Tse Tsan Tai gets his due, 98 years later…

Detail from Tse’s map, showing his candidates for the Bible’s Four Rivers of Paradise in central Asia.

So my recent post was a round-up of all the different excerpts of Paradise Lust that you can find online. Happily, I spoke too soon to give a full accounting. Frank Jacobs, cartographic wizard of Strange Maps fame, a blog featured on the Big Think network, featured the hand-drawn maps by my favorite Eden-seeker, Tse Tsan Tai, who on October 25, 1914, declared that the Garden of Eden must have been in Outer Mongolia. He received this revelation “like a bolt of lightning,” and then set about proving it via Chinese mythology, new paleontology, and idiosyncratic Bible interpretation.

Soon after, the blog io9 (motto: “we come from the future”) reposted Frank’s story, generating 29 comments all of which gave a well-cited possible alternate location of Eden! An occupational hazard for Eden-seekers…

Tse wasn’t bothered by detractors, and I imagine he’d be proud that his theory was garnering so much inquisitive attention.

To be a Chinese Christian was a rare thing in World War I, when Christian missionaries were being massacred and foreign parties looked to be taking over Chinese territory. Tse was a patriot, and believed if he could prove via Chinese folklore and unique Biblical interpretation, that the origin of Christianity was in China, those parties would be forced to reconcile. Who could begrudge him this strange but lovely dream?



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