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0131 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 131 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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232. FUGIU   727

découverte de Nestoriens Mongols aux Ordos, 13) feels inclined to do the same. In various numbers of the Bull. cash. de Pékin, 1934, the Lazarist DUVIGNEAU, however, tried to show that my explanation ran counter to almost every one of Polo's statements.

In favour of an identification of the members of the sect in question with real Christians, there is of course the fact that the two Polos declared them to be Christians and that the « head of the Christians » at the Court of Qubilai did the same. No less important is the identification by the Polos of fragments translated from their holy books with « the words of the Psalter ». There are also the «three apostles of the seventy», whom they held in deep veneration, and for whom the names of Addaeus, Mares and Aghaeus have been suggested by MOULE and repeated by BERNARD.

Nevertheless, it seems to me quite clear that these people, although mistaken for Christians, were not Christians. If they had been true Christians of the same denomination as the Nestorians of the Mongol Court, the question of their identity would never have arisen. MOULE said, with much reserve, that they might have been the survivors of the first Nestorian apostolate of the 7th-9th centuries. But in such a case one cannot see why they should not have been accepted without debate by their brethren, the Mongol Nestorians. Moreover, we must not forget that the Nestorian community of the T'ang period seems to have been composed almost exclusively of foreigners and was practically annihilated by the religious persecution of 845. The monk from Najran who, in 980, had gone on a special mission to inquire into the fate of the Nestorian church in China, reported on his return that in the whole of China he had only met with one Christian.

On the other hand, Manichaeism, which had also entered China in the 7th cent., had enough Chinese adepts to survive the persecutions of 843 and 845, and to become soon after an important religious element in the provinces of Chê-chiang and Fu-chien. It had taken on enough of the appearance of a Chinese religion to have had two of its principal doctrinal treatises accepted for a time in the standard collection of the Taoist scriptures at the beginning of the 11th cent. In the 12th cent., Chu Hsi, the famous philosopher, seems to have been at one time under Manichaean influence. The Manichaeans were denounced as dangerous rivals by the Buddhists of the Mongol period, but these people in Fugiu were accepted by the Buddhists as « idolatem ». They were still active in Fu-chien, with their own books and their own traditions, at the beginning of the 17th cent. I even suspect that the vegetarian sects with which Jesuit missionaries had to deal in Fu-chien in the second half of the 17th cent. were the last remnants of the once so numerous Chinese Manichaean community (cf. CHAVANNES and PELLIOT, in JA, 1913, I, 318-378; PELLIOT, in TP, 1923, 193-208).

These Manichaeans seem to me to fulfil almost all the conditions required for their identification with the pseudo-Christians seen by the two Polos in the region of Fu-chou. They had books of their own, which, at the end of the 13th cent., were mostly written in Chinese. Among these Manichaean scriptures, there were collections of hymns, which might well have been mistaken for the Psalter. Moreover, many names of the Bible had been retained by the Manichaeans, and also some post-biblical ones which fall in with early Christian tradition. The name of « Addaeus » has been suggested as one of the « three apostles of the seventy »; but 'A88&S was still more famous among the Manichaeans, and he is very probably mentioned at the beginning of the Chinese Manichaean treatise which CHAVANNES and I translated in 1911 (JA, 1911, II, 501, 509). By saying this, I do not mean that I give full credit to Polo's statement about the «three apostles of the seventy»;