Sacred Texts  Confucianism  Index  Previous 
Buy this Book at

Chinese Occultism, by Paul Carus, [1907], at


The evidences that indicate a Western origin of Chinese civilisation are very strong, and it seems that the first Chinese settlers must have come in prehistoric times from a country that was closely connected with the founders of Babylonian culture. There is an unmistakable resemblance between cuneiform writing and Chinese script, so as to make it quite probable that they have been derived from a common source. We have, further, the sexagenary cycle corresponding to the use of the number sixty in Babylonia, and many similarities in astronomical names and notions. Moreover, the Chinese divide the circle into three hundred and sixty degrees as did the Babylonians, a system which has been adhered to in the West down to modern times.

p. 82

Click to enlarge


p. 83

The Prometheus legend seems to come from the same source (presumably Akkad) as the story of the Chinese "Fire Man," Sui-Jen. The Babylonian story of Tiamat as to the formation of the world is repeated in the legend of P‘an-Ku, the personification of the ancient abyss.

Finally the yih system of the yang and the yin is paralleled in at least one Semitic tribe by the similar divining method of the Urim and Thummim. Though in the latter case the loss of details prevents us from having any evidence of a historical connection, the similarity of the purpose, as well as the duality of the elements of the oracle cannot be denied.

If none of these indications is conclusive when considered separately, we can not disregard them when all are taken together.

Further bearing in mind that there is an ancient tradition in China of a settlement having been made by a tribe coming from the Far West, we may very well assume the ancestors of the Chinese to be a detachment of the founders of the Babylonian civilisation, either Sumerians or Akkadians, and that they left their home in prehistoric times presumably even before the first Semitic invasion or soon afterwards. They were perhaps that portion of the people who would not submit to the new condition of things and preferred exile to absorption by a victorious enemy.

Our proposition that even in prehistoric times a connection must have existed between all civilised nations of the East and of the West, will be further borne out by the additional evidence furnished by a comparative study of the several calendar systems, as based upon the sun's course through the zodiac, and it is remarkable that it includes even the Mayas of Central America. …