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Which gods and goddesses do you want added to existing pantheons?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post

    It would shock me not at all if it turned out that Buddhist missionaries and various traders brought a bunch of those stories into China, which then spread them throughout the rest of Eastern Asia.
    That's the point where it doesn't make sense to me. Because I have never heard of Buddhist missionaries transporting the Epics, which have nothing to do with Buddhism in the slightest, and know of no overt references to those works in China (though I'm of course not a sinologist). Furthermore, the spread of Buddhism to China happens between the 4th and 8th centuries (a time when the Epics were just beginning to be written down), while the "Journey" was written in the 16th; it is about one of the missions to India to retrieve Buddhist scriptures. I've read studies on the formation of Sun Wukong, but they can't really find any mentions of Hanuman as such in the 900 years between the arrival of Buddhism in China and the authoring of the "Journey"; some Chinese monkey demons, though, some of them with Buddhist elements. Ultimately, the contact between India and China was a lot more limited than we tend to imagine, thanks to the Himalayas and several countries being in between (remember that e.g. Tibet was a sovereign empire back then). So, as I said, I can't really tell, because I'm not that much of an expert, but according to all I do know, direct influence seems dubious. The "Journey of the West" isn't generally known as a work that freshly adaptates Indian materials, it's known for introducing Chinese folk traditions (e.g. about blasphemous animal demons) to the higher echelons of literature.


    • #32
      This is one of those things that always made mythology so fascinating to me. When one has two monkey god-heroes in neighboring regions, just what are their connections, if any? Is their some long forgotten proto-monkey god? Is one derived from the other? Or are monkeys just so naturally interesting that it's inevitable that any people living near them will have a monkey god-hero?* One can't help but wonder, for example, if the Japanese Momotaro having a monkey as one of his allies is coincidence or some sort of influence from Journey to the West**?

      Along similar lines, two really weird theories I've heard about Norse mythology: One, that Freyja is just Freyr cross dressing as part of some sort of shamanic seidr ritual activity; Two, that Baldr is actually derived from stories of Jesus as they made their way up through Germany and into Scandinavia during the first millennium. Not that I'm actually sold on either of them. I just find them interesting thought-fodder.

      *Given the huge number of primate characters in comic books, I'm inclined toward the idea that monkeys just make for fun stories.
      **Also, if you've never seen Stephen Chow's version of Journey to the West, it's wonderfully awesome and great Scion inspiration.


      • #33
        It's unfortunate we don't have more information on the religions of pre-Christian Europe. I know that such mergings and accumulations can be seen in religions where more historical/archaeological evidence exists.