[INDOLOGY] Origin of Mahācīna

Lubomir Ondracka ondracka at ff.cuni.cz
Thu Mar 10 19:01:11 EST 2016


It seems highly improbable that the Hebrew Sin (סִין) used in Tanach could be connected to China:
http://biblehub.com/hebrew/5512.htm

And this meaning is not attested even in Talmud and Midrashic literature (see Jastrow for סְיָן, p. 982). It would be interesting to know since when does Sin in Hebrew mean China. It could be rather modern usage, I don't know.

LO


> It is worth noting, however, that the Hebrew term for China -- already in the Bible -- is Sin (סין), and the same goes for Arabic (al-Sin, الصين). The Persian Chin (چین) could just as easily have come from Semitic sources as from Indian sources.
> 
> Dan Lusthaus
> 
>   ----- Original Message ----- 
>   From: Deven Patel 
>   Subject: [INDOLOGY] Origin of Mahācīna
> 
> 
>   Dear list members,
> 
> 
>   A Sinologist colleague of mine has raised the following question to me.  Any thoughts would be appreciated:  
> 
> 
>   Conventional wisdom among certain Sinologists is that the Western name "China" derives from the Sanskrit Mahācīna, etc.  Sinologists do not seem to know, or at least do not cite, sources for this attribution.  How old is the name, and how trustworthy are the texts?
> 
> 
> 
>   Thank you,
> 
> 
>   Deven




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