Saturday, August 15, 2009

Oops-- St. Buddha?!!!


Barlaam and Iosaph the Allegory of the Tree (c. 1200, but I'm guessing here)


So, this is the wackiest bit of info I have come across in a while.

Seems that, in the later days Byzantine Empire (this would be around 1080--the Byzantines, centered in Constantinople/Istanbul lasted from about 300 to 1400), a monk set down the story of Barlaam and Iosapha, in which Iosapha, a seeker of wisdom, comes across Barlaam, who, thorugh a long series of 10 parables, converts him to Christianity.

The story first seems to appear in Christian lore around the 3rd or 4th century AD, with variants on it showing up around 700 as well.

Eventually, both Barlaam and Iosapha, while never formally "cannonized", were recognized as saints by both the Eastern (Orthodox) adn Western (Roman Catholic) branches of the church, and given their own days in the calendar.

What's CRAZY about it, though, is that the story is actually just a western twist on the story of the Buddha, with Iosapha's name being a Eurpeanized version of "Boddhisatva" (one who is on the path to enlightenment or Buddha-hood), and the ten parables Barlaam teaches him being barely changed variants on ancient Hindu life, death, and rebirth stories that formed part of the Buddha's teaching.

So, weirdly, Buddha is actually a Christian saint as recognized by the Church and, presumably, the church either doesn't know this, or chooses to ignore it.

16 comments:

c-dog said...

Nice!

I think the painting would be more 14th to early 15th Century.

Way to school me on a Saturday AM too, nice.

wolfBoy said...

hmmmm, you might be right. somewhere between, like, 1280 and 1410, let's say?

c-dog said...

I think that's still a bit too wide. I'm thinking more 1350 to 1480.

c-dog said...

Not too wide, I produced the same range, heh, but too early still.

wolfBoy said...

1480 is way too late, i think, when you consider that da vinci was already working around that time. i feel like the perspective/scale is sort of pre-renaissance.

1350 to 1410?

wolfBoy said...

hmmmm... although, looking at his earliest works, they're not all that different from this one, so...


1380 to 1455, and anyone who disagrees with that is an unregenerate art heretic.

c-dog said...

How to confirm?

Anonymous said...

If we don't know who the artist is, it could have been completed last week.

c-dog said...

Yet it likely wasn't d-ckhead.

D.Macri said...

What the fuck is wrong with you? Why would you call me a dickhead for suggesting a way to answer your question. (and there ARE people alive who make old looking Christian art).

c-dog said...

Oh was that you?

D.Macri said...

Yea! You guys hate anonymous eh?
I just hit the wrong button instead of loggin. My comment wasn't meant to be dickhead-ish. Just the easiest way to pinpoint the year it was made is with the artists name, which is on the painting (but I can't read).

D.Macri said...

I mean, I can't decipher the handwriting, not that I'm illiterate =P.

wolfBoy said...

i feel like these pre-renaissance works were usually anon, or by like "master of tours" or whatever.

the name in the bottom right is the name of iosapha, not the artist, alas.

D.Macri said...

How about a title? Where did you get this image.

Maybe helpful idea:

http://www.alifetimeofcolor.com/study/timeline.html

wolfBoy said...

the name of the painting is at the top of this post.

i got it from some random dude's flickr page. no idea how or where he got hold of the image.