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Derk Bodde Discusses The Process Of "Euhemerization" And Presents Some Anecdotes In Which Confucius Discusses Ancient Beings. Discuss This Process And Why These Anecdotes Are Good Examples.

568 words - 2 pages

One of the most interesting aspects of Chinese mythology is that the myths are often closely intertwined with actual Chinese history. The Greek writer Euhemerus defined euhemerization as the process of historical figures becomes accepted as gods over time. In Chinese mythology, the process is often the opposite. The gods and other supernatural beings found in myths become accepted as historical figures over time. This process is called reverse euhemerization. Close studies of traditional history reveal that many of the prominent figures from the period before the Zhou Dynasty (1122 B.C. to 256 B.C) were not actual human beings. This leads us to believe that other historical figures in traditional history may not have actually lived at one point in time. This concept can be better defined by focusing on a couple of anecdotes in which Confucius attempted to explain to his disciples.People often inquired about Huang Ti's (the Yellow Lord's) identity. Confucius explained that Huang Ti was a man who was well respected by the community. The community continued to accept Huang Ti's presence after he died and honored him for the next two hundred years. It was also pondered by many that Huang Ti had four faces. The mistaken "four faces" were in fact Huang Ti's four officials to oversee the four quarters of his empire. Another myth that may have caused confusion in relation to the euhemerization process was the well known Music Master K'uei. He was seen as a mythological creature with only one foot. K'uei was often with the sage ruler Shun. Shun enjoyed K'uei's talent and rewarded him with the compliment that "having one of him is enough". People misunderstood this praise and vaguely interpreted it as K'uei owning only one...

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