The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

Postby admin » Thu Dec 31, 2020 11:26 pm

Part 4 of 4

In February 1771, Coeurdoux at last responded with a gentle criticism of Abbe Mignot's idealization of Indian religion and his misunderstanding of the lingam cult and wrote that Abbe Mignot might profit from "following in the footsteps of another scholar and spending a few years in India" while promising, should he do that, to show him "the unity of God and the great event of the deluge in the Indian books" (Anquetil-Duperron 1808:49.68[- 82). He also responded to Anquetil-Duperron's central question about the Vedas:

I must now respond to your questions about the Vedams. We name them in Telugu and in the Samscroutane script of this region, Sama vedam, Ezour vedam, Roug vedam, Adharvana vedam. Several people say that this last Vedam is lost; I believe nothing of it. It is, one is assured, a book of magic; and this sort of books least of all gets lost in a heathen country where there are people everywhere who play themselves up as magicians. I saw a book of magic secrets that began with the first lines of the Adharvana vedam; but there was nothing more ... There are Brahmes of every Vedam, and each knows of which Vedam he is. Does it seem possible that those of the fourth could have permitted theirs to get lost? (pp. 684-85)

But now Coeurdoux added two remarks that not only confounded Anquetil- Duperron but puzzled many readers, including this writer:

I will add here what I have heard Father Calmette-who knew the samscroutam [Sanskrit] and had much studied the books of Indian science -- utter more than once: that the true Vedam [le vrai Vedam] is of such an ancient samscroutam that it is almost unintelligible, and that what one cites is of the Vedantam, that is, of introductions and commentaries that were made of the Vedam. In effect, in a famous prayer named gai'tri, one understands only the word savitourou, the sun. (p. 685)

But it is the remark that immediately follows that led to accusations of lies and deception. Since this is a crucial passage, I quote also its original French:

D'un autre cote, le P. Mosac, qui n'a pas moins etudie la langue Samscroutane, pretend avoir decouvert le vrai Vedam. II Ie fait posterieur a la gentilite Indienne, dont il est la refutation detaillee. Cet ouvrage a pour auteur un vrai philosophe ennemi du polytheisme, tel que toute la terre en eut long-temps apres le deluge. Ce vaste ouvrage a ete traduit par le P. Mosac; et quel tresor pour vous, s'il vouloit vous le communiquer.

On the other hand, the Father Mosac, who has studied the Samscroutane language not less [than Father Calmette], pretends to have discovered the true Vedam. He makes it posterior to Indian heathendom, of which it is a detailed refutation. This work has as its author a true philosopher and enemy of polytheism of the kind that the whole earth had for a long time after the deluge. This vast work has been translated by Fr. Mosac; and what treasure [would it be] for you if he were willing to communicate it to you! (p. 685)

Coeurdoux's juxtaposition of two "true" Vedas is breathtaking. He clearly takes the side of Fr. Calmette, who talked about the difficulty of the Veda's language and about its Vedanta commentaries. The second "true" Veda, by contrast, seems to be genuine only for Father Mozac who pretends to have discovered it and makes it posterior to heathendom. Yet Coeurdoux lauds Mozac's Veda author as a true philosopher and enemy of polytheism and calls it a vast work that Father Mozac has already translated.

Anquetil-Duperron, who added some comments on other pages of this letter, did not write anything in the margins of this page. But in the printed version of 1808, he explained in a note, "This work must be the Ezourvedam" and added a reference to his Zend Avesta (where he first quoted the Ezourvedam) and to the printed edition by Sainte-Croix of 1778.

It is clear that Coeurdoux, who had attentively studied Mignot's articles and provided some detailed criticisms, knew that the Ezour-vedam was in the Royal Library in Paris and that it was now used and cited by academics like Mignot. What he probably did not know was that Voltaire had sent it there; Mignot had mentioned only the librarian's name. This remark about Mozac's Veda was not in answer to any question, since Anquetil-Duperron had written nothing in his letters about the Ezour-vedam. Coeurdoux clearly was in the loop about the content of Mozac's Veda because he knows that it is "a detailed refutation" of Indian heathendom written by "a true philosopher and enemy of polytheism." We must therefore assume that the reason why Coeurdoux even mentioned Mozac's Veda and described it in a way that would immediately point to the Ezour-vedam was linked to his knowledge that the Ezour-vedam was making waves in educated Paris.

Had Coeurdoux known at this point that it was being used by Voltaire for his anti-Christian propaganda campaign, he would very likely have kept mum; he could have mentioned some information about the real Vedas and left it at that. But he decided, for some intriguing reason, to advertise Mozac's Vedas in such a manner that Anquetil-Duperron was certain to associate it with the Ezour-vedam. Not only that: he wanted Anquetil-Duperron to think that it is a genuine, though later text than the Veda described by Calmette and that it forms part of a different Vedam. There is no doubt that he must have anticipated that this unsolicited remark about a "vast work" in the generous hands of a missionary (who for many months had taken care of Anquetil-Duperron at me Chandernagor hospital and almost drew him into the Jesuit fold) would provoke me curiosity of the researcher who, as Coeurdoux knew, had been passionately chasing after the Vedas for years. There was no doubt that Anquetil-Duperron's next letter would bring a demand for this "vast work" that Coeurdoux dangled so conspicuously in front of the seeker of Ur-monotheism.

This is exactly what happened. In his reply of February 8, 1772, Anquetil-Duperron wrote again to Coeurdoux because Mozac never responded, and he made an attempt at flattering the silent father:

Even though the Father Mosac has not honored me with his response, I do not doubt for a minute of his friendship for me and that the communicative character that I know him to have will cause him to share with us his important research on the languages, the history, and the mythology of North India. We wait, among other works by this erudite missionary, for the translation of what he calls the true Vedam, which includes the refutation of polytheism. We count on Father Mosac to join the original to his translation and to accompany this precious treasure, as you justly call it, with critical discussions of the nature, author, and age of this Vedam, the country in which it was composed, and the regions where it is the law in preference to the four Vedas accepted on the Malabar coast, Coromandel, the Gujarat, etc. (p. 688)

Anquetil-Duperron also made a connection that Coeurdoux might not have anticipated: he suspected that the Vedam of Father Mozac was the corpus of texts that contained Holwell's Shastah!

Father Mosac has worked in Bengal, like Mr. Holwell; the one close to Cassimbazar and the other in Cassimbazar itself. Both speak of a Vedam or Bhade that is different from the four that we know: the Bengal and me neighboring countries seem the only regions of Hindostan where this Vedam is current. (p. 688)

But no amount of pleading could budge Father Mozac who never responded with a single word and did not even thank Anquetil-Duperron for the books he kept sending at great expense. Coeurdoux explained this silence as follows:

I have read to Father Mozac the part of your letter which regards him. My eloquence, combined with yours, has been useless to persuade him to communicate his vast and erudite collections. (p. 690)

This was the last word Anquetil-Duperron heard from the Pondicherry missionary about this question; after this, he never received another letter.

Coeurdoux's Missing Link

The question why Coeurdoux advertised Mozac's Veda is intriguing, and it is linked to another mysterious manuscript that Hans Rothschild, the owner of the Amsterdam bookshop Antiqua, sold in 1954 to the India Office Library in London. The manuscript is now in the Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections of the British Library (APAC: Mss Eur D 22). In her fascinating two-volume study and edition of this 1987 manuscript, Sylvia Murr proved that its content stems from Father Coeurdoux and that a similar manuscript must have been plagiarized by Abbe Dubois for his famous book Description of the Character, Manners, and Customs of the People of India (1817). In the nineteenth century, Dubois's book became a classic about Indian religions and dominated the public image in the West for many decades, and Murr's discovery showed how information gathered by missionaries in the eighteenth century was still very much in use in the nineteenth. Here we are only interested in a small part of her fascinating story. The manuscript is in the handwriting of a French artillery officer named Desvaulx. The young man, accused of having traveled without permission and neglected his duties in India, had to return to Paris in 1777 to explain his case and justify his actions. When he showed up before the authorities, he produced this manuscript and claimed that he had not been idly traveling but had spent much of his time doing research on Indian customs and religion. Whatever the plan was, it seems to have gone awry and the manuscript, which was written in Pondicherry around 1775-76, left no trace until it resurfaced through unknown avenues in Amsterdam and was bought by the India Office half a century ago.

Since this manuscript contains entire parts that are virtually identical with texts that Coeurdoux had included in letters to Anquetil-Duperron, there is no doubt that Desvaulx's manuscript, though written in the officer's hand, consists of material authored by Coeurdoux that was modified and shortened by the officer. One of the intriguing questions raised by this is whether Coeurdoux, whose eyesight was deteriorating to the point of blindness, had used Desvaulx as his secretary and planned to have his work published in France, or whether he wanted Desvaulx to publish the book under Desvaulx's name. Murr (1987:2.50) thinks that Desvaulx could not have used Coeurdoux's work without the missionary's approval. But did Coeurdoux want Desvaulx to copy and publish his original manuscript? Or did he "consent to let him abbreviate and modify it" (p. 50) in view of a goal that both agreed upon, namely, the defense of Christianity? Murr thinks it more likely that Coeurdoux and Desvaulx worked as author and secretary and that abbreviations and modifications were made with Coeurdoux's blessing (p. 51). Still, the question remains: did Coeurdoux also agree to modifications clearly designed to erase traces of authorship that were incompatible with Desvaulx's stay in India-for example, the elimination of earlier dates and of events in towns that Desvaulx had never visited? This would mean that Coeurdoux consented to publication of his writings under Desvaulx's name -- in other words, a leak of his work for a good cause without implicating his name.

And this possibility is exactly what made me first think that Coeurdoux could have leaked not just this manuscript but also another one: the Ezourvedam. Both texts were slipped into Europe to be published by someone not associated with the Pondicherry Jesuits; both were relatively carefully edited to erase traces of original authorship and purpose; and both were directed at Europeans who undermine Christianity-deists like Voltaire, for example. Voltaire was read in Pondicherry: after all, Maudave had studied Voltaire's 1756 edition of the Essai sur Lesmoeurs in India. Murr speculates that there could be a causal connection between the arrival of Desvaulx in Pondicherry at the end of 1772 and the abrupt end of Coeurdoux's correspondence with Anquetil-Duperron in October of that year. In her opinion, Desvaulx "substituted himself for Anquetil-Duperron, Jansenist and academician, who was suspected of furnishing to Voltaire and to the Encyclopedia scientific informations that were then utilized against the Church and its institutions" (p. 53).

But I think there is a less convoluted explanation that involves another leak, namely, that of the Ezour-vedam. When Coeurdoux wrote his advertisement for Mozac's Veda -- which implied the genuineness of the texts in spite of their younger age and praised them as "great treasures" -- he probably was not yet aware of Voltaire's perversion of the Ezour-vedam. But Desvaulx, whom Murr describes as an ardent defender of Christianity and the Bible, must have informed Coeurdoux and Mozac after his arrival in the fall of 1772 about the latest brouhaha in France: Baron d'Holbach's System of Nature, rampant skepticism and atheism in the salons of Paris, and, of course, Voltaire's "Indian campaign," which must have confounded the missionaries. Both Coeurdoux and Mozac knew perfectly that the Pondicherry Vedas were authored by Jesuit missionaries; after all, the handwriting of these texts was, according to Henry Hosten, certifiably that of Mozac. According to my hypothesis, what happened was the following: Coeurdoux, for reasons described above, in the early 1750s, either leaked the Ezour-vedam himself or authorized it in order to confound European doubters with a "proof" of ancient Indian monotheism and possibly also to support or justify Jesuit mission methods. He thought it would be a kind of vaccine against skepticism and atheism. Bur in 1772 he learned that the vaccine not only did not prevent the disease bur actually helped spread it. Indomania with its inflated world ages and idealization of Indian Ur-religion was infectious, and it rapidly appeared as a threat to biblical authority. Coeurdoux, of course, could not imagine that less than twenty years later Langles would openly declare that the Pentateuch was plagiarized from the Vedas; but he might have seen such horror scenarios in his nightmares. The main threat was that the biblical narrative, and in particular the story of the flood,28 would be undermined by alternative scenarios that would show the Old Testament to be a record of local events and-even worse-show God as a local divinity propped up by a local myth. The Ezour-vedam, from that perspective, had indeed a certain nocuous potential because, due to its origin as a non-Prangui missionary tool, it tried to keep things Indian and did not feature any link to the biblical line of patriarchs. Even Adimo, the Adam of the Ezour-vedam, was Indian, as Voltaire remarked with much glee before accusing me Jews of having plagiarized their creation Story from Indian sources.

Bur unmasking the Ezour-vedam was our of the question. The last thing the Jesuits needed in their dire straits29 was an indictment for forgery of ancient Indian texts. So Coeurdoux decided to encode the truth in those two paragraphs that have caused reactions ranging from consternation to outrage. I will now cite them once more and try to decode them. First of all, the Pondicherry Veda's real author, Calmette, needed to be protected, and this was best done by citing him (and not Pons or someone else) as the one who told the truth about the true Vedas:

I will add here what I have heard Father Calmette -- who knew the samscroutam [Sanskrit] and had much studied the books of Indian science -- utter more than once: that the true Vedam [le vrai Vedam] is of such an ancient samscrouram that it is almost unintelligible, and that what one cites is of the Vedantam, that is, of introductions and commentaries that were made of the Vedam. In effect, in a famous prayer named gai'tri, one understands only the word savitourou, the sun. (Anquetil-Duperron 1808:49.685)

The next paragraph on the same page contains the tricky part and is dissected in Table 16 where the left column contains Coeurdoux's statement and the right my interpretation of it.



On the other hand, the Father Mosac, who has studied the Samscroutane language not less [than Father Calmette], pretends to have discovered the true Vedam. / Calmette is out of the game since he represents the real "true Vedam" which is difficult to read and ancient. But Mozac is also an expert of Sanskrit; which suggests (without stating it and thus lying) that the texts he pretends to have discovered must be Indian. Coeurdoux does not say that Calmette really discovered them, which would also be a lie.

He makes it posterior to Indian heathendom, of which it is a detailed refutation. / This also has the appearance of truth and is Coeurdoux's way of telling Anquetil that the Ezourvedam is part of this body of texts. The content of the Pondicherry Vedas is described accurately. Coeurdoux knows it.

This work has as its author a true philosopher and enemy of polytheism of the kind that the whole earth had for a long time after the deluge. / This "true philosopher" is not named, but Coeurdoux knows that his name is Jean Calmette, S. J. He was a true enemy of polytheism who forged weapons against it (such as the Pondicherry Vedas) and, like all missionaries, belongs to those numerous men involved in this fight since the deluge.

This vast work / This signals to Anquetil that the Ezour-vedam is part of a larger body of texts, which is true.

has been translated by Father Mosac; / Coeurdoux only says that Mozac "translated" this vast work, not from what language. Only for those who (unlike Anquetil) know that Mozac translated from French to Sanskrit this is a true statement.

and what treasure [would it be] for you if he were willing to communicate it to you! / This tells Anquetil how extremely valuable these texts are (always tacitly including, of course, the Ezour-vedam). Coeurdoux knows very well that Mozac will not send them; thus he adds the big IF.

Having skillfully encoded the truth and proclaimed both the genuine and the Jesuit Vedas "true," Coeurdoux turned to the crux of the problem that was partly responsible for the mess: the need to establish a solid link between Noah's ark and ancient India, thus filling in some of the dotted lines in the Eusebius-related graph above (Fig. 18). This was one of those friendly takeover attempts that the famous forger ANNIUS of Viterbo (c. 1432-1502) had brought into fashion in Europe. Thanks to Annius, the invented founder of France, "Francus," got a pedigree that linked him to Japhet (Asher 1993), and a "Tuisco" with a long beard became Germany's mythical founder (Hutter 2000). In a sense this was an antidote to a virus contained in the Ezourvedam that Voltaire's incubator had set loose. It was not the Ezour-vedam itself that was the problem, only the missing link that Voltaire had so cunningly exploited.

The link to the biblical transmission line was thus the appropriate antidote, and it was administered to Europe in two doses: first via Anquetil- Duperron and via the Academy to Abbe Mignot and the learned society of Paris, and second to a larger public through Desvaulx's book. The first dose reached its target and strengthened Anquetil-Duperron's (and Sainte-Croix's) belief that the Ezour-vedam is a genuine Indian text that was possibly a bit mangled in the translation and copying process. The second dose, however, was for some reason a dud; Desvaulx might have guessed that such a publication would raise questions that he could never answer; or his distracted superior said, "I shall have a look at it" and forgot to put it even into the administration files; or someone from Desvaulx's family sold the manuscript- who knows? At any rate, it ended up in Amsterdam, and its neat handwriting can now be admired at the British Library. But a larger dose of the antidote remained in Pondicherry: Coeurdoux's complete manuscript. It was first extensively used by Paulinus a Saneto Bartholomaeo and then plagiarized in its entirety by Abbe Dubois. Dubois, the very man who had introduced smallpox vaccination in southern India, was an ideal host who succeeded not only in introducing Coeurdoux's antidote to readers of English and French but in inoculating an entire generation through insertion into the textbooks and university classrooms of nineteenth-century Europe.

Father Coeurdoux's dose for Anquetil-Duperron consisted, apart from that bit of encoded truth, in a small treatise that also is contained "except for six words and some commas" in Chapter 46 of the Desvaulx manuscript and in Dubois (Murr 1987:2.30). It is a convincing proof that Coeurdoux was the author of the Desvaulx manuscript. The theme of Coeurdoux's treatise is exactly that missing link berween Noah's ark and the earliest Indians. He makes them migrate from the plains of Shinar via the mountains in the north to India and lets the Indians descend from Noah's son Japher. This is said to have happened at the beginning of the fourth yuga, which was within the chronological safety margin of the Septuagint's flood, and the patriarchs chosen for transmission of Noah's religion are "seven penitents" who are India's seven rishis:

The epoch of the beginning of this new age is exactly the end of the deluge, very distinctly marked in all Indian books. It destroyed all men except the seven famous penitents of India with their wives. Some [sources] add Manouvou, of whom 1 have already spoken and who appears to be Noah himself. They escaped the universal ruin by means of a ship whose builder was Vishnu himself. I do not believe that one finds the universal deluge more clearly arrested to in the diverse authors of antiquity from almost all nations who have mentioned this great event, nor in a more similar manner to the recital of Moses. (Anquetil-Duperron 1808:49.693)

This is the antidote designed for the Ezour-vedam's soft spot that Voltaire had exploited, and by extension for the entire indomaniac vision of India as the cradle of civilization. Coeurdoux's Indian history confirms biblical history, and his portrayal of Indian religion exposes those of Voltaire and Holwell as completely baseless. The seven rishis of India are the country's ancient legislators and, as descendants of Noah's son Japhet, they guarantee that Ur-monotheism reached India long before the reigning polytheistic cults developed. This treatise thus reinforces the vision of a monotheistic pre-Vedic religion that forms the core of the Ezour-vedam and of Chumontou's teaching. Fat from rejecting the Ezour-vedam, Coeurdoux sees its author Calmette as an excellent philosopher and as a fighter in true postdiluvian tradition against polytheism. But Coeurdoux was directing his attack not only at Voltaire. He was possibly even more concerned about Holwell, whose work, as we have seen, he also received courtesy of Anquetil-Duperron. Holwell had built his edifice almost entirely on an Indian basis and presented fragments of an Indian Old Testament that seemed designed to replace the Pentateuch. But Coeurdoux's reaction is not as dismissive as Joseph Priestley's Comparison of the Institutions of Moses with those of the Hindoos and other Ancient Nations two decades later (1799). At the end of the century, Priestley was already reacting against rampant indomania supported by the first translations of Sanskrit texts, especially Charles Wilkins's Bhagavad gita of 1785, and he saw no room whatsoever for a friendly takeover. By contrast, Coeurdoux tried to integrate India gently into his sacred history and to find "a gangway between the universal history of Bossuet and the Indians," as Murr (1987:2.173) put it. But his ultimate intention in releasing these materials certainly was the defense of biblical authority; and he was right in sensing, like Priestley, that both Voltaire's and Holwell's ventures were in the final analysis direct attacks on the Bible. As the fate of the Ezour-vedam shows, India had become much more than an exotic working field of missionaries. It was on the best way to turn into a battleground where not only the Jesuit order was at risk but the entire biblical basis of Christianity. And this danger seemed real. In 1771, the Swiss librarian Jean-Rodolphe SINNER von Ballaigues (1730-87) adduced all available "primary" sources he knew (Lord's Shaster, Roger, the Ezour-vedam, Holwell's Shastah, Dow's History of Hindostan, Hyde's Historia religionis veterum persarum) to prove that "the most part of the dogmas taught in the mysteries of the Egyptians and the Greeks appear to be drawn from the theology of the ancient Brachmanes of India" and to show "how these dogmas have passed from the Orient to Egypt and from there to Europe until the northern countries, and that it is very probable that the Purgatory of St. Patrick in Ireland is a vestige of this doctrine" (Sinner 1771:135-36)!

Sainte-Croix's Buddhist Veda

To the relief of Voltaire's many fans in Europe who had read about this text for almost two decades, the year of the writer's death finally saw the Ezour-vedam appear in print. Once again Switzerland was the stage of Ezour-vedam promotion. Voltaire's Indian campaign headquarters had been at Ferney near Geneva, and now the Ezour-vedam was printed in Yverdon in 1778. It was a long-awaited work, and its German translation appeared the following year in the Swiss capital of Berne. The preface to this German edition (Ith 1779:22) divulged the identity of the unnamed editor, Guillaume E. J. G. de Cleremont-Lodeven, baron de SAINTE-CROIX (1746-1809). The Bernese philosopher Johann ITH (1747-1813), who translated the text from the French, hailed this publication as a milestone:

We expect full light from the publication of primary sources of Indian religion that are found in various European libraries, but particularly from the great number stored at the Royal Library of France. Such a work we present to the German public through this translation of the Ezour-Vedam (pp. 13-16).

The Monthly Review (Griffiths 1780:500-505) struck a similar tone and compared the Ezour-vedam favorably to the publications by Roger (1651), Dow (1768), and Holwell (1765-71):

The relations of Rogers, however interesting, have only for their object the popular religion of India: the accounts of Dow and Holwell contain, indeed, the most ingenious explications of the Indian fables, which they allegorize into a pure and rational series of theological doctrines; but these explications are destitute of sufficient authority; they seem to have been the inventions of certain Brahmins, who were ashamed of their absurd mythology; and they are contradicted by the commentaries and explications of others. It is only a translation, of the canonical books of Indians (of which, many extol the wisdom and antiquity, without knowing much about them) that can fix our ideas on this subject. (pp. 500-501)

Finally, the time seemed to have arrived when not just speculations but real translations from primary sources became available. The Monthly Review informed its many readers that Baron de Sainte-Croix had made a first step by publishing a translation "made by a Brahmin of Benares, who was a correspondent of that Academy [the Royal Academy of Inscriptions in Paris]" whose manuscript, a gift of Voltaire to the king's library, had been compared and supplemented "from another copy of the same translation, made by M. Anquetil du Perron, from one in the possession of the nephew of M. Barthelemy" (p. 501). But the title page of the Ezour-vedam only states that the book "contains the exposition of the religious and philosophical opinions of the Indians, translated from the Samscretan by a Brahmin." On page ix, this translator is identified by Sainte-Croix as the "grand-pretre ou archi-brame de la pagode de Cheringham," but the English reviewer promoted him to the status of correspondent of the illustrious Royal Academy in Paris. Not even Voltaire would have dared to go that far; he left it at "correspondent of the French Compagnie des Indes." Ith, who published the German translation, was skeptical about Sainte-Croix's claim and noted that it depends "almost entirely on the reputation of such an unreliable writer as Voltaire" (Ith 1779:25-26). But Sainte-Croix had apparently discussed this with Anquetil-Duperron and assured Ith that he was personally convinced of the text's authenticity (pp. 26-27). Regarding Ith's doubts about the francophone Indian translator, Sainte-Croix informed him that, according to Anquetil-Duperron's opinion, the office of correspondent of the French Compagnie des Indes was not incompatible with the position of chief Brahman (pp. 27-28). Coeurdoux's antidote was effective.

Sainte-Croix begins his two-volume edition of the Ezour-vedam with some remarks about previous work on Indian religion that show his familiarity with most of the available literature in European languages. He criticized "Holwell and Dow who, penetrated by admiration for the philosophy of the Brames and zealous defenders of the purity of their dogmas, published interesting excerpts of some Shasters that they believed to be sacred and authentic" (Sainte-Croix Sainte-Croix, by contrast, could proudly present the Ezour-vedam, "the first original work published until today about the religious and philosophical dogmas of the Indians" (p. xii).

His "Preliminary observations" open with the following declaration of faith:

Theism has been the primitive religion of humankind. The progressive march of polytheism would suggest this truth even if other facts were not demonstrating it. With the Indians, as with all other peoples on earth, one perceives, behind fables and fictions of the most bizarre kind, a cult that was pure in its origin and corrupted in its course. (pp. 13-14)

This statement already presents the Ezour-vedam's content in a nutshell since, as we have seen, the teacher Chumontou stands for the pure monotheism of the origin, and his interlocutor Biache for the bizarre cult into which it degenerated. Sainte-Croix was perfectly in tune with Calmette on this basic point. In no less than 160 introductory pages, Sainte-Croix then presents his vision of the origin and history of Indian religion. This is his attempt to synthesize an enormous amount of often contradictory information about Indian religion and fashion a coherent Story line that explains the history and content of Chumontou's and Biache's teachings, while addressing the question of the text's authorship.

Sainte-Croix was fundamentally in accord with de Guignes, whose papers on Indian religion, which were published in 1781, he was able partially to consult in manuscript form (pp. 52-53, 59). Rejecting Mignot's opinions, Sainte-Croix followed La Croze and de Guignes in discerning Egyptian influence on India (pp. 32-34). He did not mention the biblical narrative of the deluge or the dispersion of people even once. Nevertheless, the region north of Mesopotamia, where according to tradition the ark landed, had (as later in William Jones) a special role (App 2009). It is in Ariana and Bactria, that is, in the region linking Persia to India, that he located the cradle of two groups, "members of one family," which had migrated to India (Sainte-Croix 1778:1.45). The first to arrive were "the brachmanes who seemed to have made their principal residence near the Ganges and in the adjoining mountains" where some of their descendants have maintained their independence to this day in a "district to the west of Burdwam" (pp. 46-47). Sainte-Croix's source for this country "governed by the ancient laws" is, the reader might have guessed it, the ideal country around Bisnapore (see Chapter 6) from Holwell's first volume (p. 47).

The second group that came from Ariana via Bactria to India were the Samaneens, whose founder was "without any doubt Boutta or Budda" (pp. 47-48) and whose religion stretches from that region all across Asia to Japan (pp. 55-56). Sainte-Croix mentions many countries including Ceylon, Siam, Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, and Mongolia where the religion of Budda now reigns; and he thought, following La Croze, that they had brought literacy to India. They also "showed great disdain for the cult of Vishnu and Shiva and did not want to subject themselves to the ancient Indianism which they sought to destroy" (p. 70). They fought against the superstitions and polytheism that had disfigured the once pure patriarchal religion. These valiant reformers who wanted to reestablish original monotheism were unjustly accused "by the ignorant and fanatic priests that were then the brachmanes" of being "philosophers of atheism, gross idolaters, and worshippers of their master Budda" (pp. 71-72). Eventually, as reported by Ziegenbalg via La Croze, the Brachmanes even "made a horrible massacre of the unfortunate Baudistes" (p. 72), whereupon some of them carried their religion to other countries in Asia.

If for La Croze the Buddhists had turned into atheists, the roles were here reversed: for Sainte-Croix the Brachmanes had become degenerate polytheists, whereas the Buddhists had preserved their original monotheism. This was based on Brucker's interpretation of esoteric Buddhist doctrine as a kind of mystical monotheism, de Guignes's assertion of the monotheism of the Samaneens (supported by his mistaken translation of the term "world-honored one" at the beginning of the Forty-Two Sections Sutra), Freret's conception of a monotheism professed by both the Buddhist and Brahmanic "sects of Indian religion," and Mignot's monotheistic interpretation of Buddhist emptiness. Convinced by such views, Sainte-Croix believed that the Buddha's esoteric doctrine, a monotheism of the purest kind, had also survived in India:

In spite of the efforts of the brames and the feeling of horror that they wanted to inculcate for the Baudistes or Samaneens, several books of these philosophers are still respectfully preserved on the Malabar coast, and the different coasts of India have, if we may dare to say so, shared their doctrine. The Ganigueuls, the Wanaprasthas, the Avadoutas, the Jogis and the Saniassis have adopted the manner of living of the Baudistes and openly profess the majority of their dogmas. (pp. 76-77)

Since the Baudistes or Samaneens brought literacy to India, they were, of course, also the authors of the sacred scriptures of India:

The first books of the Samaneens were with great likelihood written in this [Sanskrit] language. We know that the sectarians of Budda, who sometime after the birth of Jesus Christ went to China, took along a book which explained their principles in a language and characters that differed from those of the Chinese. Three hundred years passed before the bonzes translated the doctrine of the Indians into Chinese. (pp. 108-9)

Sainte-Croix had picked up such information from de Guignes's still-unpublished manuscripts whose content was described in Chapter 4. He criticized that, instead of translating the most ancient Indian texts, Holwell and Dow had presented the systems of the sects of their informants rather than "the doctrine of the ancient books" (p. 139). The ancient doctrine and books he referred to were brought by the Samaneens from Ariana to India where they were safeguarded by small groups of strictly monotheistic philosophers like the Gnanigols or Ganigueuls (see Chapter 2).

Everywhere in the Ezour-vedam, we find the principal articles of the doctrine of the Ganigueuls which we will discuss, and consequently one cannot doubt that a philosopher of this sect has composed this work. In it, a man enveloped by the gloom of idolatry reports, under the name of Biache, the most accredited fables of India and exposes the entire system of popular theology of his country. (p. 146)

By contrast, Chumontou represents for Sainte-Croix the true original monotheism transmitted by the Samaneens to the Ganigueuls. In this way the Tamil Siddhas identified by Ziegenbalg as Gnanigols (see Chapter 2) became -- at least in Sainte-Croix's scenario that was heavily inspired by de Guignes yet unpublished "Chinese Veda" papers -- successors of the Buddha's strict monotheism whose teaching is preserved ... you have guessed it ... in the Ezour-vedam!

Responding to the questions of Biache, the Ganigueul philosopher [Chumonrou] explains his doctrine about the unity of God, creation, the nature of the soul, the dogma of punishment and recompense in a future state, the cult appropriate for the supreme Being, the duties of all classes [etats], and so forth. Particularly those [duties] of the contemplatives attract Chumonrou's attention; and in this respect his principles entirely conform with those of the Samaneens and the ancient sectarians of Budda. (pp. 147-48)

Of course, Sainte-Croix does not fail to refer here to the two texts that de Guignes had associated with the Samaneens: "the extract from the Anbertkend" and "the translation of the work attributed to Fo, or Budda" -- the Forty-Two Sections Sutra in de Guignes's History of the Huns (see Chapter 4). Though the attentive reader might suspect he or she is hallucinating, there is no doubt-based on what we have learned about all this in Chapters 2, 4, and 7 -- that Fr. Calmette, who through his Ezour-vedam authorship had already shed his black Jesuit attire for an Indian disguise and a Brahmin tuft of hair, thanks to Sainte-Croix now appears before us with the shaved pate of a Buddhist monk who is indoctrinating us about the mystical meaning of the ultimate teaching of the Buddha: God's emptiness!

The Ezour-vedam's Amazing Career

In sum, the Ezour-vedam is one of the most interesting and revelatory documents of nascent Orientalism. Created by European residents of India who pioneered the study of the Vedas, it is an extraordinary window to diverse premodern views of Asian religions and a mirror of Europeans' anxieties, hopes, passions, and obsessions as they struggled to understand their own origin and worldview. After humble beginnings as mission material for catechetes in South India, it soon became obsolete. Some missionary must have decided to give it a second lease on life and a new mission in the struggle against European deists, skeptics, and atheists by letting French laymen make copies of it. After its arrival in France this mission backfired when Voltaire turned the text into a weapon against Judeo-Christianity and for his brand of deism. In defense, Coeurdoux attempted to link the text via the seven rishis to the biblical patriarchs. But Mignot and Anquetil-Duperron saw it as a testament of Ziegenbalg's monotheistic Gnanigols. Sainte-Croix concurred but regarded these Gnanigols as representatives of the ancient esoteric doctrine of Buddhism that in his view was a mystical form of Ur-monotheism. Soon enough, various doubters raised their voices and called the text a fake or "Pseudo-Veda." In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this opinion prevailed, and the Jesuits were accused of a heinous act. Now, however, the text is about to acquire a new valuation as a fascinating record of the early Western study of Indian scriptures, a testament to the diversity and extreme changes characterizing eighteenth-century European views of Asian religions, and a showcase for the twisted fate of religious texts. The biography of the Ezour-vedam presents us with a sequence of events that even a novelist might have trouble imagining: the mystical marriage of a wrongly translated, pieced-together, fifth-century Chinese Buddhist text, tuned up and put into the Buddha's mouth by an eighth-century Chinese Zen master, with the fake -- yet oh so true! -- Yajur Veda (Ezour-vedam) authored by a French Jesuit calling himself Sumantu who criticizes the Veda and whom Sainte-Croix portrayed as a Gnanigol heir of the Buddha's deathbed teaching of God's emptiness. The mind-boggling fate of this text deserves a place of honor in the history-of-ideas hall of fame and is a perfect embodiment of a bon mot of the great researcher of Zen to whom this book is dedicated, the late Seizan Yanagida: "Fact is fiction, and fiction is fact" (App 2008b:7).

The Perfect Theology

In December 1776, Anquetil-Duperron received a package from India sent by his friend colonel Jean-Baptiste Le Gentil, the French envoy at Oudh (Awadh). It contained a voluminous Persian manuscript entitled Sirr-i akbar, the Great Secret. While reading its preface, Anquetil-Duperron already sensed that his search for the Veda, that most ancient record of divine revelation and master key to the "Indian religion" that had conquered Asia, was coming to an end. He translated the Persian preface by Prince Dara (see Chapter 3), written in 1657, word for word to make sure that he did not miss anything. It brought the confirmation that the book's fifty Upanishads contain the very essence of the Vedas.



Anquetil's draft French translation (Bibliotheque Nationale, NAP 8857, Jols.4-5) / English translation of Anquetil's draft French translation (App) / English translation by Hasrat from the Persian (de Bary 1958:440)

Apres la certimde de ces degres (de cela), il a ere scu que dans certe secre ancienne, avant tous les Livres celestes quarre Livres celestes qui (sont) le Ragbeid er le Djedjer Beid, et le Sam Beid, et l'Athrban Beid, aux Prophetes de ce tems que le plus grand d'eux est Brahma qui est Adam choisi de Dieu, sur lequel soit le salut, avec tous les preceptes de conduite: et ce sens est paraissant de ces livres memes / After the certitude of these degrees (of that), it was known that in this ancient sect, before all the heavenly books, four heavenly books which (are) the Ragbeid, and the Djedjer Beid, and the Sam Beid, and the Athrban Beid, to the prophets of this time that the greatest of them is Brahma who is Adam chosen by God, on whom be salvation, with all the precepts of conduct: and this meaning is apparent from these books themselves. / And after verifications of these circumstances, it appeared that among this most ancient people, of all their heavenly books, which are the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda, and the Atharva Veda, together with a number of ordinances, descended upon the prophets of those times, the most ancient of whom was Brahman or Adam, on whom be the peace of God, this purport is manifest from these books.

Et l'essentiel (la partie la plus pure, la substance) de ces quatre livres, tout les secrets de conduite (religieuse) et la meditation sur l'unite pure y sont renfermes, et on le nomme Oupnek'hat. / And the essence (the purest part, the substance) of these four books, all the secrets of (religious) conduct and the meditation on the pure unity are included in it, and it is called Oupnek'hat. / And the summum bonum of these four books, which contain all the secrets of the Path and the contemplative exercises of pure monotheism, are called the Upanekhats [Upanishads].

The first two columns of Table 17 provide a taste of Anquetil-Duperron's style. His Latin has been called cryptic and impossible to understand, but sometimes it is clearer than his French in these translations, whose grammar sometimes has even native speakers scratching their heads. The Latin summary of this preface made the central point of this preface much clearer: after having studied the three celestial books (the Books of Moses, the Psalms of David, and the Evangile of Christ), Prince Dara found the four Vedas, which he saw as God's earliest revelation to Brahma (who is identical with Adam). These four Vedas contain the truth of unity (unitatis veritas), and their essence (cremor) is found in the book called Oupnek'hat, the Upanishads (Anquetil-Duperron 1801:7).30 Anquetil-Duperron first announced his discovery in a 1778 book on Oriental legislation:

Schahdjehan [Shah Jahan, 1592-1666], son of Djehanguir Uahangir, 1569-1627] permits all religions as long as they serve the growth of his empire. Dara Shako [Mohammed Dara Shikuh, 1615-59], the eldest son of Shahdjehan, shows publicly his indifference for Islam. In Delhi in 1656, this prince has brahmins of Benares translate the Oupnekat, a Sanskrit work whose name signifies The Word that must not be enounced (the secret that must not be revealed). This work is the essence of the four Vedas. It presents in 51 sections the complete system of Indian theology of which the result is the unity of the supreme Being [premier Etre] whose perfections and personified operations have the name of the principal Indian divinities, and the reunion [reunion] of the entire nature with this first Agent. I plan to publish as soon as possible the translation of [his important work which I received in 1776 from North Bengal from Mr. Gentil, Chevalier of St. Louis and Captain of cavalry in the service of France. This work appears for [he first rime in Europe; no traveler has mentioned it until now. (Anquetil-Duperron 1778:21)

Nine years later, on March 18, 1787, he finished his French translation of all fifty Upanishads with the exclamation "oum oum oum oum oum," and the revision of the entire 862-page manuscript took him until July 3.31 In the same year, he inserted his translation "into barbaric French" of four Upanishads into a book on Indian geography with the excuse that it would offer the reader "a break from the course of the Ganges" at Benares, the city of philosophers (Anquetil-Duperron 1787a:2.297). The translation's title clearly shows what the Persian Upanishads of Prince Dara represented for him: "The Basis of Indian Theology, drawn from the Vedas" (p. 297). Anquetil-Duperron's first four Upanishads of 1787 appeared in German translation in 1791 in a book published in Zurich by an anonymous editor; I suspect that it was the very Johann Ith who in 1779 had already proved his interest in Asian religions by translating Sainte-Croix's Ezour-vedam into German. They were contained in Europe's first collection of religious texts from the "Indian religion" that Freret, de Guignes, Diderot, and numerous other authors had described, which was the very religion in search of whose key Anquetil-Duperron had gone to India.

The editor's emphasis of the need to present to the public not so much interpretations but rather translations of primary sources was a sign of a new age, while his view that his "Indian religion" is "about the same with the peoples hither and yonder the Ganges" (Anon., Sammlung asiatischer Original- Schriften, 1791:xiii) marks the end of a period. This Zurich collection appeared just before the effect of the first volumes of the Asiatick Researches on the European continent began. The editor planned a series of volumes with "original scriptures of Asia" and even suggested publishing these texts also in their original languages by using print shops in London for Sanskrit, Paris for Persian, and Berlin for Tamil texts (p. x). But probably because of the Orientalist revolution triggered by the work of the British in India (see Chapter 8), only one volume of the planned collection ever appeared under the title Indische Schriften (Indian Scriptures). In conformity with the editor's conception of "Indian religion," we find in this interesting volume German translations of Maridas Poulle's Bagavadam (pp. 1-216); La Loubere's Life of Tewetat and his Buddhist monastic rules "Patimuk" (pp. 217-56);32 de Guignes's "Book of Fo" (the Forty-Two Sections Sutra; pp. 257-68)33 and his summary of the Anbertkend (pp. 361-76); Anquetil-Duperron's four Upanishads (pp. 269-316); the Dirm Schaster and Neadirsen by Dow (pp. 389-410); the Schastah-Bhade by Holwell (pp. 419-32); Henry Lord's Schaster (pp. 433-52); and some additional materials, including text translations from the Danish India mission (pp. 453-94).

The editor of this Swiss book was a bit skeptical about Anquetil-Duperron's claims that the Upanishads represent the essence of the Vedas, and he commented that the words of the "four Bedes" [Vedas] seem only to be cited sporadically; but he gave Anquetil-Duperron the benefit of the doubt by stating that "if it is as [Anquetil-Duperron says], these Upnekhat will be doubly important because part of the content of the Vedas will then be no more subject to doubt" (pp. xiv-xv). For Anquetil-Duperron, by contrast, no doubt was possible; and he saw his view reinforced by comparing the "system" he had discovered in Prince Dara's Upanishads with the first European translation from a classical Sanskrit text: Charles Wilkins's The Bhagvat-Geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon (1785). Anquetil-Duperron had received a copy of it just before delivering his 1787 manuscript with the four Upanishads to press and decided to add an "Appendix about the Bhagvat Ghita" in which he asserts that Wilkins has not quite understood the true import of the text he translated (Anquetil-Duperron 1787a:571).

Anquetil-Duperron subsequently decided to translate the whole book into cryptic Latin. In some sense, this brings home to Europeans the exclusivity of the ancient Sanskrit text in India; after all, this book was a secretum tegendum and not food for hoi polloi! This is reflected in its esoteric mix of languages where cryptic Latin is explained by Greek: "Nomen Dei semper (X) in ore Brahmanum, et propria lingua, [x], id est, samskretice pronunciatum, est Oum" (The name of God always in the mouth of the Brahmins, and pronounced in their own language, their own voice, in Sanskrit, is Oum) (Anquetil-Duperron the content of this explanation is also emblematic: both for Anquetil-Duperron and for Prince Dara, the Oupnek'hat's theology is the true message of Oum = Allah = God to humankind, his first and most perfect revelation to Brahma = Adam as recorded in the world's oldest book, the Veda, whose essence they happened to hold in their hands. It is a record of God's Ur-message whose traces are found in all ancient sacred texts. In his introduction to the Oupnek'hat, Anquetil-Duperron therefore stresses that "the very same dogma of a single parent of the universe and unique spiritual principle" is described "clearly and transparently" in "the books of Solomon, the ancient Chinese Kims [Ch. jing, classics], the sacred Beids [Vedas] of the Indians, and the Zend-avesta of the Persians" (p. viii).34

This is why, in his defense of the genuineness of the Ezour-vedam at the very end of his life, Anquetil-Duperron insisted that "in the Oupnek'hat one finds the supreme Being, his word, his spirit" (1808:3-419). Even if he had not become the perfect theologian and had to strike through the word "perfect" from the dream of his youth, he had been blessed to find the oldest extant record of God's revelation, the "doctrina orientalis" par excellence, the perfect theology, his religion. OUM!
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Re: The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

Postby admin » Fri Jan 01, 2021 4:36 am

Part 1 of 3

Chapter 8: Volney's Revolutions

"Orientalism" has been portrayed by Edward SAID in his eponymous book, first published in 1979, as a very influential, state-sponsored, essentially imperialist and colonialist enterprise. For Said, the Orientalist ideology was roared in eighteenth-century secularization that threatened the traditional Christian European worldview. That worldview had been reigning for many centuries and was based on the "Biblical framework." Said held that "modern Orientalism derives from secularizing elements in eighteenth-century European culture" (1979:120) and pointed out the all-important role that the discovery of Oriental religions and languages played in the birth of Orientalism:

One, the expansion of the Orient further east geographically and further back temporally loosened, even dissolved, the Biblical framework considerably. Reference points were no longer Christianity and Judaism, with their fairly modest calendars and maps, but India, China, Japan, and Sumer, Buddhism, Sanskrit, Zoroastrianism, and Manu. (p. 120)

I quite agree with this. Curiously, though, only Islam -- which had the least potential of loosening or dissolving the biblical framework because it made itself use of it -- plays a role in Said's argument. The European discovery of other Asian religions is strangely absent: Zoroastrianism and Brahmanism are only briefly mentioned in the context of Anquetil-Duperron's studies (p. 76), Hinduism not at all, Confucius once in the context of Fenelon (p. 69), and Buddhism twice more, but (as in the quotation above) only as part of uncommented lists (pp. 232, 259). Focusing on political power and imperialist strategy rather than the power of religious ideology, Said was not in a position to answer how the "loosening" of the biblical framework was connected to the discovery of Asian religions and the genesis of modern Orientalism.

Robert IRWIN (2006:294) rightly criticized the "newly restrictive sense" that Said gave to the term Orientalism: "those who travelled, studied or wrote about the Arab world." Nevertheless, he declared himself "happy to accept this somewhat arbitrary delimitation of the subject matter" for the very convenient reason that "it is the history of Western studies of Islam, Arabic and Arab history and culture that interests me most" (p. 6). It is thus hardly surprising that non-Islamic oriental religions are as little discussed in Irwin's book-length study about Oriental ism as in Said's. For example, Buddhism -- Asia's most widespread religion -- is only once mentioned in passing, and the religions of Asia's most populous nations, India and China, play no role at all. While accusing Said of hating "religion in all its forms," harboring "anti-religious prejudice," and failing "properly to engage with the Christian motivations of the majority of pre-twentieth-century Orientalists" (p. 294), Irwin's portrayal of Anquetil-Duperron and of William Jones shows an almost Saidian lack of insight into religious motivations: Anquetil-Duperron's striking religiosity is completely ignored in favor of his "anti-imperialism" (pp. 125-26), and treatment of Jones's religious motivations is limited to Irwin's cursory remarks to the effect that Jones "hoped to find evidence in India for the Flood of Genesis" and had a "somewhat archaic and confused" ethnology in which "Greeks, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Mexicans and Peruvians all descended from Noah's son, Ham" (p. 124).

Furthermore, Irwin criticizes Said for attributing far too much importance to Orientalism. In Irwin's view the "heyday of institutional Orientalism only arrived in the second half of the twentieth century." Before that time, Orientalism was a relatively insignificant affair given that its exponents, according to Irwin, usually were just "individual scholars, often lonely and eccentric men" driven by curiosity rather than colonialist and imperialist rapacity. This is reflected in the title of the original English edition of Irwin's book: "For Lust of Knowing."1 Irwin's Orientalists, "always few in number and rarely famous figures," were at best influential in literary, historical, theological, cultural, and, of course, oriental studies (p. 5) but had hardly any impact outside the literary world. For the most part they were just a bunch of relatively isolated "dabblers, obsessives, evangelists, freethinkers, madmen, charlatans, pedants, romantics" driven not by grand imperialist dreams but by "many competing agendas and styles of thought" (p. 7).

This final chapter examines a member of this eccentric crowd, Constantin Francoise Chasseboeuf VOLNEY (1757-1820), whose life span extends a bit beyond the period covered in this book. In Said's eyes, Volney was one of the most prominent "orthodox Orientalist authorities" (1979: 38) whose travel account (Voyage en Syrie et en Egypte, 1785-87) and reflections on the Turkish war (Considerations sur la guerre actuelle des Turcs, 1788) constituted "effective texts to be used by any European wishing to win in the Orient." Said thus saw Volney as a major instigator of Napoleon's imperialist invasion of Egypt (p. 81). Being "canonically hostile to Islam as a religion," the "canny Frenchman" (p. 81) was not engaged in some haphazard "innocent scholarly endeavor." Rather, as an archetypal exponent of "Orientalism as an accomplice to empire" (p. 333), he was fit to join William Jones near the top of Said's Orientalist blacklist.2

Said's critic Irwin, by astonishing contrast, portrays Volney as an Orientalist sharply critical of the collusion of religion and political tyranny and as one of the leading spokesmen against the French plan to invade Egypt. Irwin argues against Said that Volney was not just an opponent of Islam but of all religions, particularly of Christianity. Unlike Said, Irwin also mentions Volney's most influential book, The Ruins, which was published during the French Revolution in 1791. According to Irwin, "everybody read this book. It was a bestseller and the talk of the salons, spas and gaming rooms. Even Frankenstein's monster read it" (2006:135). But instead of enlightening the curious reader about this startling exception to Irwin's rule of little-read Orientalist dabblings -- after all, Volney's Ruins was among the most-read books of the revolutionary period and a smashing success by any standard -- Irwin complains that "no one reads Les Ruines nowadays. It is quite hard going" (p. 135). In fact, to keep our gaze on the period when attention spans were a bit longer and passions stronger, Volney's book rapidly caught the attention of a large public, and already in 1792 an anonymous English translation was published in London. Another sign of strong interest is that excerpts of the bestseller were printed in the form of broadsides and pamphlets from late 1792 on. The full English text was also widely available in pocket-sized, undated editions (Weir 2003:48). According to E. P. Thompson, the book was "more positive and challenging, and perhaps as influential, in English radical history as Paine's Age of Reason," and during the mid-1790s "the cognoscenti of the London Corresponding Society -- master craftsmen, shopkeepers, engravers, hosiers, printers -- carried [The Ruins] around with them in their pockets (Weir 2003:48). Among such craftsmen was young William Blake, one of the myriad readers influenced by Volney (pp. 48-55). Prominent statesmen were also among the admirers of the book, for example, Volney's friend Thomas Jefferson who, before his election as president of the United States of America, was so inspired by The Ruins that he took the time to translate no less than twenty of its twenty-four chapters into English and invited Volney to stay at Monticello (Chinard 1923),

According to Irwin, the key question addressed in Volney's Ruins is "why the East was so impoverished and backward compared to the West," and a large part of Volney's answer consisted in the "prevalence of despotism in the East" (2006:135). Irwin does not mention the central role of religion in Volney's revolutionary analysis. While both Said and Irwin failed to remark on the centrality of religious tyranny and of the power of religious ideology in Volney's argument, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century readers certainly did not overlook this. Religion as humankind's most fundamental value system and primary source of conflicts plays a central role in The Ruins; in fact, more than half of its total volume is taken up by the famous Orientalist's fascinating survey of the world's religions and his revolutionary analysis of the origin and genealogy of religious ideas.

Holbach's System of Nature

In 1780, the twenty-three-year-old Volney began to follow courses in Arabic given by Professor Deshauterayes of the College Royal. His teacher was known as a dogged opponent of de Guignes's farfetched theories about the Egyptian origin of the Chinese, and he also produced some translations and studies of Buddhism-related materials from Chinese.3 Volney also frequented the salon of Madame Helvetius, the widow of the famous naturalist and freethinker Claude-Adrien HELVETIUS (1717-71). In her salon, the word "atheism" -- which Bernhardus Varenius had 130 years earlier smuggled into his survey of religions -- had an entirely different, confident ring. Some Paris salons were teeming with skeptics, agnostics, and atheists, and the house of Madame Helvetius was their favorite hangout. Their bible was a two-volume book of 1770 titled le systeme de la nature that had appeared in London under the name of "Mirabaud, perpetual secretary and one of the forty members of the Academie Francaise." The name of the eminent Jean-Baptiste DE MIRABAUD (1675-1760) -- who had been in his tomb for a decade when this book was supposedly written -- was only a shield to protect the book's real author: the notorious materialist and radical Paul-Henri Dietrich, Baron D'HOLBACH (1723-1789). Holbach also happened to be a frequent visitor of Madame Helvetius's salon and became a dominating influence on young Volney.

Religion was, of course, a fashionable topic of conversation, as was the information about savages in various parts of the world that posed a continuing challenge to champions of the Bible. However, as Whiston and Lafitau and many others had proved, an author could bend the biblical narrative to a considerable degree without necessarily running the risk of being burned at the stake. In his pioneer study on the cult of fetish divinities (Du Culte des Dieux fetiches, 1760), Charles de BROSSES (1709-77) had achieved the feat of marrying primitive Africans to biblical perfection by arguing that primitive cults (such as African fetishism) only arose after the disappearance of original monotheism:

The human race had first received from God the immediate instructions adapted to the intelligence with which his goodness had equipped the humans. It is so surprising to see them subsequently fallen in a state of brute stupidity that one can hardly avoid regarding this as a just and supernatural punishment for being guilty of having forgotten the beneficial hand that had created them. (de Brosses 1760:15)

Only God's "immediate instructions," that is, divine revelation, could explain primeval monotheism since "the human spirit could not have found in itself what led it immediately to the pure principles of theism" (p. 207). De Brosses thus held that "all peoples began with correct notions of an intellectual religion that they later corrupted with the most stupid idolatries" (pp. 195-96). Looking back at the history of humanity from his perch at the apex of French academia, de Brosses saw increasing darkness and blindness pointing to an ancient common polytheism: "The most ancient memory of these people always presents polytheism as the common and ubiquitous system" (p. 204). But such common polytheism was not really the primeval human religion; rather, it was only the result of the biblical deluge: "One sees that the arts of primitive times were lost, that previously gained knowledge was buried under the waters, and that almost everywhere a pure state of barbarity reigned: natural effects of such a general and powerful revolution" (p. 204). Not unlike Giambattista VICO (1668-1744) in his Scienza nuova, de Brosses thus used the deluge as a means of marrying a secular scenario of primitivity and progress to the Christian scenario that ran exactly in the opposite direction, that is, from initial perfection to such degradation that divine intervention in the form of Jesus's incarnation became necessary.

This was a far cry from the radicalism of Baron d'Holbach, who turned this scheme of initial perfection and subsequent degeneration not just on its head but attempted to reduce it to rubble. For Holbach there was neither a paradise at the beginning of history nor a creator God; in fact, there was no beginning at all since some form of matter infused with energy had always existed and will always exist (Holbach 1770:1.26). "Had one observed nature without prejudice," he wrote, "one would have been convinced for ages that matter acts by its own force and has no need of any exterior impulsion to set it in motion" (1.22-23). Holbach thus frontally attacked the very foundation of the three Abrahamic religions:

Those who admit a cause exterior to matter are obliged to believe that this cause produced all the movement in this matter by giving it existence. This supposition is based on another, namely, that matter could begin to exist -- a hypothesis that until this moment has never been demonstrated by valid proofs. The summoning out of nothing, or creation, is no more than a word which cannot give us any idea of the formation of the universe; it has no meaning upon which the mind can rely. The notion becomes even more obscure when the creation or formation of matter is attributed to a spiritual being, that is, a being which has no analogy and no connection whatsoever with matter. (1.25-26)

Following Epicurus and Lucretius, Holbach's "nature" is eternal and inherently energetic (2:172). Instead of creation, he sees only transformations of the existing into different forms, "a transmigration, an exchange, a continuous circulation of the molecules of matter" (1:33). It is thus the inherent movement of matter, not some God, that accounts for production, growth, and alteration. From the formation of rocks inside the earth to that of suns and from the oyster to man, there is "a continuous progression, a perpetual chain of combinations and movements resulting in beings that differ among themselves only by the variety of their constituent elements and the combinations and proportions of these elements which give rise to infinitely diverse ways of existing and acting" (1.39). All constituents of the universe follow the order of nature; what may appear to be a disorder, for example, death, is in fact only a transition and a new combination of elements.4 For Holbach, everything is bound to matter infused with energy:

An intelligent being is a being that thinks, wills, and acts to achieve a goal. Now in order to think, will, and act as we do there is a need for organs and a goal that resembles ours. So, to say that nature is governed by an intelligence is to pretend that she is governed by a being equipped with organs, given that without organs there can be no perception, no idea, no intuition, no thought, no will, no plan, and no action. (1.66)

To speak of God or divinity or creation is thus only a sign of the ignorance of nature's energy; and man, supposedly the goal of creation, is only one of nature's myriad and fleeting transformations. He is an integral pan of nature obeying its universal laws of cause and effect and of self-preservation by attraction of the favorable and repulsion of me unfavorable (1:45-46). Nine decades before Charles Darwin, Holbach was not yet able to clarify man's origin and to determine whether he "has always been what he is" or "was obliged to pass through an infinity of successive developments" (1.80); due co lack of reliable data, Holbach left the question open while taking issue with the notion that man is the crown of creation:

Let us then conclude that man has no reason at all to regard himself as a privileged being in nature; he is subject to the same vicissitudes as all her other productions. His pretended prerogatives are based on an error. If he elevates himself by imagination above the globe that he inhabits and looks down upon his own species with an impartial eye, he will see that man, like every tree producing fruit in consequence of its species, acts by virtue of his particular energy and produces fruits -- actions, works -- that are equally necessary. He will feel that the illusion mat makes him favor himself arises from being simultaneously spectator and pan of the universe. He will recognize mat the idea of preeminence which he attaches to his being has no other basis than his self-interest and the predilection he has in favor of himself. (1.88-89)

But for Holbach such egoism is only natural since the goal of man, like mat of nature as a whole, is self-preservation and well-being (1.133); and the realization that this goal necessitates cooperation with others and involves the happiness of others forms the basis of morality, law, politics, and education (1.139-47). In this manner Holbach attacked not only the cosmological and religious authority of the Judeo-Christian tradition and other forms of theism bur also their exclusive claim to morality. Instead of commandments revealed on Mr. Sinai, Mosaic law, Confucian maxims, Christian catechisms, or Herbert's five common notions, Holbach proposed a universal natural basis of morality:

If man, according to his nature, is forced to desire his well-being, he is forced to love the means leading to it; it would be useless and perhaps unjust to demand that a man should be virtuous if he could only become so by rendering himself miserable. As soon as vice renders him happy, he must love vice; and if he sees inutility honored and crime rewarded, what interest would he find in working toward the happiness of his fellow creatures or restraining the fury of his passions? (I.151)

It is thus not through revealed scriptures and commandments from above that man's morality is assured but through self-interest that is healthy and informed enough to encompass fellow beings and the outside world. Gaining true ideas, that is, ideas based on nature and not imagination, is, according to Holbach, the only remedy for the ills of man (1:351). But from where do those ills originate in the first place? From illusions and false ideas; for "as soon as man's mind is filled with false ideas and dangerous opinions, his whole conduct tends to become a long chain of errors and depraved actions" (1.151). And since religion and its representatives, according to Holbach, concentrate on fostering such false ideas, they must be identified as the source of man's evils:

If we consult experience, we will see that it is in illusions and sacred opinions that we must search out the true source of that multitude of evils which almost everywhere overwhelms mankind. The ignorance of natural causes created the gods for him; imposture rendered them terrible to him; these fatal ideas haunted him without rendering him better; made him tremble without any benefit; filled his mind with chimeras; hindered the progress of his reason; and prevented him from seeking his happiness. (1.339)

The role of priestcraft in this perversion of nature was most objectionable to Holbach, and like the English deists, he loved describing the fatal results of the clergy's deception in the most graphic terms:

His fears rendered him the slave of those who deceived him under the pretext of his welfare; he committed evil when told that his gods demanded crimes; he lived in misfortune because they made him believe that the gods had condemned him to be miserable. He never dared to throw off his chains because he was given to understand that stupidity, the renunciation of reason, sloth of mind, and abjection of his soul were the sure means of obtaining eternal felicity. (1.339)

The importance of the subject of religion to Holbach is highlighted by the fact that he devoted the entire second volume of his System of Nature to it. Instead of primitive monotheism, Holbach saw a gradual development of religious cults and offered the following genealogy of monotheism:

The first theology of man was to fear and adore the elements themselves, material and coarse objects; then he extended his reverence to the agents that he imagined to preside over these elements: to powerful spirits, inferior spirits, heroes, or to men endowed with great qualities. While thinking about this, he believed he would simplify things by putting the whole of nature under the rule of a single agent, a sovereign intelligence, a spirit, a universal soul that set this nature and its parts in motion. Recurring from cause to cause, the mortals ended up seeing nothing at all, and it is in this obscurity that they placed their God. In this dark abyss their feverish imagination went on and on churning out chimeras which they will be smitten with until their knowledge of nature shall disabuse them of the phantoms that they have for so long adored in vain. (2.16)

For Holbach, theistic religion was a giant mistake; accordingly, he filled page after page of the second volume with the diagnosis of its origin, characteristics, and disastrous effects. Whether humanity had forever been on this globe or constituted a recent invention of nature that arose after one of nature's periodical revolutions: a look at the origin of various nations convinced Holbach that, contrary to the mosaic narrative, primitivity and savagery always marked the beginning (2.31). In this point he fully agreed with David Hume's analysis that was briefly mentioned in Chapter 5.

In contrast to Volney's Ruins, Holbach's System of Nature focuses on the Judeo-Christian tradition and its champions and rarely mentions other religions. Its argument aims at generality but betrays its theistically parochial nature by statements such as "all religions of the world show us God as an absolute ruler" (2.113); "all religions of the world posit a God continually occupied with rebuilding, repairing, undoing, rectifying his marvelous works" (2.115); "the thinkers of all centuries and all nations quarrel without respite ... about the attributes and qualities of a God that they have in vain occupied themselves with" (2.191); and "all nations recognize an evil sovereign God" (2.236). At any rate, what people call religion was for Holbach nothing but superstition:

By the admission even of the theologians, mankind is without religion; it only has superstitions. According to them, superstition is a badly understood and unreasonable cult of the deity: or else a cult offered to a false divinity. But where is a people or a clergy that agrees that its divinity is false and its cult unreasonable? How can one decide who is right and who is wrong? (2.291)

Only someone who freed himself of such superstition could be called truly religious; and that is exactly what Holbach understood by atheism.

What is really an atheist? It is a man who destroys the pernicious chimeras of humankind to lead the people back to nature, to experience, to reason. It is a thinker who has meditated matter, its energy, its characteristics and manners of action, and has no need of imagining ideal powers to explain the phenomena of the universe and the workings of nature. (2.320)

This was the kind of provocative discourse that evoked passionate discussions at Madame Helvetius's salon frequented by Volney and his friends. There is no doubt that Holbach's Epicurean view of nature and his radical vision of religion exerted a strong influence on Volney. But his focus on the Abrahamic religions prevented him from furnishing a panorama of religion that was truly global in scope. This was an opening for Volney. If Holbach had delivered his diagnosis in the System of Nature (1770) and presented a therapy in his Catechisme de la nature (1790), Volney offered the former in The Ruins (1791) and the latter in his Natural law or the catechism of the French people (1793).
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Part 2 of 3

The Council of Religions

In the opening scene of Volney's The Ruins, the narrator is caught in a religious mood while contemplating the ruins of Palmyra:

The solitariness of the situation, the serenity of evening, and the grandeur of the scene, impressed my mind with religious thoughtfulness. The view of an illustrious city deserted, the remembrance of past times, their comparison with the present state of things, all combined to raise my heart to a strain of sublime meditations. I sat down on the base of a column; and there, my elbow on my knee, and my head resting on my hand, sometimes turning my eyes towards the desert, and sometimes fixing them on the ruins, I fell into a profound reverie. (Volney 1796:5)

Why had this city of Palmyra and the whole region been so prosperous while the "unbelieving people" inhabited them: "the Phenician, offering human sacrifices to Moloch," the Chaldaean "prostrating himself before a serpent," the Persian "worshipper of fire," and the city's "adorers of the sun and stars, who erected so many monuments of affluence and luxury"? And why was it now, as it lay in the hands of "the elect of Heaven" and "children of the prophets" -- Christians, Muslims, and Jews -- in poverty and decay, bereft of God's "gifts and miracles" (pp. 9-10)? Was this due to some malediction, or was it decreed by the "incomprehensible judgments" of "a mysterious God" (p. 13)? Lost in such gloomy thoughts, the narrator suddenly becomes aware of a "pale apparition, enveloped in an immense drapery, similar to what spectres are painted when issuing out of the tombs." It begins to talk to him in "a hollow voice, in grave and solemn accents" (p. 14) and promises, "I will display to your view this truth of which you are in pursuit; I will show to your reason the knowledge which you desire; I will reveal to you the wisdom of the tombs, and the science of the ages" (p. 25).

Carried aloft on the wing of this apparition, the man suddenly sees the world from an entirely different viewpoint: "Under my feet, floating in empty space, a globe similar to that of the moon" (p. 25). Volney's narrator thus learns to see our planet, its peoples, their political systems, and their religions from a global perspective. The apparition explains to him that the first human beings had, in a "savage and barbarous state," been driven by "inordinate desire of accumulation" that brought with it "rapine, violence, and murder" (p. 61). In its innumerable disguises, this "spirit of rapacity" had been "the perpetual scourge of nations" and the hotbed of political as well as religious despotism and tyranny (p. 63). Political and religious oppression are portrayed as closely related: in the state of political oppression, people fell into despair and were so terrified by calamities that they "referred the causes of them to superior and invisible powers: because they had tyrants upon earth, they supposed there to be tyrants in heaven; and superstition came in aid to aggravate the disasters of nations" (p. 73). Volney's narrator thus understands the origin of those "gloomy and misanthropic systems of religion, which painted the gods malignant and envious like human despots" (p. 73), and he mentions some of the means by which the priests, those "sacred impostors," took "advantage of the credulity of the ignorant" (p. 64):

In the secrecy of temples, and behind the veil of altars, they have made the Gods speak and act; have delivered oracles, worked pretended miracles, ordered sacrifices, imposed offerings, prescribed endowments; and, under the name of theocracy and religion, the State has been tormented by the passions of the priests. (p. 64)

Religious impostors also took advantage of man's wishful thinking: frustrated by unfulfilled hopes and lack of happiness, man "formed to himself another country, an asylum, where, out of the reach of tyrants, he should regain all his rights." (p. 74)

Smitten with his imaginary world, man despised the world of nature: for chimerical hopes he neglected the reality. He no longer considered his life but as a fatiguing journey, a painful dream; his body as a prison that withheld him from his felicity; the earth as a place of exile and pilgrimage, which he disdained to cultivate. (p. 74)

Whether man projected such chimerical hopes onto a future life in the yonder or on an imagined past "which is merely the discoloration of his chagrin" (p. 106), his illusion tended to increase the baleful effects of "ignorance, superstition and fanaticism" whose continuous power is apparent in the smoke that Volney's narrator sees rising high above the battlefields of Asia where Turkish Muslims battle Christian Muscovites (pp. 77-83). Now the narrator begins to understand the basic mechanism of the deceit of humankind: impostors "who have pretended that God made man in his own image" yet in reality "made God in theirs." Ascribing him their weaknesses, errors, and vices, they pretend to be in the confidence of God and to be able to change his behavior (pp. 84-85). Instituting observances such as the Jewish sabbath, the Persian cult of fire, the Indian repetition of the word Aum, or the Muslim's ablutions (pp. 85-86), this "race of impostors" (p. 85) claims that the impartial God preferred a single sect of a single religion -- namely, theirs -- and withheld knowledge of his will to all except the prophet of their creed. It is exactly this kind of exclusive claim to absolute truth that contradicts and condemns all rival claims that, according to Volney, need to be abolished in a revolution that proclaims "equality, liberty, and justice" (p. 139).

Volney's readership could harbor no doubt that The Ruins was a revolutionary manifesto. If his subsequent booklet La loi naturelle, ou principes physiques de la morale (The Natural Law, or Physical Principles of Morality) of 1793 attempted to lay Out a course of therapy, The Ruins offered the diagnosis of the ailment. Both civil and religious tyrants had much to fear from the trinity of revolutionary values:

What a swarm of evils, cried they, are included in these three words! If all men are equal, where is our exclusive right to honours and power? If all men are, or ought to be free, what becomes of our slaves, our vassals, our property? If all are equal in a civil capacity, where are our privileges of birth and succession, and what becomes of nobility? If all are equal before God, where will be the need for mediators, and what is to become of priesthood? Ah! let us accomplish without a moment's delay the destruction of a germ so prolific and contagious! (Volney 1796:142)

In chapters 19 to 21 of The Ruins,5 Volney did his best to nurture this contagious germ of equality and freedom. He chose to do so by a confrontation of the religious opinions of humankind in a council of the chiefs of nations and representatives of religions. It is designed to "dissipate the illusion of evil habits and prejudice" (p. 144) and have the impartial light of truth enlighten all peoples of the world.

Let us terminate to day the long combat of error: let us establish between it and truth a solemn contest: let us call in men of every nation to assist us in the judgment: let us convoke a general assembly of the world; let them be judges in their own cause; and in the successive trial of every system, let no champion and no argument be wanting to the side of prejudice or of reason. (p. 145)

No sooner had the inhabitants of the earth gathered, agreed to "banish all tyranny and discord," and enthusiastically chanted the words "equality, justice, union" than the major source of conflict became apparent:

Every nation assumed exclusive pretensions, and claimed the preference for its own opinions and code. "You are in error," said the parties pointing at each other; "we alone are in possession of reason and truth; ours is the true law, the genuine rule of justice and right, the sole means of happiness and perfection; all other men are either blind or rebellious." (pp. 151-52)

The demolition of such unproven claims to exclusive possession of truth is exactly the aim of Volney's chapters 20 ("Investigation of Truth") and 21 ("Problem of Religious Contradictions"). He has representatives of each religion explain the central doctrines; but no sooner has each group laid out its tenets than its assumptions are severely criticized by representatives of other faiths.

In the thirteenth century, Roger Bacon had, in imitation of the Great Khan's open debate of religions, adopted a similar scheme of competitive argument: but he had too quickly declared victory for the Christians on the grounds that "philosophy" is in perfect accord with such doctrines as the "blessed Trinity, Christ, and the Blessed Virgin, creation of the world, angels, souls, judgment to come, life eternal, resurrection of the body, punishment in hell, and the like" (Bacon 1928:2.807). Obviously, the Jews, Muslims, and idolaters had no chance against such impeccable logic. Predictably, Bacon's argument culminated in his assertion that perfectly illustrates the attitude criticized by Volney: because "Christ is God, which is not true of Mahomet and Moses according to the testimony of even Jews and Saracens, it is evident that he alone is the perfect lawgiver, and that there should be no comparison of Moses and Mahomet or of anyone else with him" (2.814).

Volney, by contrast, lets a mass of "worshippers of Jesus" acknowledge using the same books as the Muslims and believing in "a first man, who lost the whole human race by eating an apple." Though the Christian also professes faith in a single God, he "proceeds to divide him into three persons, making each an entire and complete God" (Volney 1796:158). He believes in an omnipresent God but nevertheless is adamant that "this Being, who fills the universe, reduced himself to the stature and form of a man, and assumed material, perishable, and limited organs, without ceasing to be immaterial, eternal, and infinite" (p. 159). Not only that, the Christians are extremely divided among themselves and dispute almost everything regarding God's essence, mode of acting, and attributes (p. 159); hence, Christianity's "innumerable sects, of which two or three hundred have already perished, and three or four hundred others still exist." In Volney's universal assembly, the large Christian delegation is led by a Roman faction in "absurd and discordant" attire, followed by adherents of the Greek pontiff who dispute Roman legitimacy, Lutherans and Calvinists who accept the authority of neither, and an exotic crowd of sectarians: "the Nestorians, the Eurycheans, the Jacobites, the Iconoclasts, the Anabaptists, the Presbyterians, the Wiclifites, the Osiandrins, the Manicheans, the Pietists, the Adamites, the Enthusiasts, the Quakers, the Weepers, together with a hundred others," all "hating each other in the name of the God of peace" (p. 161) and convinced of their exclusive claim to truth, even if that means perpetrating or suffering persecution.

Volney's portraits of other religions are hardly more flattering. The Jews insist on being God's favorite people "whose perfection consists in the cutting off of a morsel of their flesh" yet reduce their almost total insignificance in terms of numbers ("this atom of people that in the ocean of mankind is but a small wave") even more by acrid dispute about fundamental tenets among its two principal sects (pp. 162-63). The disciples of Zoroaster, now feeble and dispersed, will, as soon as they pick up the broken pieces of their creed, begin to dispute anew "the literal and allegorical senses" of "the combats of Ormuz, God of light, and Ahrimanes, God of darkness" as well as good and evil genii and "the resurrection of the body, or the soul, or both" (p. 164). The Indians worship gods like "Brama, who, though the Creator of the universe, has neither followers nor temples" and is "reduced to serve as a pedestal to the Lingam" (p. 165), or "Vichenou, who, though preserver of the universe, has passed a part of his life in malevolent actions" (p. 166) -- not to speak of the Indian people's "multitude of Gods, male, female, and hermaphrodite, related to and connected with the three principal, who pass their lives in intestine war, and are in this respect imitated by their worshippers" (p. 167). The believers in the God "Budd" who worship him under many different names in numerous Asian countries -- Volney mentions China, Japan, Ceylon, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Tibet, and Siberia -- disagree about the necessary rites and ceremonies, are divided about "the dogmas of their interior and their public doctrines," and quarrel about the preeminence of incarnations of their God in Tibet and Siberia (p. 168). Volney also mentions other religions such as Japanese Shinto (p. 168), Confucianism (p. 169), the religions of the Tartars and other Siberians (pp. 169-170), and those of the "sooty inhabitants of Africa, who, while they worship their Fetiches, entertain the same opinions" as the shamans of Siberia (p. 170). But the picture is the same everywhere: the world's religions are an ideal breeding ground for division and conflict.

Like Varenius, Volney also has a special category in his lineup: people without any desire to join the colorful club of religions. However, unlike some of Varenius's atheists, they do not belong to the civilized nations:

In fine, there are a hundred other savage nations, who, entertaining none of these ideas of civilized countries respecting God, the soul, and a future state, exercise no species of worship, and yet are not less favoured with the gifts of nature, in the irreligion to which nature has destined them. (p. 171)

With this reminder of the narrator's initial question why Palmyra flourished when governed by heathen and fell into ruin while in the hands of God's faithful, Volney turns to the analysis of some of the major contradictions in the discussed religions. Rival claims of monopolies of divine revelation, proof of their truth via miracles and martyrdom, unique records of divine communication, and so on quickly show that there can be no common ground as long as everybody insists that his religion "is the only true and infallible doctrine" (p. 173). A revolution is called for.

Volney's Three Revolutions

Volney's Ruins is obviously a composite book consisting of segments that had been written separately and for different purposes. The initial ode and introductory section may stem from 1787 or earlier; in fact, the preface and the last page of Volney's 1787 travelogue already announce The Ruins. The body of the book can, I think, be associated with three revolutions that Volney was intimately involved in.

1. The Political Revolution

During the time of the book's composition, Volney became a major player in the French Revolution. He published political pamphlets, became a member of the commission for the study of the revolutionary constitution, and worked as an influential legislator (Gaulmier 1959:65-111). His political and revolutionary interests are reflected in the titles of chapters 5 ("Condition of Man in the Universe"), 6 ("Original State of Man"), 7 ("Principles of Society"), 8 ("Source of the Evils of Society"), 9 ("Origin of Government and Laws"), 10 ("General Causes of the Prosperity of Ancient States"), 11 ("General Causes of the Revolutions and Ruin of Ancient States"), 12 ("Lessons Taught by Ancient, Repeated in Modern Times"), 13 ("Will the Human Race Be Ever in a Better Condition Than at Present?"), 14 ("Grand Obstacle to Improvement"), 15 ("New Age"), 16 ("A Free and Legislative People"), 17 ("Universal Basis of All Right and All Law"), and finally chapter 18 ("Consternation and Conspiracy of Tyrants"), which ends with the convocation of a general assembly of religions. This entire group of chapters is related to Volney's political and legislative activities during the French Revolution and appears to have been written between the revolution's first climax in 1789 when Volney became member of the representative assembly of the three estates (Etats generaux) and 1790 when he was elected to the influential position of secretary of the National Constituent Assembly.

2. The Religious Revolution

The work of eighteenth-century luminaries like Pierre Bayle, Voltaire, the French encyclopedists, Buffon, Hume, Helvetius, Holbach, and Charles Francois Dupuis contributed to the erosion of biblical authority and helped in creating a revolutionary picture of religions, their origin, and their role. Christianity and its Jewish parent came to be seen as peculiar varieties of Mediterranean religions and their scriptures as repositories of local myths that were not only younger but also in many ways inferior to their Asian competitors (see Chapter 1). Our quick survey has already shown how modern Volney's conception of religion appears in comparison even with that of Holbach. The Ruins marks a decisive stage in what W. C. Smith has called the "reification" of religion -- a stage in which even the deist attachment to a creator God evaporated and Christianity lost its incomparability. It now became an object of impartial study as an exemplar of "religion in general" (Smith 1991:43-49) whose sacred scriptures and doctrines, just like those of any other cult, had to undergo critical scrutiny and comparison. Thus, Volney's assembly of religions had to begin with the agreement to "seek truth, as if none of us had possession of it" (Volney 1796:172).

It has recently been claimed that the "construction of 'religion' and 'religions' as global, cross-cultural objects of study has been part of a wider historical process of western imperialism, colonialism, and neocolonialism" (Fitzgerald 2000:8) and that the origin of modern comparative religions or the science of religion can be located between 1859 and 1869 (Sharpe 1986:27)

Fitzgerald's point that much of the field of "religious studies" is still theology in disguise is valid; but it helps to investigate such issues in a broader historical and cultural context.6 Volney's Ruins and the other case studies of this book illustrate both the complexity of processes at work and the very limited usefulness of bumper sticker labels such as "western imperialism" and "colonialism."

In the second half of the eighteenth century, Europe's confrontation with an increasingly complex world and an exploding history triggered an extraordinary amount of thought about the origin of things. Academies held essay contests about the origin of inequality among men (inspiring Jean- Jacques Rousseau's first philosophical work in 1755) or the origin of language (won by J. G. Herder in 1772); among European historians and philosophers, it became fashion to inquire about the origins of just about anything. For example, in 1758, Antoine-Yves Goguet published three volumes of his thoughts On the origin of laws, the arts, and sciences and their progress among the ancients; in 1773, the first volume of Antoine Court de Gebelin's 9-volume set of studies on the primeval world appeared; in 1777, Jean-Sylvain Bailly published his letters to Voltaire about the origin of sciences and their Asian inventors; and in 1781, Dupuis offered to the public his analysis on the origin of star constellations, which had such a profound impact on Volney and his Ruins.

In this environment, it was only natural that the origin of religion should also be a question of great interest. Volney addressed it in Chapter 22 of The Ruins ("Origin and Genealogy of Religious Ideas") which is disproportionately large (13 subsections). Chapter 22 appears to have been written as a separate essay under the influence of Holbach, Helvetius, and Dupuis before 1787. It fits awkwardly into the narrative; it seems as if a drab professor of religious studies took over the speaker's podium to lecture the representatives of the world's religions on his pet theory about the origin of religions. He is only occasionally interrupted by representatives of the world's religions muttering a few words of protest when one of the pillars of their faith gets reduced to astrological hocus pocus.

In spite of such stylistic problems, Volney's ideas about the origin of religions and of religious ideas are of great interest. Like David HUME'S (1711- 76) account in The Natural History of Religion (1757) and the second volume of Holbach's Systeme de La nature (1770), Volney's history of religion begins with an "original barbarous state of mankind" (Volney 1796:224). He explains:

If you take a retrospect of the whole history of the spirit of religion, you will find, that in its origin it had no other author than the sensations and wants of man: that the idea of God had no other type, no other model, than that of physical powers, material existences, operating good or evil, by impressions of pleasure or pain on sensible beings. You will find that in the formation of every system, this spirit of religion pursued the same track, and was uniform in its proceedings; that in all, the dogma never failed to represent, under the name of God, the operations of nature and the passions and prejudices of man; that in all, morality had for its sole end, desire of happiness and aversion to pain. (p. 295)

In stark contrast to the usual perfection-fall-redemption scheme of Christian theologians, Volney's genealogy of religions traces humanity's tortuous path from total primitivity toward advanced theistic superstition and religious despotism -- a state that cries out for a revolution and a new catechism for the citizen. The Ruins is the manifesto for this revolution, and Volney's catechism (which he called the "second part" of The Ruins) proposes a "geometry of morals" that reduces God's role to the provision of natural law (Volney 1826:1.253).

Volney thus offers a rather bleak vision of the nature and history of religion. The Ruins's representative of "those who had made the origin and genealogy of religious ideas their peculiar study" (p. 297) regards the entire history of religion as "merely that of the fallibility and uncertainty of the human mind, which, placed in a world that it does not comprehend, is yet desirous of solving the enigma" (pp. 295-96). Thus, ignorant men invent causes, suppose ends, build systems, and create "chimeras of heterogeneous and contradictory beings," losing themselves "in a labyrinth of torments and delusions" while "ever dreaming of wisdom and happiness" (p. 296).



Sequence 1791 edition / Ruins Part / Chapter / Pages / Notes pages / Note density

Before 1785- ca. 1787 / Ode, introduction / 1-3 / vii-32 (38 pp.) / 8 / ca. 21% of text
Prob. before 1788 events / Genealogy of religions / 22 / 218-296 (78 pp.) / 34.5 / ca. 44% of text
ca. 1789-90 / Revolution-related / 5-18 / 33-145 (112 pp.) / 8 / ca. 7% of text
ca. 1790-91 / Assembly of religions / 19-21 / 146-217 (71 pp.) / 14.5 / ca. 20% of text
ca. 1790-91 / Geography; notes & revisions / 4, 22, etc. / -- / -- / --

Volney's view of Christianity, which radicalizes Dupuis's outlook, has a particularly revolutionary tint. The title of the longest subsection of Volney's genealogy of religious ideas, section 13, ominously reads "Christianity, or the allegorical worship of the Sun, under the cabalistical names of Chris-en or Christ, and Yes-us or Jesus" (p. 283). Volney not only reduces major elements of Christian dogma to features of sidereal worship but declares that the Savior himself, Jesus of Nazareth, represents a solar myth and must thus be regarded as a mythological rather than a historical figure. The Christians may have faith in their Son of God, "this restorer of the divine or celestial nature" who in his infancy led "a mean, humble, obscure, and indigent life," but Volney's professor mercilessly demythologizes their belief:

By which was meant, that the winter sun was humbled, depressed below the horizon, and that this first period of his four ages, or the seasons, was a period of obscurity and indigence, of fasting and privation. (p. 292)

3. The Orientalist Revolution

As mentioned above, Volney's essay on the origin and genealogy of religious ideas (chapter 22 of The Ruins) appears to have been written earlier than chapters 19, 20, and 21 on the assembly of religions. In his 1791 preface (1796:iii), Volney notes that he had formed the plan of The Ruins "nearly ten years ago," around the time of his travels in the Middle East (December 1782 to April 1785) and that his work was already "in some forwardness when the events of 1788 in France interrupted it" (p. iii). Such information, along with data gained from the analysis of Volney's sources, discrepancies in style, annotation density, and content of specific pans of The Ruins (shown in Table 18) suggests the genealogy of the text.

Of special interest in our context are some important discrepancies in Volney's view of Asian religions between the earlier "Genealogy of religions" (chapter 22) and the later "Assembly of religions" (chapters 19-21). They mainly concern his abandonment of Egypt as the geographical location of humanity's cradle. This is a symptom of a revolution that involved, as we have seen, a deepening crisis of biblical authority and new scenarios for humankind's origin based on the study of Asian antiquities and texts. Since the mid-seventeenth century, questions about the authenticity of the Bible and particularly its first chapters by the likes of Isaac LA PEYRERE (1596-1676) and Baruch SPINOZA (1632-77) grew louder; and in 1753, four years before Volney's birth, the Frenchman Jean ASTRUC (1684-1766) presented a detailed analysis of the glaring inconsistencies pointing to multiple authors and textual layers of the Pentateuch. The growing realization that the Pentateuch was a local myth of origin rather than a universal history went hand in hand with the study of Asian tens whose claim to antiquity seemed formidable. Alternative narratives of origin began to be explored, and many of them were based on reputedly very ancient Oriental sources. The Ruins was written at an important juncture of this revolution, and its layers reflect three distinct phases.

The earliest layer, Volney's "genealogy of religions" (chapter 22), still shows little influence of contemporary scholarship on non-Islamic Asian religions. It cites only three, rather dated, sources: Kircher's Oedipus Aegyptiacus (1654), Hyde's Historia religionis veterum persarum (1700), and Beausobre's Histoire critique de Manichee et du manicheisme (1734).

The second layer (the "assembly of religions" section, chapters 19-21), by contrast, refers to more recent sources. Apart from Engelbert Kaempfer's study of Siamese and Japanese religions (1729) Volney here cites the history of the Huns by de Guignes (1756), Giorgi's Alphabetum Tibetanum (1762), Holwell's Interesting historical events (1765-71), Mailla's History of China (1777-83), the Ezour vedam (1778), and Sonnerat's voyages (1782). Volney certainly also used Dow's History of Hindostan and materials by his compatriot Anquetil-Duperron but pointedly included no reference to them. At the time of writing The Ruins, Volney must have heard that the first two volumes of the Asiatick Researches were published in Calcutta in 1788 and 1790. However, he had not yet gained access to this new source, which was to ring in a new phase of the European discovery of Asia's religions. Apart from the first published translation of a genuine Indian classic, Charles Wilkins's Bhagvat Geeta (1785), Volney may also have consulted Francis Gladwin's Asiatic Miscellany/ But The Ruins was published just before the Asiatick Researches and other new English sources became available on the European continent. Volney wrote,

Scarcely even is the Asiatic Miscellany known in Europe, and a man must be very learned in oriental antiquity before he so much as hears of the Jones's, the Wilkins's and the Halhed's, &c. As to the sacred books of the Hindoos, all that are yet in our hands are the Bhagvat Geeta, the Ezour-Vedam, the Bagavadam, and certain fragments of the Chastres printed at the end of the Bhagvat Geeta. These books ate in Indostan what the Old and New Testament are in Christendom, the Koran in Turkey, the Sad-der and the Zendavesta among the Parses, &c. (p. 351)

The third layer consists of the changes that Volney made to The Ruins between 1816 and his death in 1820. They were incorporated in the version published as part of his collected works in 1826. Volney mainly eliminated notes that had become outdated, revised old notes, and added new ones that exhibit his continued to search on Asian religions and growing interest in Buddhism. The changes in Volney's view of this religion, which will be discussed below, represent significant signposts of the third major revolution that took place in Volney's lifetime: the revolution triggered and sustained by the work of orientalists and the beginnings of organized, state-supported Orientalism.

Renaissances and Origins

The first phase of the Orientalist revolution that, as was shown in Chapter I, saw India gradually move to center stage, shows surprising parallels to aspects of the Italian Renaissance three centuries earlier. The Italian Renaissance had also been inspired by antiquity and obsessed with origins, and the hermetic texts -- supposedly the world's most ancient works by Hermes Trismegistos, the inventor of writing -- were naturally of great interest. In 1460, while Marsilio FICINO (1433-99) was translating the books of another major inspiration of the Renaissance, Plato, his sponsor Cosimo de Medici convinced him to render the hermetic texts into Latin first. Ficino's translation was finished in 1463 and published in 1471 under the title of Pimander. Ficino's preface called Hermes Trismegistos "the first theologian" and "the first philosopher who turned from natural and mathematical subjects to the contemplation of the divine" and situates him at the beginning of a line of esoteric transmission leading to Pythagoras and Plato (Ebeling 2005:92).

Already in the sixteenth century doubts were aired about the authenticity of the Pimander (pp. 130-31), but even in the early 1700s when it became common knowledge that these texts were for the most part products of the first Christian centuries (Nock and Festugieee 1960), the hermetic renaissance continued in the writings of men like Kircher and Ralph Cudworth as well as the arcane doctrines of Rosicrucians, alchemists, and freemasons.

In the second half of the eighteenth century, a very similar mechanism was at work: Europeans were once more confronting the Orient and were in search of their identity and origin. But this time the Orient was -- thanks to many missionaries, travelers, traders, and scholars -- much larger and more diverse. As more information about the world and its peoples accumulated and the biblical narrative gradually lost credibility, humanity's past seemed murkier than ever. The French encyclopedists "kept repeating that all the sciences, all the arts, all human wisdom had been invented in Egypt," and they often linked their view of Egypt as the cradle of humanity to a portrayal of the Hebrews as "a gross, brutal, uncultivated, unlearned people" (Hubert 1923:42). However, thanks in part to Voltaire's provocative publications (see Chapter 1), during the 1760s and 1770s India became the new focus of interest in the search for beginnings. Could the Vedas and other ancient texts of India throw a ray of light into the darkness of antiquity?

It is obvious that the "oriental renaissance" of the nineteenth century described by Schwab (1950) had roots that stretched deep into the eighteenth-century orientalist revolution with its decisive rum toward India and "Indian" texts. The authenticity and age of these texts were as vastly overestimated as those of the hermetic texts during the Italian Renaissance three centuries earlier. Both renaissances began with a phase of intensive discovery of remote antiquity that was riddled with mistaken assumptions, questionable sources, farfetched conclusions, and claims that today seem utterly ridiculous; yet both produced an explosion of interest in ancient history, art, languages and texts that ended up working wonders for art, philology, and the humanities in general.8 Works like Sinner's Metempsychosis of 1771, Raynal's Histoire philosophique of 1773, Voltaire's Fragmens sur l'Inde of 1774, Herder's Ideen (1784-91), and Volney's Ruins of 1791 mark a crucial phase of excited discovery preceding the arrival of the first copies of Asiatick Researches on the European continent. As the works just mentioned illustrate, this was a period when the cradle of humanity made a decisive move from the Eastern Mediterranean region toward India and the Himalayas. Here we will focus on a particularly poignant reflection of this process in Volney's Ruins: the evolution of the French Orientalist's image of Buddhism.

Volney's image of Buddhism evolved in three phases. The first phase is reflected in the early "genealogy of religions" section of The Ruins (Chapter 22) written before the French Revolution. In this first phase, Volney saw Buddhism as an offshoot of Egyptian cults. In the second phase, the "assembly of religions" section of The Ruins (chapters 19-21), Buddhism is portrayed as a pan-Asian religion with a variety of exoteric and esoteric teachings expounded by representatives of various countries. The third phase, stretching over a quarter-century from Volney's 1795 public lectures to his revisions of The Ruins before his death in 1820, is characterized by his study of new information by British Orientalists and new theories about the identity and history of Buddhism.
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Re: The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

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Part 3 of 3

From Egyptian Buddhism to Oriental Paganism

In the initial phase, as reflected in the "genealogy of religions" section of The Ruins, all religions including those of Asia still are firmly tooted in Egypt:

And this, O nations of India, Japan, Siam, Thibet, and China, is the theology, which, invented by the Egyptians, has been transmitted down and preserved among yourselves, in the pictures you give of Brama, Beddou, Sommanacodom, and Omito.9 (Volney 1796:271)

However, this view of a connection at the toot did not imply identity of the branches. As we have seen in previous chapters, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the idea of an Egyptian "toot" gave a feeling of unity to Asian "branches" that is missing from today's perspective; but this should not be occasion to commit what Montesquieu called the cardinal sin of the historian, namely, to project modern knowledge on the past.

In this section, Volney's description of Buddhism follows that of Zoroastrianism, which "revived and moralized among the Medes and Bactrians the whole Egyptian system of Osiris, under the names of Ormuzd and Ahrimanes," and "only consecrated the already existing reveries of the mystic system" (p. 281). In this respect, "Budoism, or the religion of the Samaneans," appeared to be very similar:

In the same rank must be included the promulgators of the sepulchral doctrine of the Samaneans, who, on the basis of the metempsychosis, raised the misanthropic system of self-renunciation and denial, who, laying it down as a principle, that the body is only a prison where the soul lives in impure confinement; that life is but a dream, an illusion, and the world a place of passage to another country, to a life without end; placed virtue and perfection in absolute insensibility, in the abnegation of physical organs, in the annihilation of being: whence resulted the fasts, penances, macerations, solitude, contemplations, and all the deplorable practices of the mad-headed Anchorets (sic). (p. 282)10

"Brahminism," which is discussed immediately after this critical portrait of "Budoism," is "of the same cast" since its founders only refined Zoroaster's dualism into a "trinity in unity" of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu (pp. 282-83). These sections on Buddhism and Brahmanism are followed by Volney's discussion of Christianity (pp. 283-96), which characterizes the religion as an allegorical worship of the sun and equally links it to Egypt. Volney's genealogy of religions section (chapter 22 of The Ruins) clearly shows that at this stage he regarded all major religions as developments of ancient Egyptian cults.

The chapter's separate sections about "Budoism" and "Braminism" show that Volney distinguished these two religions. In the second phase, reflected in the "assembly of religions" section (chapters 19-21), this distinction gains profile. Here he clearly identifies "Budoism" as a single creed holding sway over many Asian countries from Tibet to Japan. It reportedly centers on "one God, who, under various names, is acknowledged by the nations of the East." They all "agree as to most points of his history" and celebrate events of his life while fundamentally disagreeing on doctrines and practices" (pp. 167-68). Though Volney does not yet use the modern spelling of this religion's name, the appellations of its "God" leave no doubt as to its identity:

The Chinese worship him under the name of Fot; the Japanese denominate him Budso; the inhabitants of Ceylon, Beddhou; the people of Laos, Chekia; the Peguan, Phta; the Siamese, Sommona-Kodom; the people of Thibet, Budd and La; all of them agree as to most points of his history; they celebrate his penitence, his sufferings, his fasts, his functions of mediator and expiator, the enmity of another God his adversary, the combats of that adversary and his defeat. (pp. 167-68)

Volney's Buddhism

In Volney's time, the reification of religion took on a whole new dimension when the incomparability of Christianity gradually waned. As Christianity became just another religion and its sacred scriptures came to be seen as examples of Middle Eastern mythography and legend formation, the mechanisms operative in the formation and history of religions gathered interest. Volney's chapter 22 on the origin and genealogy of religious ideas is firmly tooted in Charles-Francois DUPUIS'S (1742-18°9) new theory that sought to explain "the origin of all cults" (Dupuis 1781, 1795).

All the theological dogmas respecting the origin of the world, the nature of God, the revelation of his laws, the manifestation of his person, are but recitals of astronomical facts, figurative and emblematical narratives of the motion and influence of the heavenly bodies. (Volney 1796:223)

The origin of religious ideas lies thus not in a divine "miraculous revelation of an invisible world" (p. 223) but rather in human observation of nature and primitive ways of understanding and representing it. Human beginnings were not blessed with divine wisdom; rather, as all histories and legends proved, man was savage in an "original barbarous state" (pp. 224, 357) and only gradually "learned from repeated trials the use of his organs" (p. 226). Only after "a long career in the night of history" did he begin to "perceive his subjection to forces superior to his own and independent of his will," such as the sun, fire, wind, and water (pp. 226-27). Volney traced the process of man's gradual rise, his representation of the incomprehensible powers of nature through emblems and hieroglyphs, the origin of religious specialists, the beginnings of agriculture, the development of a system of astronomy and almanacs, and eventually the idea of gods as physical beings (pp. 227-35). Like Dupuis, he rejected the Bible-based chronology and voted for significantly longer time spans, as well as Egyptian toots of astronomy and organized religion:

Should it be asked at what epoch this system took birth, we shall answer, supported by the authority of the monuments of astronomy itself, that its principles can be traced back with certainty to a period of nearly seventeen thousand years. Should we farther be asked to what people or nation it ought to be attributed, we shall reply, that those self-same monuments, seconded by unanimous tradition, attribute it to the first tribes of Egypt. (p. 235)

When Volney wrote his genealogy of religious ideas in the 1780s, he still criticized Jean-Sylvain Bailly for placing the cradle of humanity somewhere in Siberia (p. 361). For him, the first humans needed a place "in the vicinity of the tropic, equally free from the rains of the equator, and the fogs of the north" (p. 235). At that time Volney did nor doubt that it was "upon the distant shores of the Nile, and among a nation of sable complexion, that the complex system of the worship of the stars, as connected with the produce of the soil and the labours of agriculture, was constructed" (p. 236). It was also in Egypt "at a period anterior to the positive recitals of history" (p. 278) that the "complex power of Nature, in her two principal operations of production and destruction" was first projected into a "chimerical and abstract being," a development that Volney regarded as "a true delirium of the mind beyond the power of reason at all to comprehend" (p. 277). The ideas of an immortal soul and of transmigration were also linked to this notion of a power of nature or world soul (p. 273), and Egypt thus appeared as the mother of the world's major religions: "Such, O Indians, Budsoists, Christians, Mussulmans, was the origin of all your ideas of the spirituality of the soul!" (p. 277). Combining ideas from Maimonides's Guide for the Perplexed about early Sabean sidereal worship with the genealogies of Dupuis and Holbach, Volney envisioned a large tree of religions with Egyptian toots. His genealogy features separate sections for five major branches of this tree: the religions of Moses and Zoroaster, "Budoism," "Braminism, or the Indian system," and "Christianity, or the allegorical worship of the Sun."

One of humankind's imagined divine beings was Volney's Buddha. While the "genealogy of religions" section had little to say of his "sepulchral doctrine of the Samaneans" that regards the body as a prison and life as a dream (p. 282), the "assembly of religions" chapters and especially its notes present a later, much more elaborate layer of Volney's views. As mentioned above, that second layer reflects his views in 1791 after he had studied a range of new sources about Asian religions, and it represents a marked advance over the view expressed in the earlier "genealogy of religions" section of The Ruins. In the "assembly of religions" section (chapters 19-21) that represents the second layer, Buddhism is presented as a pan-Asian religion deeply split by "the dogmas of their interior and their public doctrine" (p. 168). Volney identifies this religion via its central figure of worship and through the similarity of the founder's biographical details in various countries. He locates Buddhism in China, Japan, Ceylon, Laos, Pegu (Burma), Thailand (Siam), Tibet, and Tartary (pp. 167-69). If Jesus was for Volney a mythological rather than a historical figure, the same was true of the founder of Buddhism. He associates him with Kircher's "orphic egg" (p. 270; Kircher 1654:2.205):

The original name of this God is Baits, which in Hebrew signifies an egg. The Arabs pronounce in Baidh, giving to the dh an emphatic sound which makes it approach to dz. (p. 345)

According to Volney (who transposed an idea of Henry Lord, Kircher and La Croze into a different key), the "world egg" cosmogony was a major element of Egyptian influence on Asia. During the discussions in the assembly of religions, Volney has a "Lama of Thibet" explain this cosmogony. Volney drew its first part from de Guignes's History of the Huns (1756:1/ 2.225-26):

"In the beginning," said he [the Lama of Thibet], "there was one God, self-existent, who passed through a whole eternity, absorbed in the contemplation of his own reflections, ere he determined to manifest those perfections to created beings, when he produced the matter of the world." (Volney 1796:205)

The next part of the Lama's account in The Ruins stems from Henry Lord's cosmogony of the Banians (163°:2), which, as Volney notes (1796:352), is said to be of Egyptian origin:

The four elements, at their production, lay in a state of mingled confusion, till he breathed upon the face of the waters, and they immediately became an immense bubble, shaped like an egg, which when complete became the vault or globe of the heavens in which the world is inclosed. (p. 205)

Volney's Tibetan Lama asserts that "God, the source of motion" gave each living being "as a living soul a portion of his substance" that never perishes but "merely changes its form and mould as it passes successively into different bodies" (p. 205). He informs the assembly that God's "greatest and most solemn incarnation was three thousand years ago, in the province of Cassimere, under the name of For or Beddou, for the purpose of teaching the doctrine of self-denial and self-annihilation" (p. 206). The Lama then reads some excerpts from de Guignes's translation of the Forty-Two Sections Sutra to the representatives of the world's religions (pp. 207-8). Volney's notes leave no doubt that he regarded this founder to be a mythological figure like Zoroaster: "The eastern writers in general agree in placing the birth of Bedou 1027 years before Jesus Christ, which makes him the cotemporary (sic) of Zoroaster, with whom, in my opinion, they confound him" (p. 353).

Based on a variety of ancient sources and stretching de Guignes's argument, Volney saw Zoroaster as identical with the mythical Egyptian Hermes -- which brings also Bedou into the Egyptian fold and is "supported" by a another deathbed confession story:

It is certain that his [Hermes's] doctrine notoriously existed at that epoch: it is found entire in that of Orpheus, Pythagoras, and the Indian gymnosophists .... If, as is the case, the doctrine of Pythagoras and that of Orpheus are of Egyptian origin, that of Bedou goes back to the common source; and in reality the Egyptian priests recite that Hermes, as he was dying, said: "I have hitherto lived an exile from my country, to which I now return. Weep not for me, I ascend to the celestial abode, where each of you will follow in his rum: there God is: this life is only death." (p. 353)

Additionally, the much-cited coincidence that the day in the middle of the week was associated with Hermes and Buddha (as an avatar of Vishnu) quickly led Volney to the expected conclusion:

Such was the profession of faith of the Samaneans, the sectaries of Orpheus, and the Pythagoreans. Farther, Hermes is no other than Bedou himself; for among the Indians, Chinese, Lamas, &c. the planet Mercury, and the corresponding day of the week (Wednesday) bear the name of Bedou: and this accounts for his being placed in the rank of mythological beings, and discovers the illusion of his pretended existence as a man, since it is evident that Mercury was not a human being, but the Genius or Decan .... Now Bedou and Hermes being the same names, it is manifest of what antiquity is the system ascribed to the former. (pp. 353-54)

Inspired by a suggestion of de Guignes, Volney also drew another group into the circle: the shamans of "Tartary, China, and India" who are famous for their mortifications. Their system "is the same as that of the sectaries of Orpheus, of the Essenians, of the ancient Anchorets of Persia and the whole Eastern country" (p. 354). Out of this potent ancient Oriental matrix grew the entire sacred literature:

That is to say, pious romances formed out of the sacred legends of the Mysteries of Mithra, Ceres, Isis, &c.; from whence are equally derived the books of the Hindoos and the Bonzes. Our missionaries have long remarked a striking resemblance between those books and the Gospels. M. Wilkins expressly mentions it in a note in the Bhagvat-Geeta. All agree that Krisna, Fot, and Jesus, have the same characteristic features; but religious prejudice has stood in the way of drawing from this circumstance the proper and natural inference. To time and reason must it be left to display the truth. (p. 356)

The inference, of course, was that they are all branches of the same myth, as Dupuis had so eloquently suggested. Sacred literature had little religious appeal for Volney, and recent translations from ancient Persian and Sanskrit such as Anquetil-Duperron's Zend Avesta (1771), the Ezour-vedam (1778), Wilkins's Bhagvat Geeta (1785), and the Bagavadam (1788) did not impress him:

When I have taken an extensive survey of their contents, I have sometimes asked myself, what should be the loss to the human race if a new Omar condemned them to the flames; and unable to discover any mischief that would ensue, I call the imaginary chest that contains them, the box of Pandora. (p. 351)

As his catechism for the citizen shows, Volney had a rather different idea of religion. But like other Europeans studied in this book, he also projected his own religion on ancient Asia and chose to put at least part of it into the mouth of Buddhist monks. When the participants in The Ruins's council of religions fail to come to a common understanding after protracted discussions and presentations, "a groupe of Chinese Chamans, and Talapoins of Siam came forward, pretending that they could easily adjust every difference, and produce in the assembly a uniformity of opinion" (pp. 209-10). They explained that they had an e1eganr way of accounting for differences by calling them "exterior" and could overcome such differences by recourse to an underlying "esoteric" core. Volney explains in a note:

The Budsoists have two doctrines, the one public and ostensible, the other interior and secret, precisely like the Egyptian priests. It may be asked, why this distinction? It is, that as the public doctrine recommends offerings, expiations, endowments, &c. the priests find their profit in teaching it to the people; whereas the other, teaching the vanity of worldly things, and attended with no lucre, it is thought proper to make it known only to adepts. (p. 356)

Volney, the revolutionary sworn to equality and fraternity -- and the author of a new law expropriating the French Church -- could not but harshly criticize this tactic: "Can the teachers and followers of this religion, be better classed than under the heads of knavery and credulity?" But in his narrative he needed representatives from somewhere to present an atheist viewpoint to the assembly; and who was better equipped for this delicate task than the "Chinese Chamans, and Talapoins of Siam," the supposed experts of the Buddha's secret doctrine? The triangular connection between "esoteric" Buddhists, ancient atheists like Epicurus and Lucretius, and modern thinkers accused of the same vice -- particularly Spinoza -- had long been made by the likes of Jean Le Clerc (1657-1736) and Pierre BAYLE (1647-1706). In The Ruins, Volney thus decided to use these Chinese and Siamese Buddhists as stand-ins for Holbach and himself. He has them explain:

The soul is merely the vital principle resulting from the properties of matter, and the action of the elements in bodies, in which they create a spontaneous movement. To suppose that this result of organization, which is born with it, developed with it, sleeps with it, continues to exist when organization is no more, is a romance that may be pleasing enough, but that is certainly chimerical. God himself is nothing more than the principal mover, the occult power diffused through every thing that has being, the sum of its laws and its properties, the animating principle, in a word, the soul of the universe; which, by reason of the infinite diversity of its connections and operations, considered sometimes as simple and sometimes as multiple, sometimes as active and sometimes as passive has ever presented to the human mind an insolvable enigma. (Volney 1796:211)

In this way these Buddhists become advocates of a God that very much resembles that of Volney's work of 1793, the Catechism of the Citizen, which he regarded as the second part of The Ruins. Its first precept is the belief in a natural law inherent in the existence of things, and the second advocates the faith that this law "comes without mediation from God and is presented by him to each human being" (Volney 1826:1.253). This un mediated law becomes apparent when one "meditates on the properties and attributes of each being, the admirable order and harmony of their movements" and thus arrives at the realization that "a supreme agent exists, a universal and identical engine, which is designated by the name of GOD" (1.257). Volney instructs the revolutionary citizen that "the partisans of natural law" [les sectateurs de la loi naturelle] are by no means atheists: "On the contrary, they have stronger and more noble ideas about the divinity than the majority of other people" (1.257). The esoteric Chinese and Siamese monks of The Ruins couch their doctrine in a somewhat different terminology, but there is no doubt that they represent Volney and some of his radical friends when they say,

What we can comprehend with the greatest perspicuity is, that matter does not perish; that it possesses essential properties, by which the world is governed in a mode similar to that of a living and organised being; that, with respect to man, the knowledge of its laws is what constitutes his wisdom; that in their observance consist virtue and merit; and evil, sin, vice, in the ignorance and violation of them; that happiness and misfortune are the respective result of this observance or neglect, by the same necessity that occasions light substances to ascend, heavy ones to fall, and by a fatality of causes and effects, the chain of which extends from the smallest atom to the stars of greatest magnitude and elevation. (Volney 1796:211-12)

Whereas William Jones detected his favorite brand of mystical Neoplatonism in the writings of Kayvanites, Sufis, and Vedantins and came to regard their teachings as vestiges of the purest and oldest monotheism expressed in Vedic prayers (App 2009), Volney found some of the basic precepts of his own revolutionary catechism in the giant heap of superstition that the world calls its religious systems.

Exploding Horizons

When in the mid-1790s his reduced duties as a revolutionary lawmaker left Volney more time for study and he gained access to the first volumes of Asiatick Researches, he realized that he had still been caught in a rather parochial, Bible-influenced and Mediterranean-centered view of origins. In his second public lecture of 1795, the newly elected history professor of the Ecole Normale criticized the so-called universal histories for being partial histories of some peoples and families.

Our European classics wanted to speak to us only of the Greeks, Romans, and Jews: because we are, if not the descendants, then at least the heirs of these peoples with regard to the civil and religious laws, language, sciences, territory; which makes it apparent to me that history has not yet been treated with the universality that is needed. (Volney 1825:7.8-9)

Volney criticized Goguet for having based his famous study about the origin of jurisdiction, the arts, and the sciences (1758) on the events of the Bible's book of Genesis and for having failed to realize that Judaism was based on a far older cult. Readers familiar with the arguments of The Ruins would now expect to hear a rehash of Volney's ideas about Egyptian origins. But between 1791 and 1795, one more revolution had taken place, and Volney's numerous students at the Ecole Normale must have been stunned to learn that Judaism's roots were to be found not in Egypt but in "a Druidic and Tartar cult, which at the time was observed from the pillars of Hercules to China-a cult which is none other than the system of buddisme, that is, the ancient and modern lamaisme whose seat has since then been in Tibet, the home of the Brachmanes reputed throughout antiquity to have been the fathers of Asian theology" (Volney 1825.7.99)!

What in the world had happened to Egypt? Volney had "followed the English writers," the experts on India, into "the profundities of the history of mankind" (7:109) and had also learned to better appreciate the ideas of Jean-Sylvain Bailly (see Chapter 5), which he now found filled with "critical acumen" and "profundity" (7.99). Based on the researches of these writers, a new and more universal view of history was called for:

One used to only occupy oneself with the Greeks and Romans, following slavishly a narrow and exclusive method which relates everything to the system of a small people of Asia [the Jews] that was unknown in antiquity, and to the system of Herodotus whose scope is infinitely narrow; one wanted to see only Egypt, Greece, and Italy, as if the universe consisted of this small domain; and as if the history of these minor peoples were something other than a feeble and late branch of history of all mankind. (7-108-9)

This sounds like something Voltaire could have uttered half a century earlier; but times had changed. In J790, the Orientalist Louis-Mathieu LANGLES (J763-J824) dated to state in print that, in his opinion, the Pentateuch was "an abridgment of Egyptian books, the original of which still exists in India, where literature was cultivated long before Egypt was made habitable by the labour of men" (Langles 1790a:15; trans. Priestley J799:4). The scientist and unitarian theologian Joseph Priestley, was motivated by this statement and by Dupuis's system to read everything available on Indian religion, and to write A Comparison of the Institutions of Moses with those of the Hindoos and other Ancient Nations; with remarks on Mr. Dupuis's Origin of all Religions (1799). He was shocked to learn that it had become acceptable to propose openly in Paris that biblical authority was irrelevant -- and be rewarded for it with the directorship of the newly founded Ecole Speciale des Langues Orientales Vivantes! The choice of Langles was highly significant since he was nor only a fierce critic of biblical authority but also a staunch advocate of Indian origins who in 1790 had published the following proclamation which is proof of Voltaire's influence on orientalists:

May I be permitted to support a system that Mr de Voltaire conceived before me, and with which I have become thoroughly acquainted nor only by reading the works of this great writer but also by my study of Greek and oriental authors. I believe like him that the Chinese and the Egyptians are the pupils of the Indians who went to learn their sciences and arts from them. Thus I am not at all surprised that scholars of most profound erudition regarded the Chinese as an Egyptian colony. The conformities between these two people could inspire an idea of such a system and thus does not seem at all unreasonable. But by going a few steps further these scholars could have avoided the objections their opinion evoked: what was needed was the assignment of a common origin to the Chinese and the Egyptians through which the connections between these two people explain themselves very naturally. India, situated between China and Egypt, must have been me origin of the knowledge transmitted to both of these regions. (Langles 1790a:iv)

As director of Europe's first school of modern Orientalism and curator of Europe's most important collection of oriental manuscripts, Langles became one of the heralds of modern Orientalism, who made the first Sanskrit lessons in Europe by Alexander Hamilton possible, helped Friedrich Schlegel make a start in Persian and Indian studies, managed the translation project of the first volumes of Asiatick Researches into French, collaborated with Hamilton on the catalogization of Oriental manuscripts for the National Library, and did much more. A new age of Orientalism was dawning whose founding manifestos were the first volumes of Asiatick Researches and their translator Langles's address to the French National Assembly about "The Importance of Oriental Languages for the Extension of Commerce and the Progress of Letters and Sciences" (Langles 1790b). In this pamphlet Langles tried to convince the deputies of France's national assembly that "the Orientals were knowledgeable and civilized long before we managed to escape from the sad state of nature or rather of barbarity" (Langles 1790b:6) and that the Europeans "owe these [Oriental] peoples our principal notions of science, philosophy, and the basic part of our religious system" (p. 7).

Lauding the efforts of other European nations in the study of oriental languages and literatures and evoking the advantages this might also bring in terms of commerce, Langles proposed the establishment of chairs of Arabic, Turkish, and Persian in Paris and Marseille, whose occupants should "give public lectures of four or five hours every morning" (p. 16). Langles's dream did not immediately come true, but an important part of his vision was realized before France's colonialist ambitions broadened. After the Special School of Living Oriental Languages (which Langles administrated and where he taught Persian) was founded by decree of the National Convention in 1795, the chair of oriental languages at the College de France was divided into a chair of Persian (Sylvestre de Sacy, 1806) and one of Turkish (Jean- Daniel Kieffer), and soon enough Europe's first chairs in Sanskrit (Antoine Leonard de Chezy) and Chinese (Jean-Pierre Abel-Remusat) were created (1814).

In his efforts to promote bible-independent Orientalism, Langles could count on the support of Volney. Instead of trying to locate the biblical paradise and attempting to trace the paths of Noah's descendants in the manner of William Jones or Thomas Maurice, Volney drew a picture of enormous migrations of "Scythian hordes" covering the gigantic landmass "from me sources of me Ganges and the Sanpou to the islands of Denmark and Great Britain" (Volney 1825:7.109). His view of the human past had literally exploded. Now it was no more focused on tiny Egypt and its secretive clergy. Instead, a vast panorama had opened up thanks to "another revolution which is taking its course" (7.110):

[One needs to examine] me religious systems of bramisme, the even more ancient Lamisme or buddhisme, and finally all the events of a period which presents to us the ancient continent, covered from the frontiers of Spain to the limits of Tartary by a single forest and peopled by one and the same kind of savage nomads that we know under the names of Celts, Germans, Cimbri, Scythians, and Massagetes. When one delves into these profundities following the English writers who have introduced to us the sacred books of the Indians, the Vedas, the Puranas, the Shastras; when one studies the antiquities of Tibet and of Tartary with Georgi, Pallas, and Stralhemberg and those of Germany and Scandinavia with Hornius, Elichman, Jablonski, Marcow, Gebhard, and Ihre, one will be convinced that we have barely opened the mine of ancient history and mat within a century all of our Greco-Roman compilations, all those supposedly universal histories of Rollin, Bossuet, Fleury, etc., must be redone from scratch. Not even their arguments will remain because the facts on which they are based are false or altered. (7.109-10)

This revolution, prepared by the likes of Voltaire, Mignot, and Holwell -- and subsequently boosted by some members of me Asiatic Society of Bengal as well as Langles -- had apparently caught up with Volney by 1795. Instead of ancient Egypt, which suddenly almost vanished from his discourse, another mysterious land of origins began to glitter on the oriental horizon:

Tibet or Bud-Tan, the land of Budd, is the ancient home of the Brachmanes; since Alexander's times these Brachmanes or gymnosophists were the most learned and venerated caste of the peoples of the Indies; their capital Lah-sa and Poutala is the most ancient pilgrimage site of Asia; from time immemorial crowds of Scythian hordes or Getes went there; today their races, which survive under the name of Tatars, have preserved their dogmas and rites. (7.117).11

Orientalism and European Identity

Volney's enlarged perspective shows the profound effect exerted by the study of the Orient on the reevaluation of European identity. His Mediterranean-centered perspective began to give way to a much larger Eurasian vision. This was only a foretaste of a process in which nineteenth-century academic Orientalism was to playa central role. The similarity of major European languages to Sanskrit had been discussed in Paris since the late 1760s, when Abbe Barthelemy of the Academy asked Father Coeurdoux for his opinion about the question "why there are in the Samskroutane language so many words that it shares with Latin and Greek" (Anquetil-Duperron 1808:659). In the 1790s, the yearly discourses of William Jones in the first volumes of the Asiatick Researches (App 2009) provoked renewed and broader discussions about this question which had serious implications for European identity since Sanskrit was held to be far older than Latin and Greek. In 1795 Volney began to wonder if "the ancient language of India, Sanscrit, was not the primitive dialect of Tibet and India, and the stock of many dialects of the Mideast," and he expressed his desire to learn more about the genealogy of the Chinese and Malay languages (7.118). He was passionate about using the study and comparison of languages to penetrate the fog of early history and showed increasing interest in ancient India. Volney was one of the rare residents of continental Europe to become a member of the exclusive Asiatic Society of Bengal (Gaulmier 1951:485); and when fellow member Alexander Hamilton came to Paris in 1802, it was of course Senator Volney who assisted him in various ways (R. Rocher 1968:37-38). At the time, Hamilton was the only person in Europe capable of teaching Sanskrit, and Volney was among the chosen few instructed by him (pp. 54-55). He was interested in Indian religion and translated William Jones's first English rendering of an Upanishad into French.12

The third layer of Volney's view of Buddhism in The Ruins consists of notes he had eliminated, corrected, augmented, or added between 1816 and his death in 1820. These changes strikingly exhibit the effects of the onset of modern Orientalism and indicate Volney's new focus. The comparison of languages, a field he had a particular interest in, pointed increasingly to an Indo-European mother tongue; and the presence of an equally old primitive mother-religion ("old Buddhism" or shamanism) in the same region of Himalaya/Caucasus was a fertile soil for speculation. In this respect, too, Volney felt indebted to British researchers:

Only since a few years does one begin to have exact notions of the doctrine of Boudd and his various sects: for these notions we are obliged to the English scholars who, as their nation subjugates the peoples of India, study their religions and customs in order to make them known. The work entitled Asiatick Researches is a precious collection in this regard: one finds in volume 6, p. 163, and volume 7, pp. 32 and 399, three instructive papers on the Boudistes of Ceylon, Burma, and Ava. Furthermore, an anonymous author who appears to have meditated on this subject has published, in the Asiatick Journal of January 1816 and the following months until May, letters that make one wish for more detailed explanations. (Volney 1826:1.314-15)

At the time of Volney's death in 1820, such detailed explanations had not yet come forth; the newly elected professors of Sanskrit and Chinese in Paris were still gearing up for the difficult task of debunking some of the outrageous claims advanced by German, French, and English indomaniacs (as well as their critics) through research about the history and doctrines of Buddhism. Such research was to be no more based on flights of imagination bur rather on solid evidence gained through the study of Asian texts and monuments. Some of Volney's amendments to his notes in The Ruins concern newly available information on ancient Indian texts, particularly the Vedas. Volney explains, "Since the year 1788, the English scholars in India exploit a mine of literature of which no one had an idea in Europe and which proves that the Indian civilization goes back to very remote antiquity" (1:318). Interestingly, Volney's notes show virtually no colonialist and imperialist interest; the man was obsessed with the question of origins and with the notion that the eurocentric view of history had to be replaced by a more global perspective.

This change of perspective was of course a gradual process which is far from finished even today. It is intimately connected to European identity, and the questions it involved -- for example those about the origin of European languages, peoples, and religions -- were considered important enough to warrant the establishment of university chairs occupied by orientalists capable of providing reliable answers. Before his death, when the first of these professors were already active in Paris, Volney was especially curious about the religion brought from Asia to Europe by "Odin or Voden, who is the divinity presented under diverse names such as Budd, Bedda, Boutta, Fot, and Taut who is Mercury, as preserved in the Wednesday of the Nordic people which is called vonsdag and vodendag, the day of Voden or Wedn with the English" (Volney 1825:7.117).

But the public's worldview and historical outlook did not change as swiftly as the young revolutionary had once hoped. In 1813 Volney was still trying to educate the stubborn Christian faithful of France. He pored over the Bible, compared its chronological fantasies with those of other peoples, and wondered how in the world such a small and insignificant people in forlorn Palestine had managed to mislead so many people for so long. In his New researches on ancient history (1813-14), he bored his dwindling readership with detailed analyses of sources whose value he denigrated and with conclusions that Voltaire had long ago presented with much more passion, wit, and style. But Volney once more confirmed one of the cardinal tenets of modern Orientalism:

The result of all these data is evidence that the books of the Jewish people have no right to dominate the annals of other nations nor exclusively to inform us of remote antiquity. They have only the merit of furnishing means of instruction that are subject to the same drawbacks and rules of critique as those of other peoples; and it was wrong to attempt, as was done until now, to make their system the benchmark of all others. (unnumbered final page of Volney 1825, vol. 5)

In the years before his death, while studying Asia's most widespread religion, whose representatives he had used in The Ruins to present his own radical ideas, Volney added numerous notes. It is striking that hardly a trace is left of Moses and the Egyptians. Instead we read about the importance of the Scyths in ancient history and their relationship to Bailly's peuple instituteur, about lamas and shamans, about the history of Buddhism, and about that strange and fascinating trinity: the Buddha of India, Hermes of Egypt, and Wotan of Europe. Volney's researches on ancient history had begun in his youth with the study of biblical and Greek chronology; but since those days, all horizons had exploded. Reflecting on the revolution of the past decades, the Orientalist mused toward the end of his life:

The more one penetrated, in the last thirty or forty years, into the secret sciences and especially into the astronomy and cosmogony of the modern Asian peoples -- the Hindus, the Chinese, the Burmese, etc. -- the more one became convinced of the affinity of their doctrine with that of the ancient people mentioned above [Bailly's peuple instituteur]; one could even say that in those places it has been transmitted more completely in certain respects, and more purely than with us, because it has not been so altered by anthropomorphic innovations which have warped everything. (5.184)

For a while, Volney was possibly the most politically active and influential Orientalist of his time, and his status as a senator and familiarity with Napoleon put him in a unique position to link Orientalism with emerging colonial and imperialist power. But it appears that he mainly promoted the scientific study of the Orient (particularly of its religions and languages) and that these activities were not driven by political or economic motives but rather by his rebellion against biblical authority coupled with a genuine curiosity about the history of humankind, its religions, and its languages. Such questions, which automatically signaled mistrust of the biblical narrative, were gradually becoming domains of state-sponsored research beyond the reach of biblical studies and Christian theology. Between Volney's publication of The Ruins in 1791 and his death in 1820, modern Orientalism had gained a first institutional foothold.13 In 1791 the Benaras Hindu College was founded, in 1795 the Ecole des Langues Orientales Vivantes in Paris, in 1800 Fort William College in Calcutta, in 1805 the East India College of Haileybury near London and chairs of Persian and Turkish at the College de France, in 1814 Europe's first university chairs in Sanskrit and Chinese at the College de France, and in 1818 the first Sanskrit courses at a German university (University of Bonn; A. W. Schlegel). The year of Volney's death saw the first issue of Schlegel's Indische Bibliothek, and in the following year the first Oriental society in Europe was founded: the Societe Asiatique in Paris (1821). The first number of its journal, the Journal asiatique, appeared in 1822; and 1824, the year of Langles's death, saw the foundation of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Volney would have been delighted with these clear signs of the institutionalization of modern orientalism. It is only fitting that in his testament he dedicated part of his fortune to the promotion of exactly the kind of research that these institutions and their journals represented.
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Re: The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

Postby admin » Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:17 am

Synoptic List of Protagonists in This Book




1. Urs App, "William Jones's Ancient Theology," Sino-Platonic Papers 191 (July 2009).

2. Needless to say, these translations are limited to materials connected to the included case studies. Translations from a substantially broader range of sources will appear separately in a Reader of source materials pertaining to the European discovery of Asian religions.


1. Most prominent among them were the Jesuit Roberto de Nobili, who in the early seventeenth century applied Ricci's ideas to Indian religion, and the Dutchman Abraham Roger, who relied on Brahmin informers and wrote an influential manuscript on South Indian religion that was posthumously published in 1651in edited and amplified form.


1. In Orientalism, Edward Said mentions only briefly that Voltaire was interested in the Orient because he wanted to make the Bible more unbelievable (199476), and Robert Irwin's For Lust of Knowing discards the theme after a brief discussion of Voltaire's contradictory treatment of Islam's prophet (2006:117).

2. This story is told in detail in App 1997a, b, 1998a.

3. See the original text, transcription, and commentary along with the Latin, Portuguese, and English translations of the entire document in App 1997a:232-39.

4. The complete Portuguese manuscript is in the Biblioteca Nazionale Roma, Fondo Gesuitico 1482, no. 33; transcribed in Ruiz-de-Medina 1990:655-67. An Italian version that is slightly shorter has the number 1384, no. 7, in the same Fondo Gesuitico. For other versions and translations, see Ruiz-de-Medina 1990:654.

5. A detailed history of this misconception is in preparation. Roger-Pol Droit's The Cult of Nothingness: The Philosophers and the Buddha (2003) ignores its Japanese origin and interesting history but illustrates its remarkable staying power and great influence even in the nineteenth century-another proof, if any were needed, of the survival of certain fixed ideas from the missionary era in the age of modern Orientalism.

6. See also the "Exoterica and Esoterica" section at the beginning of Chapter 3.

7. Ruggieri was a very good friend of Possevino, the republisher of Valignano's catechism; see Ricci 1942:136.

8. See the Chinese text in table IX, Ricci 1942:195. Pasquale d'Elia's "sanitized" Italian translation is found on p. 194 of the same edition.

9. Jesuit archives, Rome, Jap-Sin, 9, ff. 263-64; table XII in Ricci 1942:201. The Pure Land of East Asian Buddhism is traditionally located in the West. The text of both inscriptions is by Wang Pan, the local Chinese prefect.

10. The original document is preserved in Rome (Archivio Romano della Compagnia di Gesu, Jap-Sin., 9, ff. 263-64) and is reproduced in Ricci 1942:1.200. The handwriting is here transcribed and slightly rearranged. The Chinese characters of the original appear to stem from the hand of a native (possibly Wang Pan, the prefect of Shaoqing who donated the plates).

11. D'Elia (Ricci 1942:199) supplemented Ruggieri's howler by proposing the equally misleading "genre venuta dalla santa terra del ponente" (people who have come from the Holy Land in the West), which effectively transforms the Buddhist Pure Land into Palestine!

12. For the West, Rodrigues used Sebastiao Barradas's Commentaria in concordiam et historiam evangelicam (Coimbra, 1599-1611) and Benito Pereira's Commentariorum et disputationum in genesim (Rome, 1591-99). See Doi 1955:853.

13. Paper inscribed with Japanese notes of such lectures on Japanese religions (which went into great detail about Buddhist doctrine) was used for the lining of a folding screen that was sent to Europe in the late sixteenth century. The texts of this so-called Evora screen (Port. Biombo de Evora; Jap. Ebora byobu) provide a fascinating glimpse into the sixteenth-century study of Buddhism. See Ebisawa 1963 and Ito 2000.

14. This appraisal stands in marked contrast to the caricature of Rodrigues by Paul A. Rule (1986:74-77), who failed to grasp the influence of forty years of Jesuit mission in Japan on the fledgling China mission and on the perception of Asian religions including Confucianism. In Rule's opinion Rodrigues, who spent thirty-three years in Japan and twenty-three years in China, suffered from a "lack of discrimination between the cultures of East Asia" (p. 75)!

15. Martini made extensive use of Rodrigues's materials. For example, the beginning of Martini's preface to his Atlas of the Far East (Martini 1655:1) is inspired by the first chapter of Rodrigues's Historia da Igreja do Japao (Rodrigues 1954:14ff.)

16. For more information about this important treatise, its history, and its influence see Leibniz 2002:8-9.

17. Rodrigues saw parallels to Chaldean divination in the yin (darkness) and yang (brightness) and the whole and broken lines, trigrams, hexagrams, and charts of the Yijing (Book of Changes), whose commentary was traditionally attributed to Confucius.

18. These were the beliefs of the two opposing camps in the so-called "Malabar Rites" controversy that began around 1610 and extended well into Voltaire's time. See Zupanov 1999.

19. See my view of Ezour-vedam authorship in Chapter 7.

20. The kernel of the story, the Chinese embassy to India in 64 or 65 C.E. that resulted in the foundation of the first Chinese Buddhist monastery (the White-Horse monastery or Baimasi in Xian), is a legend with no known historical basis. It is contained in the preface of the Forty-Two Sections Sutra -- the text that the returning embassy supposedly brought to the Chinese capital on a white horse. See Chaptet 4. For differences between Trigault's edition and Ricci's original text see d'Elia 1942:I.21-24.

21. On p. 36 of the 1761 version of the Essai sur les moeurs, Voltaire suggests having met Foucquet in person: "Father Fouquet (sic), a Jesuit who lived 25 years in China and returned as an ennemi of the Jesuits, told the several times that in China there were very few atheist philosophers."

22. Genesis 5 portrays Enoch as the seventh patriarch after Adam and gives him a life span of 365 years. At age 300, he begat Methuselah, Noah's grandfather, and afterward he had the unheard of honor of "walking with God." Saint Enoch's day in the Roman martyrologue is January 3. In Christianity, he is revered as an archetype of the heathen who attains salvation; see Danielou 1956: 55-72. See also Chapter 5.

23. See also Chapter 2.

24. Johann Arnold Kanne, with Joseph Gorres and Friedrich Creuzer one of Germany's major romantic mythologists, produced a mirror image of Huet's reasoning. In his Erste Urkunden der Geschichte oder allgemeine Mythologie, Kanne asserts that the major "historical" figures of the Bible originated in the Orient: Abraham came from Brahma (Kanne 1808:120), Esau from Ahriman/Ormuzd, Jacob from Typhon/Osiris (p. 320), and so on.

25. Torrey (1967:98) argues that internal evidence related to the Woolston miracles would "fix the date of the Sermon des cinquante after November, 1761." However, the manuscript has been attested since 1752 and circulated for ten years until its publication after the Calas affair in 1762 (carrying the false date of 1749). See Trousson et al. 1994:216.

26. Translations from Voltaire's Essai are based on the Beuchot edition of 1828 in four volumes and, when necessary, from earlier editions. The comparison of various layers of the Essai has shown that Rene Pomeau's "critical" edition often fails to indicate even important changes. This added phrase, for example, is nor marked by Pomeau (Pomeau 1963.I.214).

27. In his Fragmens sur l'Inde of 1774 (p. 44), Voltaire cites this passage and sets it against the Father's assertion in the same letter that "one cannot doubt that the Brames are truly idolaters since they venerate foreign gods."

28. See Sweetman (2004) for information about different versions of this letter. For Ziegenbalg's view of Indian religions, see Chapter 2 below.

29. Para-para-vasttu = Skt. paraparavastu: "divine substance." According to Ziegenbalg (who begins his Genealogy of Malabar Divinities with this term). this is the "Ens Supremum or the supreme divine being" (Jeyaraj 2003:29, 373).

30. Voltaire uses a remark by La Croze not about the Vedas but about a passage quoted from the Lettres edifiantes et curieuses: "These sublime ideas of God are contained in explicit terms in the Vedam, which is the ancient book of their Law" (La Croze 1724:454).

31. It is likely that Maudave believed that his French texts were translations of the Veda. See Rocher 1984:81-83 for speculation about Maudave's source.

32. These prayers are found in Sainte-Croix 1778:1.323-27. In Voltaire's manuscript (Bibliotheque Nationale, Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises no. 452), they are on p. 14r.

33. Manuscript no. 1765 of the Musee d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris contains part of a letter by Maudave to Voltaire on the lingam cult (pp. 117r-125v). Cf. Rocher 1984:48.

34. Since Maudave gave Voltaire his own copy with handwritten remarks, it is likely that Maudave did not make a clean copy of the manuscript for Voltaire as he had offered. That he was ready to part with his (presumably) only manuscript may be another indicator of his lack of appreciation of the text.

35. On August 27, 1766, Anquetil-Duperron received a visit of Court de Gebelin from Geneva who had received a copy of the Ezour-Vedam through the offices of Mr. Tessier from Pondicherry. This manuscript was later copied for Anquetil-Duperron and is now found in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris (Fonds Anquetil-Duperron, Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises no. 8876). More information about this and a third variant manuscript of the Ezour-Vedam (the Harlay copy) is found in Rocher 1984:8, 74-89.

36. At one place in his Ezour-Vedam manuscript, which he lent to Sainte-Croix for preparing the printed edition, Anquetil-Duperron wrote in the margin: "This is a European speaking here"
(Rocher 1984:59). Like Maudave, Anquetil-Duperron believed that such questionable passages were probably added by the translator.

37. This corresponds to nanikal, plural of nani; Skt. jnanin: "a wise one, one with higher knowledge" (Ziegenbalg 2003:391). See also La Croze 1724:451 and Chapter 2 below.

38. Even at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Anquetil-Duperron still regarded the text as authentic (1808:1.120) and included it among his sources in the Oupnek'hat (I.xviii). See Chapter 2. Even Lamennais still regarded the Ezour-Vedam as a reliable source and gives copious quotations of it (Lamennais 1836:242-46, 271, 300-301).

39. Seringham is situated on an island in the Kaveri River near Tiruchirapalli (Trichinopolis) at the southern extremity of the Indian subcontinent. Robertson (1791:283)wrote that the "Pagoda of Seringham" received large amounts of money from pilgrims to support the Brahmins inhabiting the pagoda who, together with their families, "formerly composed a multitude not less than forty thousand souls."

40. See, for example, Richard King's treatment in Orientalism and Religion, which consists of a brief discussion of Voltaire's vigorous promotion of the "spurious Ezourvedam, a Jesuit work purporting to be a French translation of a Hindu Veda" (1999:121), in order to demonstrate "the subtlety and superiority of Indian thought in comparison to a decadent Christianity" (p. 202).

41. Chapter 4 of the 1761 Essai (Voltaire 1761:53-57). The corresponding passages are found in Sainte-Croix 1778:I.188-89, 189-96, 201-2, 208-10, 222-27, 235-40, 284, 308-9. References are given to the version published by Sainte-Croix because it corresponds more closely to Voltaire's manuscript than the Harlay text transcribed in Rocher 1984.

42. Voltaire expressed his opposition to such theories in the introduction to the 1761 Essai (p. 11): "Therefore one must nor conclude that the whole earth was for a long time [covered by the] sea because several regions of the globe suffered this fate."

43. In the Philosophie de l'histoire of 1765 (see Voltaire (969), Voltaire describes this text as "a ritual of all ancient rites of the brachmanes ... translated by a Brahmin" and shows that he regarded the two manuscripts as a ser of texts that "in truth is nor the Veidam itself but a summary of the opinions and rites contained in this law" (p. (49). The Ezour-Vedam presumably contains the opinions and the Cormo-Vedam the rites. See also Chapter 6 below.

44. A letter by Voltaire to Mr. Thieriot (Ferney, January 21, (761) refers to the book De moribus brachmanorum, which traditionally is attributed to Sr. Ambrose of Milan. This letter shows that Voltaire did nor appreciate this book: "Received the small royal [library] book de Moribus brachmanorum. I am more confirmed than ever in my opinion that rare books are only rare because they are bad; I only exclude certain books of philosophy that are only read by sages, that the fools do nor understand, and mar the fools persecute" (Voltaire 1828:6.27).

45. From 1760 to 1778 (which was the year of Sainte-Croix's publication of the Ezour-Vedam and of Voltaire's death), only a small group of people including Voltaire, Court de Gebelin, Anquetil-Duperron, Sainte-Croix, and visitors to the Royal Library in Paris had access to Ezour-Vedam manuscripts. The general public thus had no way of verifying Voltaire's claims.

46. The "nephew" and his uncle are among the most hilarious false identities created by Voltaire in order to evade persecution and arrest. He had attributed his famous Philosophie de l'histoire of 1765 to an "Abbe Bazin." The abbe's nephew had supposedly found me manuscript after his uncle's death and decided to publish it. When the critics reprimanded Voltaire (whom they quickly identified as the real author), the invented nephew wrote a blistering defense of his invented uncle and even furnished biographical derails for Abbe Bazin, thus giving him an interesting job: imperial interpreter for Chinese at the Czar's court in Sr. Petersburg!

47. Sainte-Croix 1778:I.I89, 269, 316, and 2.13.

48. See note 13 above.

49. See Chapter 7. Anquetil-Duperron commented "plus negaret asinus, quam probaret philosophus" [an ass can deny more than a philosopher can prove] (Anquetil-Duperron 1808:3.120), and Anquetil's friend Sylvestre de Sacy specifically criticized Paulinus's view of the Ezour-Vedam as a catechism: "This book, directed against the idolatrous cult of the Indians, would be -- whatever the learned missionary [Paulinus] might say -- a very mange catechism of the Christian religion indeed" (Sainte-Croix 1817:68).

50. The term "indomania" was used by Trautmann, who analyzed some British exponents (1997:62-98).

51. In 1769 this work was incorporated into Voltaire's Essai as a book-length introduction. See Voltaire 1969:59.79-81.

52. This theory formed the basis of Bailly's theory of the Siberian origins of humanity that he discussed with Voltaire in a series of letters from 1775 to 1776 (Bailly 1777). See below.

53. Voltaire apparently neither owned nor consulted this French translation.

54. This refers to the three-volume treatise on the conformities of St. Francis with Jesus Christ by Father Valentin Maree (1658-60).

55. It is unclear to what Veidam Voltaire refers here. It could be to the Cormo-veidam or to translations he found in Baldaeus (1672).

56. See Chapter 6 for additional critical comments by Voltaire about Holwell's book.

57. For this text and William Jones's view of it, see App 2009.

58. See Chapter 8 for Langles's description of Voltaire's influence on him.


1. As Jan Assmann (2001) pointed out, metempsychosis or transmigration of souls, as commonly understood, was mistakenly associated with classical Egyptian religion.

2. This catalog was first published in 1880 by W. Germann (Ziegenbalg and Germann 1880:1-20, 62-94). A slightly shorter list of Ziegenbalg's Verzeichnis der Malabarischen Bucher is extant at the British Library (Sloane 3014). See Sweetman 2003:106.

3. These are the four Vedas: Rg, Yajur, Sarna, and Atharva.

4. Such influence, as documented in App 2008a and in this book, contradicts Jeyaraj's remark (2003:315) that La Croze's excerpts from Ziegenbalg's work had little impact, as well as arguments such as that by Dharampal-Frick (2004:127) to the effect that the belated publication of Ziegenbalg's books caused his work to be "largely unknown" in the eighteenth century.

5. Such passages were translated by La Croze into French (1724:452-53) and made their way into many books all over Europe. See the quotations by Voltaire in Chapter I.

6. Ziegenbalg's Genealogie der Malabarischen Gotter of 1713 was first published anonymously in 1791 under the title Beschreibung der Religion und heiligen Gebrauche der malabarischen Hindous, nach Bemerkungen in Hindostan gesammelt. His Malabarisches Heidenthum of I711 first appeared in the edition of Willem Caland in 1926.

7. Tiru-valluvar (Holy Valluva) is the author of a famous didactic treatise on ethics titled Tiru-k-kural that consists of holy (tiru) short verse (kural). See Jeyaraj 2003:386-87, who lists several translations that usually contain the word "Kural" in the title.

8. Niti-caram (Skt. niti-sara), "Quintessence of savoir vivre," is also a didactic treatise on ethics (Jeyaraj 2003:424-25).

9. Nana-venpa is the title of an otherwise unknown didactic poem in the verse form of Venpa about wisdom (Tamil nanam, Skt. jnana). This is one of the three niti siatras whose translation Ziegenbalg finished in 1708. This translation was first published under the title Nidi Wunpa, edited by Willem Caland (1930:9-50).

10. La Croze filled several pages with quotations from this text (1724:456-59); he usually refers to it as "Le Livre Tchiva Vaikkium."

11. "Buddergol" is Ziegenbalg's transcription of puttarkal, the plural of puttar (Skt. buddha). "Buddergol" thus designates followers of the one who attained budd or awakening, that is, Shakyamuni Buddha. See Jieyaraj 2003:377.

12. "Schammanergol" is Ziegenbalg's transcription of camanarkal, the plural of camanar (Skt. sramana).

13. La Croze only mentions that this "Dissertation" was published in 1703 in Hanlburg in quarto format (p. 444). Even Brucker was unable to locate it (1736.7.1065). La Croze probably meant Johann Albert Fabricius's Dissertatio de controversiis cum atheis & gentilibus [Dissertation about the controversies with atheists and heathens] of 1703 that appeared in 1704 as part of the Consideratio variarum controversiarum cum Atheis, Gentilibus, Iudaeis, Mahumedanis, Socinianis, Anabaptistis, Pontificiis et Reformatis.

14. La Croze explains in a note (p. 492) that these are sectarians of Tatian, the disciple of Justin Martyr.

15. Thicca is the abbreviated form of the Vietnamese Thich-ca Mau-ni (Skt. Sakyamuni, Pali sakkamuni) and thus corresponds to the Chinese Xe-kia (Shejia) and the Japanese Xaca (Shaka).

16. Kircher's Foto refers to the Chinese Fotuo (Buddha) or possibly, given its pairing with the Japanese gods (kami), to the Japanese Fotoke (= hotoke, Buddha) in the old transliteration used by the Jesuit Japan missionaries.

17. This Chinese Buddhist text, about which more will be said in Chapters 3 and 4, had a preface containing the story of Emperor Ming of the Han's dream of a golden statue in the West, his dispatch of an embassy to India, and its return to China in 65 CE. with (supposedly) the oldest Buddhist text, the Forty-Two Sections Sutra. This text and its tale of the introduction of Buddhism from India to China in 65 CE. played an extraordinary role both in East Asian Buddhism and its Western discovery.

18. Since Couplet and his collaborators were rather well informed about Chinese history and expressly mention the date 290 CE., it is unlikely that they referred to the Chinese sect of this name (Ch. Wuwei jiao [x]), which was established by Luo Qing [x] (1443-1527).

19. Before the nineteenth century, "Caucasus" often referred to the Himalaya range as a whole or to parts of it.

20. Kao's interesting report about Chinese religion states that "the Idolatrous Worship and Religion of the Bonzi's is spread over all East-India, thro' the Kingdoms of Pegu, Laos, Siam, Cochinchina, Japan, and all over Tartary" (Kao 1705:170). See also Chapter 3.

21. For very contrasting views of this founder figure of Chan/Zen Buddhism, see also Chapter 4.


I. In a note, de Lubac lists only the authors mentioned by Diderot (Le Comte, La Loubere, Bernier, Kaempfer, Tissanier, Tavernier, and the Dictionary of Moreri) and fails to identify the main sources of Diderot's argument, which will be analyzed below.

2. This is one of the numerous mistakes in Fernandez's report that show his limited understanding both of Japanese and of Buddhism. For example, Fernandez claimed that Shaka was born when he was seven years old (possibly a misunderstanding of the seven steps the child made). Here, 49 years must refer not to the Buddha's age but rather to the duration of his teaching activity (from age 30 until his death at 79).

3. See also Chapter 2 above.

4. In this article of the Encyclopedie, the printer several times set "esoteric" instead of "exoteric"; the introduction of the twofold doctrine of Xekia (1.753) has, for example, "exoterique ou interieure," which clearly is a mistake. Here, too, the text's "esoterique" is a mistake. The gist here, as in the old tale of Cristoforo Borri (Borri 1631:822), is that someone who has understood the esoteric teaching should nevertheless let the people follow the exoteric one.

5. This list is an almost literal translation by Diderot of the Latin summary by Brucker of Couplet's argument (1742-44:4B.820). However, Diderot abbreviated Brucker's last point that reads: "Those who reached [the goal] of this philosophy will leave to others the exoteric doctrine while conforming to it externally; but internally they will dedicate themselves to this mystical and beatific philosophy" (p. 822).

6. Ch. Wuwei jiao, that is, the teaching of nonaction. In early Chinese Buddhism, the term wuwei was also used as an equivalent of nirvana, and "the doctrine of wuwei" could thus simply mean "Buddhism" or, if the date of 290 C.E. is taken seriously, as a reference to early Chinese Mahayana Buddhism. See also Chapter 2, note 18.

7. Bernier's account was first published in 1670 under the title Histoire de la derniere revolution des Etats du Grand Mogol, 2 vols. (Paris: Claude Barbin). The letter of October 4, 1667, to Monsieur Chapelin was first included in the Suite des Memoires du sieur Bernier sur l'empire du Grand Mogol of 1671 (Paris: Claude Barbin, 1:1-137). The letter appeared in English translation in 1672 and was soon also published in Dutch (1672), German (1672-73), and Italian (1675). See Bernier 2005:xxiii-xxx.

8. Anquetil rendered this as "Secretum tegendum," the secret to be safeguarded in silence. See Chapter 7 and my forthcoming book on the genesis of Schopenhauer's philosophy.

9. This is the Gulshan-I Raz (The Rose Garden of Mysteries) of Mahmoud al-Karim Shabistari, written in 1317, one of the great classics of Sufi literature.

10. Burnet's depiction of the earth formation cycle (Figure 6) shows smooth paradise as the rightmost sphere, followed by the earth covered by water with the ark in the middle, and (at the bottom) the postdiluvial world with continents, seas, and mountains.

11. This view of saintliness inspired, as mentioned above, Diderot's famous remark that the ideal state of such quietism "resembles sleep so much that it seems that a few grains of opium would sanctify a brahmin far more surely than all his efforts" (Diderot 1751:2.393).

12. As mentioned above, this book was also included as volume 3 in some post-1696 editions of Lecomte's Nouveaux memoires sur l'etat present de la Chine. Le Gobien is also noted as the editor of the first few volumes of the famous collection of Jesuit letters published under the title of Lettres edifiantes et curieuses. On his activities as editor, see Timmermans (2002:145-47, 155-220).

13. See Chapter 4 for Le Gobien's source and his manipulative use of it.

14. This means that Kaempfer and La Croze (whose theories on Buddhism appeared in 1724) developed their Egypt-related conjectures independently.

15. The most influential German version before Dohm's edition of 1777 was a retranslation of Scheuchzer's English version that appeared as volume 4 of the German version of Jean-Baptiste du Halde's China work (Kaempfer 1749).

16. Kaempfer's manuscripts are cited, like other manuscripts in this book, by folio number. See the excellent critical edition by Wolfgang Michel and Barend J. Terwiel (2001).

17. For omissions, additions, and alterations by Scheuchzer, see Bodart-Bailey 1990.

18. "Sintos" stands for Jap. shinto, the way of the gods.

19. Shin and kami are the Chinese-style and Japanese-style readings of the character [x], which stands for "god" or "gods."

20. "Bupo" is Kaempfer's reading of Jap. buppo (Buddha dharma) and "Budsdo" refers to Jap. butsudo (the Way of the Buddha, Buddhism).

21. "Buds" and "Fotoge" stand for Jap. butsu [x] (Buddha) and the Japanese reading of the same character, hotoke (Buddha).

22. The Nihon shoki dates the introduction of Buddhism in Japan to the year 552.

23. See App 2008a for some examples.

24. See Imai 1982 and Katagiri 1995:43, who shows a page from this text and its translation in Kaempfer's notebook.

25. Brucker 1742-44:4B.817-19. This is a good example of the very international nature of information flow. The Frenchman Diderot translated a Latin summary by Brucker, a German historian of philosophy, of the English translation by the Swiss Scheuchzer of information from a German manuscript by Kaempfer, who worked for the Dutch and got such data from Japanese informers.

26. Diderot here specifics that "some Indians and Chinese attribute this [capacity of remission] to Xekia himself" (p. 753).

27. Among the proponents of this mirage are Almond 1988:11 and Droit 1997:36, as well as Faure 1998:17 and Lenoir 1999:90.


1. The Buddhist materials translated from Pali that are found in Simon de la Loubere's book of 1691 were given to him in translated form, presumably in French (1691:1.421). The translator is unknown.

2. Leung (2002:230-33) defends Fourmont to a certain extent by saying that he added Chinese characters to Varo's transcriptions; but even she could nor pardon the fact that Fourmont based his work on a manuscript that he claimed to have been ignorant of.

3. By "hitherto" Abel-Remusat meant not just "before Ptemare" but rather "before 1829."

4. Later, de Guignes published Premare's treatise on Chinese mythology (with the editor's "corrections" and various omissions) as an introduction to Gaubil's translation of the Shujing or Classic of History, one of the five ancient classics of China (de Guignes 1770). To its detriment, de Guignes also heavily edited and "corrected" Gaubil's excellent work.

5. D'Anville mentions having had de Visdelou's manuscripts "in his hands for a long time" (1776:24) and wrote, "The manuscripts I mentioned are the work of an erudite and virtuous missionary, Father de Visdelou, who died as bishop of Claudiopolis at Pondicherry. He had sent them to Mr. Malet of the Academie Francaise who had studied under him. Half an hour of looking at them were sufficient for me to realize their merit and to ask a friend to have access, and at that very instant he gave them to me" (pp. 33-34).

6. Abel-Remusat wrote about de Guignes's use of de Visdelou's manuscript: "There are nevertheless reasons to think that it was not unknown to de Guignes to whom it could serve as a first guide to decypher the Annals of China, and to whom it must have at least suggested the idea of the research that gave value to his History of the Huns. The subject of both works is identical in many places; the same sources are used, and the work of P. Visdelou is much earlier than the first essay that de Guignes published under the title Letter to M. Tannevot. This is not an accusation of plagiarism directed against the erudite academician: he certainly consulted the originals. But this remark aims at elucidating how he could arrive at understanding them and drawing from them much more extensive extracts." (Abel-Remusat 1829:2.247-48)

7. I found these notes in a collection of papers entitled "Fourmont l'aine XXXIV Dissertations sur la Chine" (Bibliotheque Nationale, Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises no. 8977:205-41). A note pasted on p. 205 by a librarian states that these fragments have no name of author but that they could be from de Visdelou who wrote on the same subject in the supplement to d'Herbelot. The person writing this did not notice that these notes were copied by de Guignes and reproduce pages and pages of de Visdelou's text almost word for word.

8. The first of these instances is near the beginning of de Visdelou's manuscript: "The Hioum-nou -- which are, I believe, the Huns" (Visdelou 1779:18).

9. It is likely that both Fourmont and de Guignes were inspired by the Museum Sinicum of T. S. Bayer (1694-1738). This interesting book, an English translation of whose preface has been published in a study on Bayer by Knud Lundbaek (1986), was Europe's pioneer work about the Chinese language. Bayer's central achievement, in his own view, was the identification of nine "elementary characters" (which really are strokes) on which all Chinese characters are based. Bayer thought that each of these elements has a specific meaning: "First there are some very simple characters, single strokes, which, however, all mean something. Frome these the other characters are composed, gradually and step by step" (trans. Lundbaek 1986:115).

10. This led to de Guignes's hieroglyphic overhaul of 1766 in which the Phoenician alphabetic keys of 1758 are relegated to secondary importance and ideographic elements are regarded as the oldest units of writing.

11. According to d'Herbelot this manuscript was labeled no. 815 at the Royal library (Herbelot 1777:2.608) The text of Indian origin, which is lost, was first translated into Arabic and from there into Persian and Ottoman Turkish. A Persian translation in turn served as basis for a translation into Urdu. One of the Persian translations, titled The Ocean of Life, is by Muhammad Ghawth. It not only introduces, or rather translates, teachings and practices of Indian Nath yogis into a Sufi framework but also mixes in Gnostic and Persian illuministic elements (Ernst 1996, 2003, 2005).

12. The Royal library possessed the Persian translation whose author is given as Qazi Rukn ud-Din of Samarkand (d. 1218).According to a possibly fictitious account (Ernst 1996:9-10), Qazi stayed in Bengal for six years (1210-1216) and studied with a Brahmin convert to Islam with whose help he translated the Amrtakunda from Sanskrit into Persian. De Guignes summarized its content and translated parts of the fourth and seventh chapters (1759:791-801).

13. The analysis of this Latin treatise and appraisal of Brucker's influence would require a separate case study. Brucker had already advanced similar ideas in the seventh volume of his German history of philosophy (Brucker 1736:1044-1204).

14. As explained in the "Esoterica and Exoterica" section of Chapter 3, the classification of Asian religions into exoteric "idolatry" and esoteric "atheism" factions has its roots in sixteenth-century Japan and was applied to Chinese and other ancient religions by Joao Rodrigues who identified them as belonging to a single Hamitic lineage.

15. Letter of October 8, 1755. Bibliotheque Nationale, Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises, Fonds Anquetil-Duperron no. 8872:72r. I recently discovered that several of the speculations aired by Deshauterayes in this letter were copied or adopted from de Visdelou's third Pondicherry letter (Nouvelles acquisitions francaises no. 279:11r-12v) titled "Lettre de Pondicheri. Dissertation concernant la Doctrine de Pythagore et le rapport qu'elle a avec celle de Boudha."

16. Palumbo (2003:200) has shown that in a comparatively short period between the end of the third and the mid-fourth century references to several monasteries named "White Horse" emerged; the oldest are those of Chang'an and Luoyang (c. 285 C.E.).

17. This movement's Chinese (Chan), Japanese (Zen) and Korean (Son) names all stem from the Sanskrit dhyana ("meditation" or "concentration") which the Chinese first transliterated as chan-na.

18. These "three classics," edited and commented by Zen Master Shousui [x] (I072-1147), are the Zen version B of the Forty-Two Sections Sutra (presented as the Buddha's first sermon after enlightenment), the Sutra of the Buddha's Bequeathed Teachings (presented as his last sermon), and the Admonitions of Zen Master Guishan.

19. The copy used by de Guignes in the Royal Library is today labeled Chinois 6149 (Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris); my thanks to Nathalie Monnet of the Bibliotheque Nationale for helping me identify it. Chinois 6149 contains the Shousui version commented by the prolific late Ming master Zhixu [x] (1599-1655) and corresponds to the text of the Manji Zokuzokyo (Xuzangjing), vol. 37, no. 670.

20. D. T. Suzuki's Zen master, Shaku Soen, also chose this text to introduce Americans to Buddhism (Suzuki 1906).

21. Since, as noted before, in early Chinese Buddhism the term wu-wei was used as translation of the Sanskrit term nirvana, the Chinese phrase in question here could accordingly be translated as "A home-leaver or sramana ... attains the Buddha's profound principle and awakens to the doctrine of nirvana."

22. The Monthly Review; or, Literary journal 50 (1778): 540.

23. In particular, Agostino Giorgi (1711-97), the author of the Alphabetum Tibetanum (1762), got caught up in de Guignes's haeresiarch/manichean scenario and piled numerous additional conjectures on it (Giorgi 1762, vol. I). See also the discussion of Sainte-Croix's vision of the Ezour-vedam in Chapter 7 below.

24. The Nestorian stele of Xian was erected in 781 by members of the Assyrian Church of the East (usually referred to as the Nestorian Church). It was discovered in the early seventeenth century and reproduced in several Jesuit publications including Athanasius Kircher's China Illustrata (1667). In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries its authenticity was the subject of a protracted controversy. By far the best translation was by de Visdelou. Its manuscript ended up in Paris and was used by Voltaire's nephew, Abbe Mignot, for an article in the journal des Scavans of 1760 (Mignot 1760). Since the Abbe was on friendly terms with de Guignes, it is quite possible that he also read it and that therefore this idea of de Guignes was also inspired by de Visdelou.

25. Voltaire's nephew Abbe Vincent Mignot presented his papers in 1761 and 1762 to the assembly of the Royal Academy, but they first appeared in print in 1768. See Chapter 7.

26. Langles applauded the "system that Voltaire conceived before the and of which I became convinced" (Langles 1790a:iv) and concluded, "I thus regard the Pentateuch as the summary of Egyptian books of which the originals still exist in India where literature was cultivated long before Egypt became habitable through the labors of man" (pp. xiv-xvi).

27. The figures in question here are Mahakasyapa (Jap. Kasho) and Ananda (Jap. Anan). De Guignes found the Japanese names in Kaempfer. The "sonja" after these names signifies "revered person," something like "Saint ... ," and is not related to sannyasi.


1. A century later they became the Samaneens or Sarnmaneens of La Croze and de Guignes.

2. See yhe expert description by Richard Popkin in his book about La Peytere (1987) and in The History of Scepticism (2003).

3. This is the title of Paul Hazard's literally epoch-making 1961 book.

4. In particular, the books of Frank Manuel (1963, 1974), the essays in Force and Popkin (1990, 1999), the studies by McGuire and Rattansi (1966-67), Westfall (1982), and Gascoigne (1991) as well as the essays in Fauvel et al. (1988) have been helpful for this section.

5. See Chapter 1 of Newton's Observations upon the Prophecies, entitled "Introduction concerning the Compilers of the books of the Old Testament" (Newton 1785.297- 305).

6. A parallel is found, for example, in the Zen tradition whose histories are commonly called "transmissions of the lamp" or "transmissions of the flame" (Ch. chuandeng). Newton's "flame transmission" also involved the field of science, where "prophet" figures like Pythagoras transmitted the flame of original wisdom as well as true religion and knowledge of God's creation.

7. See the volume of essays on Martini edited by Malek and Zingerle (2000).

8. The manuscript by the Portuguese Jesuit Gabriel de Magalhaes (or Magaillans) entitled Doze excellencias da China of 1668 was partly burned, but the remaining parts were translated and annotated by Claude Bernou and published in 1688 in French under the title of Nouvelle relation de la Chine. It is a sign of keen European interest that an English translation by John Ogilby appeared in the same year. See Mungello 1989:91-105; the remark about the antiquity of Chinese characters is cited on p. 96.

9. "Fohius" is Fuxi, the legendary Chinese culture hero. Enos or Enosh is the son of Seth and thus the grandson of Adam who, according to the Old Testament, lived to the ripe age of 905 years (Gen. 5:6-11; Luke 3:38).

10. Mungello 1989:125. Collani calls it "the first printed and continuous history of China from the beginnings to the birth of Christ" and discusses Mendoza's earlier report (2000:149-150).

11. However, Martini also borrowed from Kircher's works, for example, most of the information in his Atlas about the Nestorian Monument of Xian. See Mungello 1989:138.

12. See the French list of objections in Pinot 1971:98, and the English translation of the entire accusation sent by the directors of the Foreign Missions of Paris to Pope Innocent XII in Rossi 1987:141-42.

13. For another translation of this passage, see Lundbaek 1991:61.

14. Foucquet met Voltaire in Paris shortly after his return from China in 1722 or early 1723 (Witek 1982:309).

15. Lundbaek compared Premare's Selectae quaedam vestigia ... with Ramsay's Philosophical Principles and found that "there can be no doubt that Ramsay was working with a copy or large extracts of a copy of Premare's major Figurist work at his elbow" (1991:174).


1. Dalley's bibliography (2007:214-16) lists a selection of the enormous literature about this episode.

2. Trautmann could only discern "a confused reference, one supposes, to the four Vedas," an "entirely obscure" text, and a third source that, judging not by content but "from the number, should be the eighteen major Puranas" (1997:68-69).

obscure: not discovered or known about; uncertain.

3. This paragraph about Eldad is based on Wasserstein 1996. D. H. Muller 1892 listed almost twenty versions of the Eldad story. See also Ullendorf and Beckingham 1982:15-16, 153-59; and Parfitt 200J:9-12 on the connection with the myth of Israel's ten lost tribes.

4. Sons of Moses separated by a river that cannot be traversed also occur in Rabbinic literature and Flavius Josephus; see Ullendorf and Beckingham 1982:154-55.

5. Out of the enormous multilingual Prester John literature one might mention, apart from the text editions in Zarncke (1996) and Wagner (2000): Rachewiltz (1972), Silverberg (1972), Knefelkamp (1986), Pirenne (1992), Beckingham and Hamilton (1996), and Bejczy (2001).

6. For a critical edition of the original old French text, see Deluz 2000; for various source texts and an annotated English translation, Letts 1953;for a modern English translation, Moseley 1983; and for a modern French translation with extensive notes, Walter 1997.

7. Marignolli was, of course, familiar with legends linking the paradise tree (from which Eve plucked the forbidden fruit) with the tree forming the Christian savior's cross through which original sin was expunged. The Buddhist monks observed by Marignolli, by contrast, acted on the basis of another legend that has the Buddha teach enlightenment under a species of fig tree ("Bo" tree or ficus refigiosus), but Marignolli obviously did not know this.

8. Liverymen were Livery Company members with the exclusive right of voting in the election of the Lord Mayor of the City of London. Ilive dedicated his Oration to John Barber, the Lord Mayor of London (Ilive 1733:iii-iv).

9. This is a slip of the pen; the man's name was Jacob Ilive.

10. See the presentation of the Origenian heresy and major judgments condemning it in Crispo 1594:82-100, 130-59.

11. Ilive's Oration is an interpretation of John 14.2: "In my Father's House, are many Mansions, I go to prepare a Place for you" (Ilive 1733:1), which was inspired by Thomas Burnet's thoughts about the same passage in A Treatise Concerning the State of Departed Souls (1730:319). Burnet's book was originally published in 1720 as De statu mortuorum et resurgentium liber and seems to have been quite popular since reprints and corrected editions of the English translation appeared in 1733, 1737, and 1739.

12. This is the formulation Holwell chose in his dedication of the third volume (1771) of his work to the Duke of Northumberland.

13. Dedication of the second volume (1767). In this dedication Holwell also states that his intention is "to rescue the originally untainted manners, and religious worship of a very ancient people from gross misrepresentation."

14. These are the scribes of the Kayastha or Kayasth scribal caste who can be Btahmin and Kshatriya.

15. I am looking forward to David Lorenzen's publication of Marco della Tomba's manuscript review of the French translation of Holwell's first and second volumes (announced in Lorenzen 2006:196-97). Della Tomba had unique knowledge of Cassimbazar, the city where Holwell was second in command just before della Tomba arrived.

16. Holwell calls it "almost a litteral translation from the Chartah Bhade of Bramah" and claims to have made a great effort to reproduce "the sublime stile and diction of the original" (Holwell 1767:2.60).

17. Holwell interprets the Sanskrit word deva as "angel" and apparently thought that the devanagari script (which is used, among others, for Sanskrit and Hindi) was an angelic language.

18. This was the widely used date for the beginning of the present world age.

19. However, Monier Monier-Williams explains that the term sastra can be used for "any book or treatise, especially any religious or scientific treatise, any sacred book or composition of divine authority" -- even the Veda (Sweetman 2003:72).

20. The first edition of 1651contained Roger's text with notes that stem from the hands of Jacobus Scerperus (d. 1678) and/or a Leyden professor (Lach and Van Kley 1998:3.2.1030) who embellished the report about the Vedas with references to hermetic literature, Neoplatonism, and typical Ur-tradition fare such as Agostino Steuco's classic De perenni philosophia of 1540 (Roger 1663:222-25).

21. My thanks to Jonathan Silk and Thomas Cruijsen for sending the a copy of Caland's study.

22. To make things even more intractable, Holwell explained that "Viedam, in the Mallabar language signifies the same as Shastah in the Sanscrit, viz. divine words -- and sometimes, the words of God' (1767:2.15).

23. The 1766 edition has "religion and worship" in the singular (p. 12).

24. In spite of numerous critiques, Holwell's "translation" of the Shastah and his "history" of Indian sacred literature were still copiously used in the nineteenth century. For example, Holwell's theories play a central role in the conceptual framework of Polier's two tomes on Indian mythology (1809), and the integrity of Holwell's Shastah was passionately defended as late as 1832 by Windischmann: "Even the strictest examination of his writings does not allow us to harbor any doubts about Holwell's fidelity and honesty concerning the truthfulness of his communications ... Holwell has definitely neither invented nor modified the essence of the content of his source text [Urkunde]." (1832:616-17)

25. I originally planned to include a case study about a romantic indomaniac. But this phenomenon, which reaches well into the nineteenth century, is of such amplitude, complexity, and interest that it deserves and requires a separate book-length study.


1. Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises 8858, Fonds Anquetil-Duperron, 367v-461r.

2. The pioneering biography is by Raymond Schwab (1934); there is a recent but bad one by Jacques Anquetil (2005). See also Kieffer (1983) and Stroppetti (1986).

3. Anquetil-Duperron 1808:3.120: "plus negaret asinus, quam probaret philosophus."

4. For an analysis of this book and its reception, see Sweetman 2003:64-88.

5. See Willem Caland's De Ontdekkingsgeschiedenis van den Veda (1918) for details and some reproductions of early Portuguese, Dutch, and Italian passages about the Veda.

6. See, for example, Charpentier 1922, the article "Vedas" in Henry Yule's Hobson-Jobson (1903), and Caland 1918:264.

7. In an earlier letter of the year 1705, the same priest had already stated that the "book of the law" written in "Samouscroudam [Sanskrit], which is the language of the learned," is the book that the Indians "esteem most highly," even though "there is no one among them who understands it" (Le Gobien 1781-83:15.335).

8. De Visdelou may very well be the "ecclesiastic missionary from China who had come to Pondicherry" mentioned by Calmette (Le Gobien 1781:13.397).

9. This refers to the Mahiibhasya ("great commentary") a second-century B.C.E. work on Sanskrit grammar attributed to Patanjali.

10. In his letter of September 17, 1735, Calmette describes this Veda as "The Adarvanam, which is the fourth Vedam, and teaches the secret of applying magic" (Le Gobien 1781:13-420).

11. The emphasis via bold type is mine. My translation follows Anquetil-Duperron's manuscript of the Ezour-vedam (Bibliotheque Nationale, NAF 8876, p. 45r): "Chum. pour satisfaire a la demande lui dit les noms des differens pays qu'il connoissoit, et lui en marque la situation. Les curieux les trouvent dans l'autre page en langue Telegoa." Voltaire's manuscript (NAF 452, p. 25r) has the identical text except for different orthography and an additional comma. The Harlay manuscript (Fonds Francais 19117; transcribed in Rocher 1984:186) does not feature the highlighted sentence; probably its copyist, who also wrote in a much more careful hand than those of the other two manuscripts, noticed that this sentence does not make sense without the corresponding page that must have featured a map with place names in Telugu. It is unlikely that such a sentence would be added by a Western copyist; rather it would be a candidate for elimination, as happened in the case of the Harlay manuscript. Therefore, it almost certainly was found in the original French Ezour-vedam manuscript.

12. My translation is based on the French text given in Sainte-Croix. The Harlay manuscript version has in this chapter few significant differences and is reproduced in Rocher 1984:113-15. These four Vedas are today usually transliterated as Rg (= Rig), Sama ( = Chama), Yajur ( = Zozur or Ezour), and Atharva ( = Adorbo).

13. For a detailed account of such discussions and bibliographic references, see Rocher 1984.

14. In previous research on the Ezour-vedam, the question of authorship often hinged on the issue of the pronunciation of Sanskrit words transcribed in the text. But since both northern Indian (Bengali) and southern Indian pronunciations were involved, the issue remained complex. My argument here is that this issue is not connected with the question of original but rather concerns later stages of the production process.

15. The two parts of this report were published in French in the journal des Scavans for the year 1762 (June, pp. 413-29; July, pp. 474-500). The partial English translation appeared in the Annual Register for the year 1762 (pp. 103-29). References will be to its fifth edition, published in 1787.

16. The French original specifies that Anquetil-Duperron "had the occasion to see at Mr. Leroux Deshauterayes' place four sheets of the Vendidad Sade that had been sent from England to Mr. Fourmont" (Anquetil-Duperron 1762a:419).

17. This must have been the three-volume French edition of Niecamp (1745) that contained, among many other interesting topics, a section about "The Vedam, Sacred Book" (Niecamp I745:1.107) along with information about the Nianigoels, the "Indian philosophers" who are said to "recognize only the one true God and reject all idolatric cults" (pp. 115-16).

18. Freret had not only devastatingly criticized Newton's chronology but also approved that of Andrew Ramsay's Travels of Cyrus in a letter that Ramsay proudly included (from the second edition) as an appendix to his bestseller.

19. Niveupan and Niban refer to nirvana, Safene to sitting meditation (Jap. zazen), and Coung-hiou to emptiness (Ch. kongxu).

20. Amitabha (Jap. Amida) Buddha is the principal buddha of the Pure Land tradition of Buddhism but plays an important role in Mahayana Buddhism in general.

21. In Chapter 4 we noted how important the polomen (Chinese for Brahmins) were for the creation of the impression that Brahmanism had been imported to China and that what we today call Chinese Buddhism is really a branch of the Brahmins' religion.

22. Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises, Fonds Anquetil-Duperron no. 8872:85r. This letter from Peking is dated September 2, 1758, and marked as received by Anquetil-Duperron on July 19, 1759.

23. Here Gaubil appears to refer to dharani, magical spells mostly of Indian (Sanskrit) origin that often have no meaning in classical Chinese.

24. This letter is in the Fonds Anquetil-Duperron at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises no. 8872, pp. 70r-73v. It has been transcribed with numerous inaccuracies and lacunae in Stroppetti 1986:13-25.

25. Bibliotheque Nationale Paris, De Guignes Papiers divers, Nouvelles Acquisitons Francaises no. 279.

26. The difference in spelling in Figure 20 is irrelevant because "Boudha" is Deshauterayes's normal spelling, while "Budda" is de Visdelou's whose letter Deshauterayes copied.

27. The role of Johann Jacob Brucker and others in this development is deeply connected with premodern European views of Oriental philosophy and will be explored elsewhere.

28. Coeurdoux's offer to show Abbe Mignot proof in Indian scriptures for the universal deluge had the same aim (Anquetil-Duperron 1808:49.682).

29. The order was dissolved less than one year after Coeurdoux's last letter to Anquetil- Duperron when Pope Clemens XIV issued his bull Dominus ac Redemptor (July 21, 1773).

30. In the Latin translation of the Persian text of Prince Dara's preface (Anquetil- Duperron 1801:4), he uses "pure unification [unificationi purae]" instead of "unity [unitatis]."

31. NAF 8857:862.

32. As mentioned in Chapter 2, these were the first translations from Buddhist texts to appear in Europe (Loubere 1691).

33. This was the first Buddhist "surra" to be printed in Europe (de Guignes 1756). See Chapters 2 and 4.

34. "Eadem animi libertate fruens, Libros Salomonis, antiquos Sinarum Kims, sacros Indorum Beids, Persarum Zend-avesta perlegas, idem dogma, unicum Universitatis parentem, unicum principium spiriruale invenies, in illis clare et pellucide, uti veritatis fonti convenit, traditum" (Anquetil 1801:viii).


1. The title of the American edition (Dangerous Knowledge) undermines this central argument of the author. My references are to the English edition.

2. The Australian academic Keith Windschuttle pointed out that Volney constituted the crown jewel of Said's argument: "In fact, Said's whole attempt to identify Oriental Studies as a cause of imperialism does not deserve to be taken seriously. The only plausible connection he establishes between Oriental scholarship and imperialism is the example of the Comte de Volney, who wrote two travel books on Syria and Egypt in the 1780s suggesting that the decaying rule of the Ottoman Empire in those countries made them ripe for political change. Napoleon used Volney's arguments to justify his brief, ill-fated expedition to Egypt in 1798, though Volney himself was an opponent of French involvement there." (Windschuttle, January 1999)

3. As mentioned in Chapter 4, much of Deshauterayes's work did not make it into print; but some of his early studies and translations of Chinese Buddhism were posthumously published in 1825 ("Recherches sur la croyance et la doctrine des disciples de Fo," Deshauterayes 1825; and the sequel published in the same year) and stimulated Arthur Schopenhauer's interest in Buddhism (App 1998b). Some of Deshauterayes's translations from Chinese annals appeared in Goguet (1758, 3:313-46).

4. This kind of argument has a long history both in the East and the West; in Europe, beautiful expressions of it are found, for example, in Lucretius's famous philosophical poem De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things; first century B.C.E.) and in Giordano Bruno's Spaccio de la bestia trionfante (The expulsion of the triumphant beast) of 1584.

5. Chapters 19 to 24 of The Ruins make up over half the book's volume.

6. Chapter 23 of Volney's Ruins is an interesting example of a face-off between a representative of the budding field of religious studies and theologians of various creeds written in 1790, long before Max Muller was born. It begins as follows: "Thus spoke the orator, in the name of those who had made the origin and genealogy of religious ideas their peculiar study. The theologians of the different systems now expressed their opinions of this discourse."

7. The first two volumes of this collection appeared in Calcutta in 1785 and 1786 and were in the early days sometimes mistaken for Asiatick Researches, edited by William Jones. In Europe, Gladwin's first two volumes of Asiatick Miscellany were soon made available in a reprint (London: J. Wallis, 1787). It contained under the heading "Asiatic Poems and Tales" also William Jones's hymns to Camdeo (pp. 1-6), Narayena (pp. 7-14), and Sereswaty (pp. 30-39).

8. Though the mechanisms show similarities, I am by no means claiming that the phenomena that Schwab describes as "renaissance orientale" added up to a renaissance in the customary sense.

9. "Beddou" and "Sommanacodom" were common names of the Buddha in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century sources, usually in association with Ceylon, Thailand, and Burma. Omito is the Chinese pronunciation of Amitabha Buddha (Ch. Omito-fo, Jap. Amida-butsu). About the European identity of this figure in Volney's time, see App (2008a).

10. Volney's main source here is La Loubere's work on Siam (1691:1.392-95), an English translation of which had appeared already in 1693.

11. Similar information, partly inspired by Bailly's theories, convinced Kant around the same time of the Tibetan origin of all culture. See App 2008a:5-22.

12. In his Considerations sur l'origine, Agricole Joseph de Fortia d'Urban reproduced Volney's entire translation with "slight changes" (1807:309-14). Volney's interest in Sanskrit and other Indian languages is also documented in receipts (sent at the end of 1805 to Langles at the Department of Oriental Manuscripts of the French National Library) of an Indian manuscript and a grammar (R. Rocher 1968:55).

13. For facets of this interesting Europe-wide process, whose description would fill several more tomes, see Schwab 1950 and more recent studies such as Mangold 2004, Polaschegg 2005, Lardinois 2007, and Rabault-Feuerhahn 2008.

14. Volney donated 2,400 francs to the Institut de France to encourage improvement and application of his alphabetic transcription method for Asian languages. In accordance with his will, a yearly "Volney Prize" was given to outstanding works in that domain; but in 1835 the scope was considerably broadened to include historical and comparative linguistics. See Leopold and Leclant 1999.
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Re: The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

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• Archives de la Societe des Missions Etrangeres, Paris. Vol. 418, pp. 277-82 (transcription of manuscript notes of a conversation with Claude de Visdelou). Reproduced in Timmermans 1998:578-88.

• Archivio Romano della Compagnia di Gesu (ARSI), Rome. Jap-Sin., 9, ff. 263-64 (door-plates for the Jesuit church and residence in Zhaoqing of Fathers Ruggieri and Ricci; transcribed and rearranged in this volume, Figure 1).

• Biblioteca Nazionale Roma.: Fondo Gesuitico 1482, no. 33 ("Sumario de los errores"). See the transcription in Ruiz-de-Medina 1990:655-67.

• Biblioteca Nazionale Roma: Fondo Gesuitico 1384, no. 7 (slightly shorter, Italian version of the "Sumario de los errores").

• Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris: De Guignes Papiers divers, Nouvelles Acquisitons Francaises no. 279 (notes from a manuscript by de Visdelou in the handwriting of Deshauterayes).

• Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris: Fonds Anquetil-Duperron, Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises no. 8857 (Anquetil-Duperron's French translation of the Oupnek'hat).

• Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris: Fonds Anquetil-Duperron, Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises no. 8858, pp. 367V-461r (Anquetil-Duperron: "Le Parfait theologien").

• Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris: Fonds Anquetil-Duperron, Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises no. 8872, p. 85r (letter by Father Gaubil to Anquetil-Duperron dated Peking, September 2, 1758 and marked as received by Anquetil-Duperron on July 19, 1759).

• Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris: Fonds Anquetil-Duperron, Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises no. 8876 (Anquetil's copy of an Ezour-vedam manuscript of Court de Gebelin from Geneva who had received it through the offices of Mr. Tessier from Pondicherry).

• Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris: Fonds Francais 19117 (Harlay manuscript of the Ezour-vedam; transcribed in Rocher 1984).

• Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris: Nouvelles Acquisitions Franscaises no. 279, pp. 111-12v ("Lettre de Pondicheri. Dissertation concernant la Doctrine de Pythagore et le rapport qu'elle a avec celle de Boudha" in the handwriting of Deshauterayes).

• Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris: Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises no. 452 (Ezour-vedam; copy Maudave presented to Voltaire and Voltaire donated to the Royal Library in 1761)

• Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris: Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises no. 8977, pp. 205-41: "Fourmont l'aine XXXIV Dissertations sur la Chine" (notes in the handwriting of Joseph de Guignes from a manuscript of de Visdelou that later was published in the supplement to d'Herbelot's Bibliotheque orientale [de Visdelou and Garland 1779]).

• BibliothequeNationale, Paris: Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises no. 8872, pp. 70r-73v (letter by Deshauterayes to Anquetil-Duperron dated Paris, October 8, 1755). See the transcription with numerous inaccuracies and lacunae in Stroppetti 1986:13-25.

• Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris: Nouvelles Acquisitions Francaises no. 22335,pp. 156-80 (Deshauterayes, "Histoire de Fo ou Boudha" in manuscript collection Melanges sur l'Histoire d'Afrique, d'Asie et d'Amerique).

• British Library, London. Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections (APAC). Mss Eur D 22 (Desvaulx manuscript). See edition in Murr 1987, vol. I.

• British Library, London. Ms. Sloane 3060 (Engelbert Kaempfer's Siam and Japan manuscript)

• Musee d'Histoire Narurelle, Paris. Manuscript no. 1765, pp. 117r-125v (partial copy of a letter by Maudave to Voltaire on the Lingam cult)

• Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek Wien. Cod. 19540: De imposturis Religionum breve Compendium (by Johann Joachim Muller). See the critical edition by Winfried Schroder: De imposturis religionum (de tribus impostoribus) = Von den Betrugereyen der Religionen. Dokumente. Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog, 1999.


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Ziegenbalg, Bartholomaus. Beschreibung der Religion und heiligen Gebrauche der malabarischen Hindous, nach Bemerkungen in Hindostan gesammelt. 2 vols. Berlin: Koniglich Preussische akademische Kunst- und Buchhandlung, 1791.

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Re: The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

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Abbreviated History of Tartary (de Visdelou),
Abe, Ryoichi, 140
Abel-Remusat, Jean-Pierre (1788-1832), 13,
189, 191, 193, 196, 204, 224, 236-37, 280,
474, 492
Abraham, 3, 29-30, 34-36, 128, 161, 194--95,
260, 262, 305, 364, 375, 386, 485
Acquaviva, Claudio (1543-1615), 21
Adam, 3, 6, 8-9, 27, 30, 35, 37, 72, 110, 256-
58, 260, 263, 268-70, 272-73, 277, 280,
284, 286, 292, 306-8, 310-12, 316, 339,
364-65, 383, 386, 425, 436-37, 439, 485,
Adar, 264
Adimo, 39, 56, 58, 61, 72, 383, 425
Adris, 282
Adversus jovinianum (St. Jerome), 117
Aesculapius, 122
Agamas, 336
Age of Reason (Paine), 442
Alembert, Jean le Rond de (1717-1783), 54,
Aleppa, 90-96, 103, 173
Alexander the Grear (356-323 B.C.E.), 74
Alivardi Khan (1671-1756), 298
Allen, Charles, 188
Almond, Philip c., 77, 79, 491
Alphabetum Tibetanum (Giorgi), 248, 460,
Ambrose, Saint (Aurelius Ambrosius; c. 337-
397), 61, 63, 311, 313, 487
Amida (Amirabha Buddha; O-mi-ro), 125,
138, 140, 146, 154, 184, 409, 463, 499, 501
Amoenitates Exoticae (Kaempfer), 173
Amrtakunda (Pool of Nectar; Ambertkend;
Anbertkend), 214-16, 220, 233, 240, 248,
408, 434, 438, 493
Analects (Confucius), 23
Andrade, Antonio de (1580-1634), 118, 123
Anjirlo, 16, 90
Annius of Viterbo (c. 1432-1502), 6-7, 427
Annual Register, 67-68, 70, 299, 318, 320, 345,
414, 498
Anquetil-Duperron, Abraham Hyacinthe
(1731-1805), xv-xvi, 7, 13-15, 30, 48-49,
75-76, 78-79, 86, 155, 222-23, 253, 255,
281, 329, 361, 363-67, 380, 395, 397,
403-7, 409-11, 413-24, 426-28, 430-31,
435-41, 460, 469, 476, 486-87, 493,
Antinoff, Steven, xviii
Anubides, 122
Anville, Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon de (1697-
1782), 203, 492
Apis, 121, 177-78, 180
App, Pius, xviii
App, Urs, xi, xiii, 15-17, 102, 137, 144, 155, 179,
182, 226, 230, 232, 236, 255, 281, 319, 340,
388, 395, 432, 435-36, 471, 476, 483, 488,
491, 500-501
Arai, Kazuko, xviii
Archaeologiae philosophicae (Burner), 159, 161,
165, 262
Aronson, Alex, 53
Arphaxad, 195
Arte do. Lingoa de 1apam (Joao Rodrigues), 23
Asiatic Annual Register, 299
Asiatic Miscellany (Gladwin), 460-61
Asiatick Researches, xii, 438, 460, 462, 472,
474, 476-77, 501
Assmann, Jan, 251, 488
Astruc, Jean (1684-1766), 460
Athanasius, Saint (4th century), 342
Aughtorrah Bhade Shastah (Holwell), 325-26,
Augustine of Hippo (354-430), 39, 308, 311,
Avalokitesvara Bocihisatva (Guanyin, Quon
in pu sa), 125
Azevedo, Agostinho de , 83, 330, 336, 368


Bababec and the Fakirs (Voltaire), 37
Bacchus, 121-22
Bach, Julien, 373, 387, 396-97
Bachmann, Peter R., 371
Bacon, Roger (c. 1214-1294), 368, 453
Bailly, Jean Sylvain (1736-1793), 72, 75, 239,
457, 466, 472, 478-79, 488, 501
Balagangadhara, S. N., 361
Baldaeus, Philip (1632-1672), 83-86, 99, 118,
332, 334, 351, 368, 408, 488
Banier, Antoine (1673-1741), 135, 215
Baolin zhuan (Treasure Forest Biographies),
225, 227-28, 231
Barabarawastu, 86, 88, 95-96
Barradas, Sebastiao (1543-1615), 484
Barthelemy, Jean-Jacques (1716-1795), 118,
Basset, M., 198, 200
Batchelor, Stephen, 77
Batteux, Abbe Charles (1713-1780), 170
Bayle, Pierre (1647-1706), xvi, 4-5, 7, 11, 65,
116, 126, 132-35, 146-47, 151-52, 165-68,
183, 197-98, 200-201, 409, 456, 470
Beausobre, 1saac de (1659-1738), 233, 460
Beckingham, C. F., 496
Bedang Shaster (Dow), 68-69, 253
Bede, Saint (673-735), 311
Bernard-Maitre, Henri, 128
Bernier, Francois (1620-1688), 4-5, 118, 148,
150-53, 155-59, 163, 166-67, 169, 173,
221-22, 368, 415, 489-90
Bernou, Claude, 495
Berosus, 263
Berrow, Capel (1715-1782), 338-39, 350, 353
Bhagavat Gita, 13, 253, 356, 428, 438, 469
Bhagavata Purana ("Bagavadam"), 241, 419,
438, 461, 469
Biache (Vyasa), 49-50, 56, 58-59, 372, 380,
383-85, 390, 417, 431, 433-34
Bible, xii-xiii, xv, 3-5, 7-8, 14, 30, 39, 44, 50,
65-66, 68, 73, 76, 102, 112, 115, 159, 161,
167, 190, 193, 195, 206-8, 21O-11, 223,
241, 256, 259-60, 263-64, 268, 273-74,
286-87, 308, 311-12, 339, 356, 367, 382,
405, 424, 429, 444, 460, 465, 472, 478,
483, 485; Daniel, 268; English Authorized
Version, 307; Genesis, 26, 194, 260,
268, 287, 307-8, 340, 364-65, 416, 441,
459, 472, 485; New Testament, 95, 256,
260, 316, 461; Old Testament, xiv-xv, 3,
7, 22, 30-31, 33-340 38, 43, 54, 62, 64,
136, 194, 241, 256, 258-60, 262-64, 268-
70, 279, 282-84, 287, 305, 312, 314-16,
349-52, 361, 364, 367, 387, 425, 428,
460-41, 473, 494-95; Old and New Testaments,
xii, 29, 364, 375; Pentateuch,
xv, 241, 258-59, 263-64, 282, 290, 314-
15, 352, 367, 425, 428, 460, 473, 494; Septuagint,
34, 37, 277, 285, 307, 428; Vetus
Latina, 307
Bibliotheca Malabarica (Ziegenbalg), 85, 92,
Bibliotheca selecta (Possevino), 10, 19, 140
Bibliotheque Orientale (d'Herbelot), 202-3,
Bignon, Jean-Paul (1662-1743), 191, 281, 329,
373-75, 399
Bischof, Pius, xviii
Bischofberger, Rene, xviii
Biyanlu (Blue Cliff Record), 227
Blake, William (1757-1827), 442
Blount, Charles (1654-1693), 162-64
Bodan-Bailey, Beatrice, 174-75, 491
Bocihidharma (Damo, Ta mo, Tamo), 39, 125,
131, 139, 151-53, 158, 225, 227, 247, 250-
52, 255
Bodhiruci (6th century), 237
Bolingbroke, Henry of (1678-1751), 170, 349
Book of Enoch, xv, 30, 258, 268, 271, 274,
276, 282-83, 286, 346, 367
Borri, Cristoforo (1583-1632), 2, 118, 131, 141-
44, 146, 490
Bossuet, Jacques-Benigne (1627-1704), 34-35,
37, 429, 475
Bouchet, Jean Venant (1655-1732), 30-31, 33,
61, 79, 118, 366
Boulduc, Jacques (Jacopo Bolducci), 256, 258
Bouvet, Joachim (1656-1730), 8, 29, 202,
Braluna, 9, 56, 104, 154, 162, 166-67, 219, 221,
244, 246, 318-19, 345, 365, 371, 381, 392,
418, 436-37, 439, 464, 485
Brahmanda Purana, 336
Brahmavedam, 244, 246, 400
Brerewood, Edward (c. 1565-16(3), 101
Brosses, Charles de (1709-1777), 286, 444
Brucker, Johann Jacob (r696-1770), xvi, 4-6,
135, 165, 183-84, 217, 233-34, 408, 416,
432, 489-91, 493, 499
Bruno, Giordano (1548-1600), 27, 171, 500
Buddha, xiv, 1-2, 6, 8-9, 12, 16-18, 27-28,
40-43, 109, 114, 117, 121-25, 127-28, 132,
134-36, 139-44, 147, 150-53, 172-73,
179-81, 183, 185-87, 190, 200, 214, 216-
20, 222, 224-34, 237, 240-45, 247-48,
250-51, 255, 409, 412, 414-16, 433-35,
466, 468, 470, 478, 484, 489-91, 493-94,
496, 499, 501
Bedda, 477
Beddhou, 464
Beddou, 463, 468, 501
Bedou, 468
Boudd, 477
Boudda, 117-19, 130, 398-99
Boudha, 240, 249, 411, 493, 499
Boutta, 116-17, 121, 130, 432, 477
Boutta-varam, 130
Budd, 475, 477
Budda, 116, 129-31, 152-53, 183-85, 217-
18, 221, 415, 432-34, 499
Buddhum, 125, 128
Buddo, 186
Buddum, 128
Budha, 179, 181, 183, 222
Budha, 179
Budhum, 179
Budu, 130
Burra, 117, 217, 218
Cechian, 153
Chaca, 130
Che-kia, 243
Chekia, 217, 464
Chekia, 127, 409
Chekia-meouni, 217
Chiaga, 122, 178
Fo, 28, 41, 43, 118, 121, 123-28, 133-34, 141,
146-50, 153-54, 158-59, 165-72, 181,
183-84, 186-87, 197, 200-201, 213-18,
222-23, 230, 233, 235, 240, 247-49, 282,
398, 409, 434, 438, 500
Foe, 1, 43, 123-25, 147, 237
Foe, 126, 130-31
Fot, 464, 468-69, 477
Foteo, 217
Foto, 122, 217, 398, 489
Fotoge, 175, 179, 491
Fotoke, 489
La, 464
Mercury, 218
Phoe, 169-70
Photo, 399
Phta, 222, 464
phutta, 217
Pouti Sat, 130
Prah, 179
Prah Pudi Dsai, 183
Prah-poudi-tchaou, 217
Prahpuditsau, 179
Putha, 179
Ram, 179
Rama, 121, 178-79
Sacka, 179
Sammana Khutama (-khutama), 179, 183,
Sammona Khodum, 183
Sammonocodom, 42
Sangol-Muni, 186
Schaka, 186, 243
Schakscha-Tuba, 186
Schekia, 186
Schekmouni, 217
Schekmouniberka 11, 217
Schigemuni, 186
Shaka, 11, 17, 27, 114, 121, 138, 140, 153,
158-59, 173 181, 489-90
Shakya, 127, 140, 147, 186
Shakyamuni, 17, 27, 117, 145, 147, 173, 186,
227, 243, 489
Si Tsun, 179
Siaka, 135, 175-76, 179, 181, 183
Sommanacodom, 463, 501
Sommona-Codom, 118, 130
Sommona-Kodom, 186, 464
Tchiou ca, 130
Tche-kia, 217
Thicca, 1, 118, 130, 489
Xaca, 1, 6, 10-11, 117-18, 122, 124-25, 127-
30, 132, 135, 142-43, 146, 148, 151, 153,
155, 169, 178-80, 198, 200, 489
Xaka, 127, 173
Xe kia, 124, 146-47
Xe Kian, 122, 178
Xe-Kia, 130
Xe-kia, 118, 130, 489
Xekia, 1, 117, 127-28, 135, 152-53, 159, 169,
180, 183-84, 490-91
Buddhas (Buds), l75, 183, 491
Buffon, George-Louis Leclerc (1707-1788),
65, 456
Burke, Edmund (1729-1797), 68, 318, 320, 345
Burnet, Thomas (1635-1715), 159-65, 167,
262, 312, 490, 496
Burnouf, Eugene (1801-1852), 189, 236-37
Bush, George W. (U.S. president), 317
Bysshe, Edward, 313


Cain, 6, 27, 310
Caland, Willem, 329-30, 336, 488, 497-98
Caimette, Jean (1692-1740), 9, 13, 46, 241,
255, 281, 329, 366, 372-82, 384, 391-92,
396-403, 413, 420-21, 425-26, 428, 431,
434, 498
Cambyses II (d. 522 B.C.E.), 178-80
Capperonnier, Jean-Augustin (1745-1820), 54
Castets, Jean, 60, 371, 376-77, 388, 397-401
Catechisme de la nature (d'Holbach), 449
Catechismus christianae fidei (Valignano), 171
Cathechismus (Alexandre de Rhodes), 118, 143
Catrou, Ftancois (1659-1737), 81, 118
Catur Veda Sastra), 331. See also Chartah
Bhade Shastah
Ceres, 469
Chaldaic oracles, 3, 7-8
Charlemagne, emperor (742-814), 34-35
Charlevoix, Pierre-
Francois-Xavier de (1682-
1761), 185
Charpentier, Jarl, 498
Chartah Bhade Shastah of Bramah (Holwell),
xv, xvii, 9, 13-14, 36, 52, 67-76, 78, 238,
253, 298-301, 303, 313, 317-20, 322-29,
331-33, 337-40, 342-47, 350-52, 354-56,
358, 360-62, 417-19, 422, 429, 438, 497
Chatah Bhade of Bramah (Holwell), 325-27,
331, 337
Chezy, Antoine Leonard de (1773-1832), 13,
China Illustrata (Kircher), 11, 121, 145, 153, 155,
157, 178, 179, 200, 278, 294, 494
Chinard, Gilbert, 443
Chinese annals, 3, 12, 34, 193, 195, 206-7, 241,
Chumontou, 46-50, 55-61, 63, 114, 124, 345,
351, 371-72, 380-85, 389-90, 417, 428,
431, 434
City of God (Augustine of Hippo), 39, 275
Civavakkiyam, 96-97, 99, 112, 214, 216
Civavakkiyar, 96-98
Clarke, Samuel (1675-1729), 348
Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-e. 215), 7, 116-
17, 254
Code of Gentoo Laws, 78
Coeurdoux, Gaston Laurent (1691-1779), 75,
241, 397, 402-3, 417, 419-29, 431, 435,
476, 499
Colbe, Richard, 405
Colbert, Jean-Baptiste (1619-1683), 405
Colebrooke, Henry Thomas (1756-1837), 13
Collani, Claudia von, 31, 281, 495
Columbus, Christopher (1451-1506), 238, 308,
Commemoratio Geneseos (8th century), 308
Confucius, 11, 23, 29, 41, 62, 119, 125-26, 143,
146-47, 150, 157, 208, 263, 440, 484
Confucius Sinarum Philosophus (Coupler et
al.), 11, 123, 125, 143, 146-47, 157, 500
Considerations sur la guerre actuelle des Turcs
(Volney), 442
Constantine, emperor (c. 272-337), 34
Cooper, Michael, 23-24
Cormo-vedam, 48, 59-60, 62, 66, 394, 401-3,
Cosmographie (Heylin), 274
Couplet, Philippe (1623-1693), 5, 11, 118, 121,
123-27, 143, 146-49, 151-52, 157-59, 263,
Couto, Diogo do (1542-1616), 83, 217, 330-
36, 351, 361, 368, 408, 415-16, 419
Creuzer, Friedrich (1771-1858), 485
Crispo, Bartisra, 496
Critical reflections on the histories of ancient
peoples (Fourmont), 193
Cruijsen, Thomas, 497
Cudworth, Ralph (1617-1688), 161, 171, 254,
295, 462
Cummins, J. 5., 28
Cyrus, 34, 267, 286, 291


da Gama, Vasco (c. 1460-1524), 7, 29
Dai nihon odaiki, 183
Dainichi (Vairocana Buddha), 16-17, 154
Dalai Lama, xvi
Dalin, Olof (1708-1763), 281
Dalley, Jan, 297, 495
Dandekar, R. N., 359-61
Daneshmend Khan (Mullah Shafi'a'i), 155-56
Daniel (prophet), 267
Danielou, Jean, 485
Daodejing (Book of the Way and its Power), 28,
Dara Shikoh, Mohammed (1615-1659), 9,
150-51, 155-58, 173, 312, 436-39, 499
Darwin, Charles (1809-1882), 446
De Brachmanis hodiernis apud Indos, eorumque
dogmotibus (Burner), 162
De Christiana Expeditione (Ricci/Trigault), 28,
141, 272, 485
De Ecclesia ante legem (Boulduc), 256
de Jong, J. W., 15, 117, 188
d'Elia, Pasquale, 484-85
De moribus brachmanorum, 487
De Open-Deure tot het verborgen Heydendom
(A. Roger), 330
De originibus (Posrel), 29, 367
De statu mortuorum et resurgentium Liber (Burnet),
De tribus impostoribus (J. J. Milller), 368
Death of Abel (Gessner), 328
Decada Quinta da Asia (do Couto), 83, 330,
333, 368, 408
Defense de mon oncle (Voltaire), 60
Deffand, Marie de Vichy-Chamrond (1697-
178o), 54
Delahaye, Hubert, xviii
Deluz, Christiane, 496
DeMartino, Richard, 251
Demonstratio evangelica (Eusebius), 386
Desatir, 76
Descartes, Rene (1596-t650), 156
Description de la Chine (du Halde), 143
Description of the Character, Manners, and
Customs of the People of 1ndia (Dubois),
Deshauterayes, Michel-Ange-Andre (1724-
1795), 12, 192, 196, 203-4, 213, 222, 236,
407-13, 443, 493, 499-500
Desvaulx, Nicolas-Jacques (d. 1817), 423-24,
Devendra, 104
Dharampal-Frick, Gita, 80, 100, 488
Dharma shastra (Dirm Schaster, Dirm Schastram),
242, 250-52, 438
Dharmaraksa (c. 230-308), 246
Diamond Sutra, 246-47, 250
Dictionnaire historique et critique (Bayle), 126,
133, 146, 151
Dictionnaire philosophique (Voltaire), 344
Diderot, Denis (1713-1784), xvi, 4-5, 14, 133-
36, 146, 148-49, 152, 159, 165-66, 168-
69, 173-74, 180-81, 183-87, 197-98,
200-201, 416, 438, 489-91
Diodorus of Sicily (1S1 century B.C.E.), 117,
Discourse upon the Theology and Mythology of
the Pagans (Ramsay), 290, 315
Discoverie of the Sect of the Banians (Henry
Lord), 30
Doi, Tadao, 484
Dow, Alexander (1735-1779), 68-69, 72-74,
78, 89, 238, 241, 243, 248, 253, 345, 348,
362, 419, 429-431, 433, 438, 460
Droit, Roger-Pol, 77, 80, 189-90, 483, 491
Dubois, Jean-Antoine (1765-1848), 396-98,
403, 423, 427
Duchesne-Guillemin, Jacques, 405
Duke of Yamaguchi, 17
Duncan, Jonathan (1756-1811), 13
Duns Scotus, Johannes (c. 1265-1308), 311
Dupleix, Joseph Francois (1697-1763), 52
Dupuis, Charles (1741-1809), 170, 456-58,
465-66, 469, 473
Durt, Hubert, xviii
Duteil, Jean-Pierre, 20


Ebeling, Florian, 461
Ebisawa, Arimichi, 484
Egami, Taizan, xviii
Eldad ha-Dani (9rh century), 303-5, 307, 312-
13, 496
Eleazar, 267, 291-92
Elisseeff, Danielle, 191
Ellis, Francis, 53, 59, 382, 387-88, 390-91, 393,
395, 400-401, 403
Encyclopedie, xvi, 5, 14, 133, 135, 146, 149, 165-
66, 18o, 186, 402, 415, 490
Enoch, xv, 27, 30, 34, 258, 268, 274, 276, 282-
83, 286, 289-90, 310, 346, 367, 386, 485
Enos, 258, 276, 495
Epicurus (341-270 B.C.E.), 445, 470
Epiphanius of Salamis (c. 320-403), 29
Ernst, Carl W., 215, 493
Erste Urkunden der Geschichte oder allgemeine
Mythologie (Kanne), 485
Esposito, Monica, xviii
Essai sur les moeurs (Voltaire), 15, 35-37, 40-
46, 48, 51, 54-55, 57, 59-62, 207, 344-
45, 416, 424, 485-88
Essais de theodicee (Leibniz), 134
Estado da 1ndia e aonde tem o seu principio
(Azevedo), 330
Etiemble, Rene, 28
Etymologiae (Isidor of Seville), 308
Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 263-339), 2, 8, 117,
254, 386-89, 402, 427
Ezour-vedam, xv, xvii, 9, 13, 28, 36-37, 39,
46-56, 58-64, 66-70, 72-76, 89, 114,
124, 165, 238, 241, 243, 253, 313, 345, 351,
362, 365-66, 371, 380-85, 387-403, 413,
416-17, 421, 424-31, 433-35, 438-39,
469, 485-86, 494, 498


Fabricius, Johann Albert (1668-1736), 116,
Fatio de Duilliers, Nicolas (1664-1753), 267
Faure, Bernard, 491
Faust, Jurgen, 362
Faxian (337-422), 236-37
Fenelon, Francois (1651-1715), 4, 290, 440
Fenicio, Giacomo (1558-1632), 83, 368
Fernandez, Juan (d. (567), 130, 140, 490
Festugiere, Andre-Jean, 462
Ficino, Marsilio (1433-1499), 8, 29, 171, 254,
Fitzgerald, Timothy, 456-57
Forte, Antonino, xviii
Fortia d'Urban, Agricole Joseph de (1756-
1843), 76, 501
Forty-Two Sections Sutra, xv-xvi, 8-9, 11, 14,
124, 140, 153, 166, 176, 189-90, 214-15,
223-32, 234-35, 238, 240, 243, 247-49,
255, 408, 432, 434, 438, 468, 485, 489, 493
Foucquet, Jean-Francois (1665-1741), 12, 29,
202, 281, 285-86, 367, 485, 495
Fourmont, Etienne (1683-1745), 12, 173, 191-
96, 202-5, 209, 211, 213, 217, 222, 236,
280-81, 286, 404, 407-8, 412-13, 491-
92, 499
Fozu sanjing (Three Sutras of Buddha and Patriarch),
Fragmens sur l'Inde (Voltaire), 70-71, 301,
346, 462, 485
Fragments of Ancient Poetry (Macpherson),
Francke, August Hermann (1663-1727), 89
Franklin, Benjamin (1706-1790), 14, 350
Franklin, M. J., 299, 348
Free 1nquiry into the Nature and Origin of Evil
(Soame Jenyns), 322
Freret, Nicolas (1688-1749), xiv, 132, 191, 193,
217, 233, 281, 407-10, 416, 432, 438, 499
Fuxi (Fu Hsi), 277-78, 280, 282, 289, 367, 495


Gallagher, Louis, 21
Gaoseng zhuan (Biographies of Eminent
Monks), 237
Gascoigne, John, 262, 264, 495
Gassendi, Pierre (1592-1655), 156
Gaubil, Antoine (1689-1759), 37, 197, 367,
410, 492, 499
Gaulmier, Jean, 455, 476
Gebelin, Antoine Court de (1725-1784), 417,
457, 486-87
Genealogy of Malabar Divinities (Ziegenbalg),
86, 107, 110, 485, 488
Gentil, Jean-Baptiste-Joseph, 435, 437
Gessner, Salomon (1730-1788), 328
Ghawth, Muhammad, 493
Giorgi, Agostino (1711-1797), 179-80, 248,
460, 494
Gladwin, Francis (1744-1812), 460, 501
Goguet, Antoine-Yves (1716-1758), 457, 472,
Golinski, Jan, 261
Gorman, John, xviii
Gorp, Jan (Goropius Becanus, 1519-1572),
274, 311-12
Gorres, Joseph (1776-1848), 485
Gouk, Penelope, 261
Goul-tchen-raz (Gulshan-i-Raz, by Shabistari),
Grammatica sinica (Fourmont), 192-93
Griffiths, Ralph, 430
Grimm, Reinhold, 308, 312
Grue, Thomas de la, 330
Grundler, Johann Ernst (1677-1720), 85, 88,
90-91, 94
Grundmann, Johannes, 299
Guerreiro, Fernao (C.1550-1617), 371
Guide for the Perplexed (Maimonides), 466
Guignes, Joseph de (1721-1800), xvii, 4, 12, 14,
75, 86, 132, 141, 168, 187-94, 196-97,
201-25, 227, 229-53, 255, 392, 407-10,
412-14, 416, 431-34, 438, 443, 460, 467-
69, 492-94, 499-500
Guishan, Lingyou (771-854), 493
Gunabhadra (394-468), 237, 247
Guyon, Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Morte
(1648-1717), 4, 290
Guzman, Luis de (1544-1605), 145


Halbfass, Wilhelm, 36-37, 39, 133-35, 166, 330
Halde, Jean-Baptiste du (1674-1743), 143, 491
Halhed, Nathaniel Brassey (1751-1830), xiv,
79, 461
Ham (Cham), 6-7, 26-27, 274, 278-79, 284,
336, 441
Hamilton, Alexander (1762-1824), xiv, 13,
304, 474, 476, 496
Hartmann, George W., 297-98
Hawley, Daniel, 37, 39, 53, 68-70, 345
Hazael, 264
Hazard, Paul, 34, 150, 494
Heber, 195
Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1770-1831),
xiii, 134, 180
Helvetius, Claude-Adrien (1717-1771), 443-
44, 449, 456-57
Hennings, August Adolph von (1746-1826),
Herbelot, Barthelemy de (1625-1695), 202-4,
215, 492-93
Herbert, Edward, Baron of Cherbury (c.
1600-1655), 33, 101, 447
Hercules, 122, 472
Herder, Johann Gottfried (1744-1803), xiv,
xvii, 4-5, 76, 86, 174, 186-87, 220, 240,
362, 457, 462
Hermes, Hermes Trismegistos, 1-2, 29, 121,
194, 254, 267, 282, 365, 461, 468, 478
Hermetic texts, 2-3, 7, 171, 461-62
Herodotus (c. 484-C.{25 B.C.E.), 117, 207,
Heylin, Peter (1599-1662), 274
Histoire critique de Manichee et du manicheisme
(Beausobre), 460
Histoire de ledit de l'empereur de la Chine (Le
Gobien), 126, 168, 202
Histoire de la derniere revolution des Etats du
Grand Mogol (Bernier), 490
Histoire des Huns (de Guignes), 205-7, 214,
219, 224, 231, 233, 235, 434, 467, 492
Histoire philosophique (Raynai), 462
Historia del gran reyno de la China (Mendoza),
Historia da Igreja do Japao (Rodrigues), 11,
Historia da Vida do Padre Francisco de Xavier
(Lucena), 368
Historia ecclesiastica (Eusebius), 386
Historia religionis veterum persarum (Hyde),
429, 460
History of China (Mailla), 460
History of Christianity in the Empire of Japan
(Charlevoix), 185
History of Hindostan (Dow), 78, 345, 419, 429,
History of Japan (Kaempfer), 174
Hobbes, Thomas (1588-1679), 258-59, 316,
Hobson-Jobson (Yule), 498
Holbach, Baron de (Paul Heinrich Dietrich,
1723-1789), 424, 443-49, 456-57, 466,
Holwell, John Zephaniah (1711-1798), xiv-xv,
xvii, 3, 6, 9, 13-14, 36, 52-53, 60, 68-76,
78-79, 83, 89, 106, 170, 238, 241, 253, 255,
260, 264, 281, 290, 294, 297-308, 312-14,
316-20, 322-62, 368-70, 408, 416-19,
422, 428-33, 438, 460, 488, 496-97
Homelies (Voltaire), 60, 69-70
Horus, 293
Hosten, Henry, 425
Howell, Sir James (1594-1666), 343-44
Huang, Arcade (Hoang; 1679-1716), 173, 191,
Hubert, Rene, 462
Huet, Pierre-Daniel (1630-1721), 31, 161, 254,
282, 343, 485
Hume, David (1711-1776), 4, 66, 170-71,
295-96, 448, 456-57
Hutter, Peter, 427
Huwyler, Alexander, xviii
Hyde, Thomas (1636-1703), 33, 118, 217, 429,


Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit
(Herder), 5, 186-87, 220, 462
Idris, 282
Ignatius of Antioch (1st-2nd century), 74
Ilg, Ursula, xviii
Ilive, Jacob (1705-1763), 313-17, 319, 323, 328,
333-35, 338, 341, 344, 348, 350-51, 361,
Imai, Tadashi, 174, 491
Imamura, Gen'emon Eisei (1671-1736), 173
Immortality of the Soul (Henry More), 292
Imperio de la China (Semedo), 272
Institutes of Hindu Law (W. Jones), 13
Interesting Historical Events (Holwell), 36, 68,
78, 300, 313, 326, 350, 359, 460
Introduction a l'histoire du Buddhisme 1ndien
(Burnouf), 237
Irenaeus, Saint (2nd century), 233
Irwin, Robert, xi, 441-43, 483
Isidor of Seville (d. 636), 308, 311
Isis, 39, 82, 122, 213, 293, 469
Ith, Johann (1747-1813), 429-31, 437
Ito, Genjiro, 484


Jahan, Shah (1592-1666), 155-56, 437
Jahangir, Emperor (1569-1627), 437
Japhet, 427-28
Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826), 14, 443
Jenyns, Soame (1704-1787), 322
Jerome, Saint (c. 342-420), "7, 258
Jesus, 28, 32, 34, 96, 117, 126, 206-7, 233, 235,
266, 278, 284, 304, 313, 346, 368, 375,
392, 433, 445, 453, 458, 467-69, 488
Jeyaraj, Daniel, 80, 85-86, 90, 95, 485, 488
John, Prester, 304-7, 312-13, 496
Jones, 1nigo (1573-1652), 273
Jones, William (1746-1794), xiv, 13, 15, 30,
75-76, 86, 165, 180, 209, 255, 264, 273,
281, 336, 348, 432, 441-42, 461, 471, 474,
476, 483, 488, 50!
Josaphat, Saint, 136-37
Josephus, Titus Flavius, 264, 270, 274, 307-8,
3", 496
Journal asiatique, 479
Journal des Scavans, 11, 123, 196, 281, 414, 494,
Jupiter, 293


Kabbala, 153, 162, 169-70, 291
Kaegi, Werner, 34
Kaempfer, Engelbert (1651-1716), 4, 6, 12-13,
11l, 135, 148-49, 152, 172-85, 214, 227,
251-52, 413-14, 460, 489, 491, 494
Kailasapathy, K., 96-97
Kanne, Johann Arnold (1773-1824), 485
Kant, Immanuel (1724-1804), xi, 4, 86, 174,
Kao, Dionysius, u8, 130, 204, 489
Katagiri, Kawo, 173
Kaudinya, 232
Keturah, 29-30
Kieffer, Jean-Daniel, 474, 497
King, Richard, 486
Kircher, Athanasius (1602-1680), xvi, 2, 4, 6,
8, n, 81-82, 111, 113-14, 121-22, 145-46,
153-155-57, 162-63, 166, 173, 178-80,
185, 194, 198, 200, 214, 222, 243, 254, 274,
276, 278-79, 294, 351, 367-68, 372, 410,
460, 462, 467, 489, 494-95
Klaproth, Julius Heinrich (1783-1835), 191
Knefelkamp, Ulrich, 496
Koran (Quran), 73, 155, 368, 461
Krishna, 469
Kokai (734-835), 140
Kumarajiva (344-413), 237, 246


La Crequiniere, Sieur de, 4, 169-71
La Croze, Mathurin Veyssiere de (1661-1739),
4, 6, 12, 14, 43-45, 49, 77, 79-83, 85-86,
88-90, 94, 99, 104, 106, 110-21, 128-32,
173, 185, 189, 214-17, 219-20, 240, 243,
248, 382, 395, 398, 409, 4u, 413-16, 431-
32, 467, 486, 488-89, 491, 494
La defense de mon oncle (Voltaire), 36
La loi naturelle, ou principes physiques de La
morale (Volney), 452
La Loubere, Simon de (1642-1729), 5, 398,
438, 489, 501
La Peyrere, 1saac (1596-1676), 3, 31, 259, 273,
275, 460, 494
Lach, Donald, 497
Lactantius (c. 240-C. 320), 2, 8, 39, 254, 386
Ladvocat, Jean-Baptiste (1709-1765), 405
Lafitau, Joseph Francois (1681-1746), 281, 444
Lalane, Pierre (1669-1748), 40
Lamech, 256
Lamennais, Hugues Robert Felicite de (1782-
1854), 486
Langles, Louis-Mathieu (1763-1824), xii, xiv,
5, 13, 75-76, 170, 241, 425, 473-75, 479,
488, 494, 501
Lanjuinais, Jean-Denis (1753-1827), 387
Lahkavatara Sutra, 247
Laozi (Laokium, Lao tse), 41, 122, 126
Lardinois, Roland, 501
Lavaur, Jean- Baptiste, 402
Law, Jacques Francois de Lauriston (1724-
1785), 52
Le Clerc, Jean (1657-1736), 150, 152, 470
Le Comte, Louis (1655-1728), 5, 118, 126-27,
143, 148, 202, 279, 489-90
Le Gac, Stephan, 374
Le Gobien, Charles (1653-1708), xvi, 4-5, 11,
40, 61, 126, 133, 168, 197-202, 222, 243,
279, 374, 376-78, 380, 382, 384, 399-
400, 490-91, 498
Leclant, Jean, 501
Leibniz, Gottfried (1646-1716), 29, 134> 144,
218, 281, 484
Lengqie abatuoluo baojing, 247
Lenoir, Frederic, 491
Leopold, Joan, 501
Less, Gottfried (1736-1797), 50
Letters by a Turkish Spy (Marana et a1.), 344,
Letters to Serena (Toland), 40, 171
Lettre au duc du Maine sur les ceremonies de la
Chine (Lecomte), 202
Lettres edifiantes et curieuses, 30, 40, 486, 491
Lettres persanes (Montesquieu), 369
Lens, Malcolm, 496
Leung, Cecile, 232, 281. 373, 491
Leviathan (Hobbes), 259
Li, Zubo (d. (665), 279-80
Lift of Tewetat (La Loubere), 438
Linjilu (Records of Linji), 227
Little, J. H., 297-98
Livro da Seita dos Indios Orientais (Fenicio),
Lockman, John (1698-1771), 372-73
Longobardi, Niccolo (1559-1654), 24, 141, 144
Lord, Henry, 30, 159, 163, 166, 351. 367, 429.
438, 467
Lorenzen, David, 496
Loubere, Simon de la (1642-1729), 5, 118, 120,
130-31, 148, 190, 222, 398, 409, 438, 489,
491, 500-501
Louis X1V. king, 123, 405
Louis XV, king, 403
Lubac, Henri de, 1, 77, 135, 189, 489
Lucena, Joao de (1549-1600), 368
Lucretius (c. 99-C55 B.C.E.), 445, 470, 500
Lundbaek, Knud, 280, 286, 492, 495
Luo, Qing (1443-1527). 489
Lutkehaus, Ludger, 79
Lutkins, Patricia, xviii


Ma, Duanlin (1245-1322), 218, 223-24, 227,
231, 235-42, 244, 246, 248-51, 413
Macpherson, James (1736-1796), 63, 318, }28
Maeda, Naomi, xviii
Magalhaes. Gabriel de (1610-1677), 273, 495
Magi, 304
Mahakasyapa, 125, 226, 494
Maigrot, Charles (1652-1730), 118
Mailla, Joseph Anne Marie de Moyriac de
(1669-1748), 411, 413, 460
Maimonides (c. 1137-1204), 466
Mair, Victor, xviii
Malabarisches Heidenthum (Ziegenbalg). 488
Malek, Roman, 495
Mallet, Paul Henri (1730-1807), 203, 281
Mandeville, John (pen name; 14th century).
305-7, 312-13
Mangold, Sabine, xii, 501
Mani (c. 216-276), 233
Manuel, Frank Edward, 170-71, 263-64, 494
Marana, Giovanni (1642-1693), 344, 370
Marchand, Prosper (c. 1675-1756), 204
Maree, Valentin, 488
Maria, Vincenzo (d. 1680), 85, 1(8
Marignolli, Giovanni (14th century), 308, 310,
Marini, Giovanni Filippo (1608-1682), 118
Marshall, Peter, 79, 299
Martin, Pierre (1665-1716), 46-47
Martini, Martino (1614-1661), 10, 24, 31, 141,
145, 273, 275-79, 369, 484, 495
Maspero. Henri (1882-1945), 224
Masuzawa, Tomoko, 188, 190
Maudave, Louis-Lament de Federbe, Chevalier
de (1725-1777), 37, 45-48, 50-52, 54,
59, 61-62, 64, 366, 394. 424, 486
Maurice, Thomas (1754-1824), xiv, 76. 165,
Medici, Cosimo de (1519-1574), 461
Meditationes sinicae (Fourmont), 193
Megasthenes (c. 350-290 B.C.E.), 117
Meinert, J. G., 310
Melissus of Samos (5th century B.C.E.), 25
Memoire ... que les Chinois sont une colonie
egyptienne (de Guignes), 208
Memoire historique sur l'origine des Huns et des
Turks (de Guignes), 204
Memoires de Trevoux, 28, z07
Mendoza, Juan Gonzales de (c. 1540-1617),
272, 495
Meno1, Michel (d. 1518).74
Mercury, 75, 216, 218, 282-83, 414, 468, 477
Methusalem, 283
Mettrie, Julien Offray de la (/709-1751), 170
Michel, Wolfgang, 491
Mickle, Julius (1735-1788), }28-29
Mignot, Vincent (1730-1790). 48, 170, 203,
238, 255, 281, 414-17, 419, 421, 427, 431-
32, 435, 475, 494, 499
Milton, John (1608-1674), 316, }28
Ming, Emperor, 123-24, 224, 235, 489
Mir Jafar, Nawab (Sayyid Mir Muhammad
Jafar Ali Khan, 1691-1765), 298
Mirabaud, Jean-Baptiste de (1675-1760), 443
Mithra, 469
Molinos, Miguel de (c. 1628-1697), 4, 158
Mollier, Christine, xviii
Monier-Williams, Monier, 497
Monnet, Nathalie, xviii, 493
Montesquieu (Charles de Secondat, 1689-
1755), 286, 369, 463
More, Henry (1614-1687), xvi, 46, 53, 59, 211,
292, 299, 410, 486
Moreri, Louis (1643-1680), 489
Moseley, C. W. R. D., 305, 312, 496
Moses, xv, 6-7, 29, 31-32, 34, 37, 115, 161-62,
205, 210-11, 258-63, 266, 274-76, 282,
285-87, 290, 304-6, 312, 314-15, 320,
341-45, 352, 364-65, 368-69, 386, 428,
437, 453, 466, 473, 478, 496
Mosheim, Johann Lorenz (1693-1755), 5, 165
Mozac, Anroine (1704-c.J784), 366, 394,
402-3, 406, 417-26
Muhammad (Propher), 73, 155, 215, 368-69,
437, 453
Muhlberger, Josef, 19
Muller, Johann Joachim (1661-1733), 368-69
Mulsow, Martin, 368
Mungello, David, 123, 277, 280, 495
Murakoshi, Kunio, xviii
Murakoshi, Yoko, xviii
Murr, Sylvia, 397, 423-24, 427, 429


Nachor, 195
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), 297, 442,
479, 500
Natural History of Religion (Hume), 66, 295,
Natural Law, or Physical Principles of Morality
(Volney), 452
Navarrete, Domingo Fernandez (c. 1610-
1689), 117-18, 130, 144
Neaulme, Jean, 203-4
Nerreter, David (1649-17Z6), 101
New Atlas of China (d'Anville), z03
Newton, Isaac (1643-1727), 30, 68, 114, 193,
260-68, 271, 287, 342, 495, 499
Niecamp, Johann Lucas, 44, 85, 499
Nihon shoki, 491
Nimrod, 26, 274
Nippo jisho, 19
Noah, xiii, xv, 1, 3, 6, 8, 26-27, 32-33, 48, 81,
110, 112, 123, 161-62, 164, 194, 207, z41,
256, 258, 26o, 262, 264, 267-68, 270,
272, 274-79, 283, 311, 335-36, 394, 427-
28, 441, 474, 485
Nobili, Roberto de (1577-1656), 10-11, 27, 82,
95-98, 113, 247, 279, 370-72, 374, 377-
78, 384, 396-97, 483
Nock, Arthur Darby, 462
Notitia linguae sinicae (Premare), 196, 280
Nouveaux memoires sur that present de la
Chine (Lecomte), 126, 143, 490
Novus Atlas Sinensis (Martini), 145, 273, 275
Nyayadarsana (Neadirsen, Neadirzin), 248,


Obeliscus Pamphilius (Kircher), 82
Odin (Voden, Wedn, Woran, Wodin), 218,
Oedipus Aegyptiacus (Kircher), 460
Ogilby, John, 495
Okabe, Kazuo, 225
Open Door to the Hidden Paganism (A.
Roger), 330
Opticks (Newton), 261
Oration (John Ilive), 313-14, 496
Origenes (c. 185-254), 315
Origin of all Religions (Dupuis), 473
Origines sacrae (Stillingfleet), 273
Orpheus, 254, 365, 468-69
Osiris, 39, 82, 11l, 121-22, 194, 213, 293, 463,
Ossian, 63, 318, 328
Osterwalder, Joseph, xviii
Osterwalder, Stefanie, xviii
Ou yin yun-tong, 244
Oupnek'hat, xv, 76, 155, 366, 436-37, 439
Ouyang, Xiu (1007-1072), 195


Padmanaba, 84
Paine, Thomas (1737-1809), 26o, 442
Panjangan, 40, 372
Pantainos (2nd century), 117
Paradise Lost (Milton), 328
Patimokkha (Patimuk), 438
Patrick, Saint, 429
Paulinus, a Sancto Bartholomaeo (Philipp
Wesdin; 1748-1806), xiv, 29, 61, 63-64,
365-66, 382, 427, 487
Pausanias (2nd century), 117
Peiresc, Nicolas-Claude Fabri de (1580-1637),
Pennington, Brian K., 359
Pereira, Benito (c. 1535-1610), 484
Peris de la Croix, Jean Francois (1653-1713),
Petrus Comestor (died c. 1178), 311
Phaleg, 195
Phan, Peter, 143
Philipps, Jenkin Thomas, 85, 94
Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica
(Newton), 261
Philosophical Dictionary (Voltaire), 346
Philosophical Principles of Natural and Revealed
Religion (Ramsay), 266
Philosophie de l'histoire (Voltaire), 36, 60, 65,
344, 487
Piccolomini, Aeneas Silvius (1405-1464), 311
Pimander, 461-62
Pinkerton, John, 142
Pinot, Virgile, 28, 495
Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, 227
Plato (429-347 B.C.E.), 4, 170, 254, 293, 315,
365, 409, 461
Pluche, Noel-Antoine (1688-1761), 170
Pluquet, Francois-Andre-Adrien (1716-1790),
Plutarch (c. 46-120), 39, 82, 114
Pocock, J. G. A., 205
Polaschegg, Andrea, xii, 501
Polo, Marco (1254-1324), 9, 199
Pomeau, Rene, 33, 36, 40, 372, 485
Pons, Jean Francois (1688-1752), 13, 241, 244,
246, 281, 373, 375-78, 380, 394, 398-403,
Pope Pius 11. See: Piccolomini, Aeneas Silvius
Popkin, Richard, 259-60, 494
Porphyry (234-c. 305), 116-17
Possevino, Antonio (1534-1611), 5, 10, 19, 140,
Postel, Guillaume (1510-1581), 29-30, 311, 367
Poulle, Maridas, 241, 419, 438
Pozza, Adriana, xviii, 257
Pozza, Valerio, xviii, 257
Praeparatio evangelica (Eusebius), 386-87
Prajnaparamita scriptures, 245-47
Preexistent Lapse of Human Souls Demonstrated
from Reason (Berrow), 338
Premare, Joseph-Henri (1666-1736), 12, 29,
196, 202, 280-81, 284, 286-89, 367, 492,
Priestley, Joseph (1733-1804), 76, 428-29, 473
Proklos (Proc1us: 412-485), 8
Purtinas, 106, 157, 331, 335-36, 376, 475, 495
Pythagoras (c. 570- C.495 B.C.E.), 6, 54, 170,
172, 213, 234-35, 254, 267, 277, 291, 293-
94, 315, 343, 409, 461, 468, 495


Qazi, Rukn ud-Din (d. 1218), 493
Questions sur l'encyclopedie (Voltaire), 72
Queyroz, Fernao de (1617-1788), 127-28
Quietism of the Indies (Bernier), 157


Rabault-Feuerhahn, Pascale, xii, 501
Rahula, 124
Raleigh, Walter (c. 1552-1618), 274, 311
Ramayana, 336
Ramsay, Andrew Michael (1686-1743), 4, 6,
8, 12, 14, 40, 165, 254, 260, 264, 266-72,
274, 279, 281, 285-95, 313, 315, 323, 329-
30, 334-35, 338, 341, 343, 351, 361, 495,
Ramseier, Yves, xviii
Rattansi, Piyo, 261, 494
Raynal, Guillaume Thomas (1711-1796), 239,
Recherches sur les philosophes appeles Samaneens
(de Guignes), 214
Regis, Pierre-Sylvain (1632-1707), 123
Rehoboam, 263
Religion Indienne & livres fondamentaux de
cette religion (de Guignes), 214
Religion of the Perses (Lord), 367
Reuchlin, Johann (1455-1522), 367
Rhodes, Alexandre de (1591-1660), 118-19,
130-31, 143-44
Ribeyro, Joao (1622-1693), 118
Ricci, Matteo (1552-1610), 7, 10-11, 19-25,
27-29, 33, 40, 50, 63, 82, 123, 140-41,
145, 165, 198, 202, 235, 272, 279, 371-72,
381, 483-85
Rishis, seven, 241, 428, 435
Ritter, Carl (1779-1859), 180
Rocher, Ludo, 45-48, 50-52, 61, 64, 366, 381-
83, 388-89, 392-93, 395-98, 402, 417,
486-87, 498
Rocher, Rosane, xiv, 476, 501
Rodrigues, Joao (1561-1633), 2, 4, 7, 10-11,
22-27, 118, 121, 130, 141, 143-46, 185, 189,
197-98, 200, 202, 278-79, 484, 493
Roger, Abraham (d. 1649), 84, 100, 118, 159,
164, 166, 222, 241, 294, 330, 334, 351, 408,
411, 416-17, 429-30, 483
Romulus, 34
Roser, Lee, xviii
Ross, Alexander (1591-1654), 100-101
Rossi, Paolo, 161, 495
Roth, Heinrich (1620-1668), 153-55, 157, 163,
Rothschild, Hans, 423
Rubies, Joan-Pau, 79, 330, 371
Rubruck, William of (c. 1220-C.1293), 9
Ruggieri, Michele (1543-1607), 19-20, 22,
235, 484
Les Ruines (Volney), 442-43, 448-49, 452,
455-64, 466-67, 469-72, 476-79, 500
Ruiz-de-Medina, Juan, 17, 140, 483
Rule, Paul, 235, 280, 484


Sabbathier, Francois (1735-1807), 409
Sacred Theory of the Earth (Burnet), 159-61
Sacy, Sylvestre de (1758-1838), 474, 487
Said, Edward, xi, 186, 440-43, 483, 500
Saignes, J., 379-80
Sainte-Croix, Guillaume de (1746-1809), 13,
49, 51, 56, 58-59, 62-63, 76, 170, 240,
255, 281, 383, 385, 390, 395-96, 421, 427,
429-35, 438, 486-87, 494, 498
Sakai, Saroshi, xviii
Saleh, 195
Salomo, 34
Sammlung asiatischer Original-Schriften, 438
Santarem, Vicomte de, 309
Sarug, 195
Satapatha-Brahmana, 298-99
Sattia Veda Sanghiragham (de Nobili), 377
Saturn, 293
Scali, Alessandro, 308, 311
Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph (1775-
1854), 8
Scheuchzer, Johann Caspar (1702-1729), 174-
75, 491
Schlegel, August Wilhelm (1767-1845), 479
Schlegel, Friedrich (1772-1829), 5, 416, 474,
Schmidt-Biggemann, Wilhelm, 6, 8
Schmidt, Nathaniel, 367
Schopenhauer, Arthur (1788-1860), 236, 490,
Schroder, Winfried, 368
Schurhammer, Georg, 17, 83, 138, 140, 330
Schutte, Josef Franz, 18-19
Schwab, Raymond, 1, 15, 53, 79, 223, 363,
404-5, 462, 497, 501
Scienza nuova (Vice), 444
Scipio, 34
Semedo, Alvaro (c. 1586-1658), 272, 276
Serapides, 122
Serapis, 177, 180
Sermon des cinquante (Voltaire), 31, 485
Seth, 6, 27, 30, 258, 274, 286, 495
Shabistari, Mahmoud al-Karim (d. (287), 490
Sharf, Robert, 225, 228
Sharpe, Eric J., 456
Shastabad (Dow), 238
Shastah of Bramah (Holwell). See Chartah
Bhade Shastah
Shem, 124, 195, 258, 274, 279, 283-84
Shih Huangdi, Emperor, 263
Shiva, 56, 90, 93, 97, 103-5, 107-9, 111-12,
129, 131, 219, 221, 365, 371, 379, 381, 391-
92, 411-12, 432, 464
Shivadharma (teacher of de Nobili), 371
Shousui (Zen master, 1072-1147), 229-30,
Shujing (Classic of History), 197, 203, 207,
Silk, Jonathan, 205, 497
Simon, Richard (1638-1712), 65
Sinicae historiae decas prima (Martini), 273,
275, 277
Sinner, Jean-Rodolphe, 48, 429, 462
Sirinelli, Jean, 386
Sirr-i akbar (Dara Shikoh), 155, 435
Skanda Parana, 336
Sloane, Hans (1660-1753), 173-75, 488
Smith, W. C, 456
Soen, Shaku (1859-1919), 494
Solomon, 263-65, 320, 439
Sonnerat, Pierre (1748-1814), 50, 63, 460
Spaccio de la bestia trionfante (G. Bruno), 500
Spence, Joseph (1699-1768), 286
Spinoza, Baruch de (1632-1677), 3-5, 11, 31,
65, 146-47, 150-51, 267, 316, 460, 470
Stackelberg, Jurgen von, 72
Stein, Aurel (1862-1943), 206
Stenger, Christiane, 191-192
Steuchus, Augustinus (1496-1549), 311
Stillingfleet, Edward (1635-1699), 273
Stokes, James V., xviii
Strabo (63/64 B.CE.-24 CE.), 117, 311
Stroppetti, Romain, 499
Sujah, Sultan (1639-1660), 156
Sumario de los errores, 17, 19, 140
Suzuki, Daisetz Teitaro (1870-1966), 494
Sweetman, Will, 78-80, 101, 109, 359-61, 485,
488, 497
Systeme de la nature (d'Holbach), 424, 443,


Tachard, Guy (1651-1712), 5, 164, 167
Takagi, Akifumi, xviii
Talmud, 304
Tavernier, Jean Baptiste (1605-1689), 368, 489
Tayumanavar (1706-1744), 96
Telluris theoria sacra (Burnet), 159
Temple, William (1628-1699), 264, 285
Ten Commandments, 18, 20, 306
Tertullian (c. 160-c. 200), 117, 276, 282
Terwiel, Barend J., 491
Thascius Caelius Cyprianus (d. 258), 308
Thomas, Mark, xviii
Thomas, Saint (apostle), 304, 31213
Thompson, E. P., 442
Thot, 282
Three Impostors (J. J. Muller), 368
Tianzhu shilu (Ruggieri & Ricci), 20
Tianzhu shiyi (Ricci), 22
Timmermans, Claire, 199, 491
Tindal, Matthew (1657-1733), 260, 349
Tirumular (6th century), 96-97
Tissanier, Joseph (1618-1688), 489
Tivakaram, 86-87
Toin, Vicente, 18
Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), 23
Toland, John (1670-1722), 40, 165, 170-72,
Tomba, Marco della (1726-1803), 496
Torii, Haruko, xviii
Torres, Cosme de (1510-1570), 138-39
Torrey, Norman L., 485
Tournemine, Rene-Joseph de (1661-1739), 28,
33, 377
Tractatus theologico-politicus (Spinoza), 31
Tratados (Navarrete), 117-18
Trautmann, Thomas, 76, 78-79, 85, 223, 299,
331, 336, 351, 487, 495
Travels in the Mogul Empire (Bernier), 155
Travels of Cyrus (Ramsay), 40, 266-67, 286,
291-92, 313, 315, 329, 351, 499
Travels of Sir John Mandeville, 305-6, 312
Trigault, Nicolas (1577-1628), 28, 141, 272, 485
Trousson, Raymond, 485
True 1ntellectual System of the Universe (Cudworth),
True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven (Ricci),
Tuisco, xv, 427
Typhon, 31, 349, 485


Ullendorf, Edward, 496
Ulrich, Jorg, 386-87, 389
Universal History (G. Sale et al.), 31, 35
Upanishads, 9, 13, 155-56, 436-39, 476
Ussher, James (1581-1656), 277


Vaissiere, Etienne de la, 206
Valignano, Alessandro (1539-1606), 10, 16,
18-20, 22-24, 127, 139-40, 144, 171, 484
Van K1ey, Edwin J., 497
Varabadu, 43
Varenius, Bernhard (1622-1650), 101, 443, 455
Varo, Francisco (1627-1687), 193, 491
Veda, xii, xv, 4, 7, 9, 13, 15, 36, 40-41, 43-49,
52-60, 62, 66-67, 70, 72-75, 82-84, 86,
98, 105-6, 109-10, 112, 114-15, 120, 155,
157, 167-68, 188, 215, 217, 222, 235-36,
240-47, 250, 281, 294, 325-26, 329-36,
345, 351, 361, 363, 365-39, 382-85, 387-
403, 406-12, 416-26, 429-30, 434-39,
461-62, 475, 477, 486-88, 491, 495>
Vendidad Sade, 404, 499
Venus, 122, 147
Viaggio all'Indie orientali (Vincenzo Maria),
Viaggio alle 1ndie orientali (Paulinus), 365
Vico, Giambattista (1668-1744), 4, 444
Viedam of Brummah (Holwell), 325, 327, 331-
33, 497
Vinson, Julien, 397
Visdelou, Claude de (1656-1737), 12, 197-
206, 213, 222, 224, 231, 235-37, 281, 367,
375, 407, 41O-11, 413, 492-94, 498-99
Vishnu, 1, 42, 56, 84, 103-5, 107-8, 111-12,
115-16, 129, 131, 179, 183, 218-19, 221, 351,
365, 371, 375, 379, 381, 390-91, 409, 411-
12, 428, 432, 454, 464, 468
Vita, Silvio, xviii
Vocabulario da Lingoa de Iapam, 19
Volney, Constantin-Francois (1757-1820), xii,
xiv, 3, 5, 14, 30, 75, 86, 440, 442-44,
448-72, 474-79, 500-501
Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet; "Abbe
Bazin"; 1694-1778), xii, xiv-xv, xvii,
3-5, 7, 9, 12-16, 18, 24, 28-48, 36, 50-76,
80, 86, 88-89, 114, 170-71, 174, 203-4,
207-8, 210, 238-39, 241, 253, 286, 290,
298, 301-3, 312-13, 320, 328-29, 344-48,
362, 369, 372, 380, 394-95, 401, 403-4,
414, 416-17, 421, 424-25, 427-30, 435,
456-57, 462, 473, 475, 478, 483, 485-88,
494-95, 498
Vossius, Isaac (1618-1689), 275
Voyage en Syrie et en Egypte (Volney), 442
Voyage to Siam (Tachard), 164
Voyage to the East 1ndies (Paulinus), 365
Voyages de Cyrus (Ramsay), 266
Vyasa, xiv, 50, 243-44, 384, 390


Wagner, Richard, 1
Walker, Daniel Pickering, 8, 31, 254, 26o, 267
Walter, Xavier, 496
Wang, Pan, 484
Warburton, William (1698-1779), 170, 344
Wasserstein, David J., 304, 496
Webb, John (1611-1672), 273-79
Welbon, Guy R., 77
Wenxian tongkao (Ma Duanlin), 218, 223-24,
235, 244, 246
Westfall, Richard 5., 262-64, 494
Whiston, William (1667-1752), 307, 444
Wicky, Andre, xviii
Wilford, Francis (c. 1761-1822), 335-36
Wilkins, Charles (1749-1836), 13, 253, 348,
356, 428, 438-39, 460-61, 469
Willson, Leslie, 53, 298-99
Wilson, Walter, 314
Windischmann, Carl Josef Hieronymus, 497
Windschuttle, Keith, 500
Winkelmann, F., 386
Witek, John, 286, 495


Xavier, Francis (1506-1552), 16-18, 90, 127
Xuanzang (c. 602-664), 237


Yama, King of Hell (Jap. Emma o), 184
Yampolsky, Philip, 227
Yanagida, Seizan (1922-2005), xvii, 225, 251,
Yang, Guangxian (1597-1669), 280
Yijing (Book of Changes), xv, 7-9, 12, 29, 62,
76, 202-3, 213, 277-78, 280, 282-84,
287, 290, 367, 484
Yoho, Paulo, 18
Yule, Henry, 498


Zarncke, Friedrich, 305, 496
Zend Avesta, 76, 78-79, 223, 253, 405, 407,
419, 421, 439, 461, 469, 500
Zhixu (1599-1655), 493
Zhu, Shixing (3rd century), 245
Ziegenbalg, Bartholomaeus (1683-1719), 12,
14, 44-45, 49, 77, 79-80, 85-91, 94-112,
115-16, 118-21, 129, 131, 165, 173, 185, 215-
16, 221-22, 240, 398, 415, 432, 434-35,
485-86, 488-89
Zingerle, Arnold, 495
Zoroaster, 1, 6-7, 26, 31, 141, 144, 218, 267,
278, 343, 365, 404-5, 407, 414, 454, 464,
466, 468
Zupanov, 1nes, 371, 485
Zvelebil, Kamil Veith, 85, 97-98
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Re: The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

Postby admin » Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:09 am

Figures and Tables
• Figures

o 1. Inscriptions, Jesuit residence and church in Zhaoqing, 1584

o 2. Vishnu recovers the Veda from the sea

o 3. Schematic view of Ziegenbalg's classification of religions

o 4. Relics of Saint Josaphat (St. Andrieskerk, Antwerp)

o 5. Kircher's Indo-Japanese divinities

o 6. The earth formation cycle of Burnet (1684)

o 7. Diagram of Engelbert Kaempfer's view of Asian religions

o 8. De Guignes's hieroglyphs and Chinese characters

o 9. Stemma of major Forty-Two Sections Sutra editions

o 10. Bodhidharma crossing the sea on a reed

o 11. Adam's skull underneath the cross

o 12. Newton's map of Solomon's temple

o 13. Yijing trigram charts by Premare

o 14. Paradise near India on Osma world map

o 15. Chapter themes of Holwell's Shastah translation

o 16. Holwell's Shastah in review and published versions

o 17. Genesis of Holwell's Chartah Bhade Shastah of Bramah

o 18. Christianity's transmission line in Eusebius of Caesarea

o 19. Stages of Ezour-vedam creation and dissemination

o 20. Handwriting samples of Deshauterayes
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Re: The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

Postby admin » Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:54 am


o 1. Edict of the Duke of Yamaguchi

o 2. Voltaire's Essai sur les moeurs and Asian religions

o 3. Voltaire's edition of Ezour-vedam creation account

o 4. First section of Holwell's Shastah

o 5. Chinese sects in Visdelou's text and Le Gobien's

o 6. Brahmans in Visdelou's text and Le Gobien's

o 7. Section of de Guignes's Forty-Two Sections Sutra translation

o 8. Beginning of de Guignes's Forty-Two Sections Sutra preface

o 9. Inner and outer doctrines according to de Guignes

o 10. Text percentages in Holwell's translations per theme

o 11. Do Couto's Vedas and Holwell's sacred scriptures of India

o 12. Contents of do Couto's first Veda and first book of Holwell's Shastah

o 13. Protagonists of Pondicherry Vedas and transmission lines

o 14. Buddhism in Ezour-vedam and Pons's letter

o 15. Periodization of career of Pondicherry Vedas

o 16. Father Coeurdoux's truthfulness confirmed

o 17. Anquetil's draft translation of Oupnek'hat preface

o 18. Phases in genesis of Volney's Ruins
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