you
      want to go find your own Mormon Bishop, check him out
      against what I just told you, and then we can compare notes!
      >
      > There are myths and then there are outright lies! Joseph Smith was once

      > convicted of fraud, by reason of claiming to be able to look through a
      stone.
      > Sounds familiar to me.

      *** Well, the first guy never stands a chance. I've known
      Orthodox monks who claim to speak with the Mother of God
      every day about the Church. Now, where do we go with this
      subthread? Delete, you say? Probably a good idea.
      >
      > Father Andrew


      Joseph Miller
      >
      > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      >
      > eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod
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      >
    • Mark & Janet Lardas + family
      ... remembered ... Chinese ... I can provide no light on Joseph Smith and his tablets of gold, but on Chinese explorers and ships, I may be able to offer some
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 4, 1999
        At 09:24 AM 10/4/1999 EDT, Father Andrew wrote:
        >
        >I recently read about a famous Chinese admiral whose ships plied the trade
        >routes as far west as Arabia, as far East as the West Coast of the USA. Now
        >then, the question is: Where did I read that?!
        >
        >Some years ago, for a Chinese friend, I did some research on the Chinese
        >imperial navy. The "five times the size of Columbus's ships" is a
        remembered
        >quote from that research.
        >
        >Maybe I should not read so much? Or, at least I shouldn't read such
        >diverse things. It is difficult to remember where one found those things.
        >However, I shall make an effort, just for you, to find out about the
        Chinese
        >and our West Coast.
        >
        I can provide no light on Joseph Smith and his tablets of gold, but on
        Chinese explorers and ships, I may be able to offer some insight.

        It sounds like what you remember is an account of the Chinese "Star Raft"
        expeditions, which climaxed in the first half of the 15th century, never to
        be resumed. I do not know whether they reached the North American coast,
        however, they indisputably did reach the east coast of Africa -- modern
        Kenya and Tanzania. There are some indications that they knew of the Cape
        of Good Hope, although nothing really definate.

        The final expeditions were led by a Chinese admiral Zheng He (or Cheng Ho).
        They consisted of thousands of ships (all sizes) and tens of thousands of
        sailors, soldiers, and officials. They were not so much voyages of
        exploration and exploitation in the Iberian sense -- since the Chinese
        viewed themselves as the center of the world, the only civilized race, and
        the only nation producing goods of value. (Who does that sound like today
        -- other than the present-day Chinese, that is?) Rather, they were voyages
        of elightenment, where the savages were going to be privileged by the very
        presence of representatives of the Celestial Kingdom, and receive truth and
        enlightenment thereby. (That sounds familiar, even today, also.)

        The Chinese had at that time (12th through 15th centuries) some of the
        largest and finest oceangoing craft in the world. Their junks were,
        indeed, up to five times larger than Columbus's craft (which were
        cockleshells -- I have built models of them), but about on par with large
        18th century European warships -- first and second rate ships-of-the-line.
        (Not terribly surprising, as there are physical limitatations on how big
        you can build a wood-only ship.) They were also more advanced than
        contemporary 12th to 15th century European ships -- having features such as
        centerboard rudders, magnetic compasses, watertight compartments, and
        motion dampers.

        The expeditions were discussed in the first chapters of Philip Snow's _The
        Star Raft_ (1988, George Weidenfield and Nicholson, Ltd., London, UK, ISBN
        0 297 79081 1) and were fictionally presented in Paul King's nautical
        swashbucklers _The Dreamers_ and _The Voyagers._ which were out in 2"-thick
        mass-market paperbacks in the early 1990s.

        They have also been extensively discussed in the Maritime History
        Listserver. Those interested can investigate the backfiles of that
        listserver at:

        http://www.marmus.ca/marmus/marhst.html

        Do keyword searches on "Star Raft," "Cheng Ho," "Junks," and "Chinese
        Expeditions."

        It really happened -- which is proof of two old aphorisms: (1) Truth is
        stranger than fiction, and (2) The most convincing lie is the truth told
        unconvincingly.

        Menas

        Mark & Janet Lardas + family
        Mlardas@...
        Palestine, TX
      • LJames6034@aol.com
        My favorite example of a discussion with Mormons is this: One evening, I encountered two Mormon elders, about 20 years of age. The one who was talking
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 4, 1999
          My favorite example of a discussion with Mormons is this:

          One evening, I encountered two Mormon "elders," about 20 years of age. The
          one who was talking asked: "Have you heard of the Book of Mormon?"

          I answered: "Not only have I heard of it, I have read it."

          "What did you think?" he asked.

          "I think it is a 19th century novel."

          "Oh," said the youthful elder, "we think it is the Word of God."

          "I'm sure you do," I answered, "and, if it is the Word of God, it is without
          error, right?"

          He noded his head, as he said: "Of course."

          "Well, then," I answered, "could you please explain to me why the Book of
          Mormon says Jesus was born in Jerusalem? Did God make a mistake?"

          One would have thought that a fatal error. Not so. He had a ready response.


          "We perceive that higher education has ruined your ability to believe," the
          boy answered.

          "Son," I said, "we are not discussing my education. We are discussing your
          book, which you say is the Word of God and without error. I have just
          pointed out an error. What does this teach us?"

          It taught us nothing. There are none so blind as those who will NOT see.

          I did not even point out to him that, if Joseph Smith translated those Golden
          Tablets, he brought into the Book of Mormon (by some mysterious process) some
          of the same translation mistakes to be found in the King James Version of the
          Bible.

          Father Andrew
        • LJames6034@aol.com
          Zheng He was the admiral. I remember that spelling. However, as I recall, the touching base with the American west coast was earlier than Zheng He. And, you
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 4, 1999
            Zheng He was the admiral. I remember that spelling.

            However, as I recall, the touching base with the American west coast was
            earlier than Zheng He.

            And, you are correct. After him, the empire simply stopped building ships,
            and dismantled the navy.

            Amazing. But, China was the centre of the world. Why bother with anything
            else?

            ALJJ+
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