"Four Thousand Buddhist Temple
Buildings, In Which Live Over Twenty Thousand Dancing-Girls Who Sing Twice
Daily While Offering Food To The Buddha (I.E., The Idols) And While
XVIII., p. 356.
TRADITIONS OF ST. THOMAS.
"The traditional site of the Apostle's Tomb, now adjacent to the sea-shore,
has recently come to be enclosed in the crypt of the new Cathedral of San
Thome." (A.E. MEDLYCOTT, India and the Apostle Thomas. An inquiry. With a
critical analysis of the Acta Thomae. London, David Nutt, 1905, 8vo.)
In the beginning of the sixteenth century Barbosa found the church of St.
Thomas half in ruins and grown round with jungle. A Mahomedan fakir kept
it and maintained a lamp. Yet in 1504, which is several years earlier than
Barbosa's voyage, the Syrian Bishop Jaballaha, who had been sent by the
Patriarch to take charge of the Indian Christians, reported that the House
of St. Thomas had begun to be inhabited by some Christians, who were
engaged in restoring it.
Mr. W.R. Philipps has a valuable paper on The Connection of St. Thomas
the Apostle with India in the Indian Antiquary, XXXII., 1903, pp. 1-15,
145-160; he has come to the following conclusions: "(1) There is good
early evidence that St. Thomas was the apostle of the Parthian empire; and
also evidence that he was the apostle of 'India' in some limited sense,
- probably of an 'India' which included the Indus Valley, but nothing to
the east or south of it. (2) According to the Acts, the scene of the
martyrdom of St. Thomas was in the territory of a king named, according to
the Syriac version, Mazdai, to which he had proceeded after a visit to the
city of a king named, according to the same version, Gudnaphar or
Gundaphar. (3) There is no evidence at all that the place where St. Thomas
was martyred was in Southern India; and all the indications point to
another direction. (4) We have no indication whatever, earlier than that
given by Marco Polo, who died 1324, that there ever was even a tradition
that St. Thomas was buried in Southern India."
In a recent and learned work (Die Thomas Legende, 1912, 8vo.) Father J.
Dahlmann has tried to prove that the story of the travels of St. Thomas in
India has an historical basis. If there is some possibility of admitting a
voyage of the Apostle to N.W. India (and the flourishing state of Buddhism
in this part of India is not in favour of Christian Evangelization), it is
impossible to accept the theory of the martyrdom of St. Thomas in Southern
The late Mr. J.F. FLEET, in his paper on St. Thomas and Gondophernes
(Journ. Roy. As. Soc., April, 1905, pp. 223-236), remarks that "Mr.
Philipps has given us an exposition of the western traditional statements
up to the sixth century." He gives some of the most ancient statements;
one in its earliest traceable form runs thus: "According to the Syriac
work entitled The Doctrine of the Apostles, which was written in perhaps
the second century A.D., St. Thomas evangelized 'India.' St. Ephraem the
Syrian (born about A.D. 300, died about 378), who spent most of his life
at Edessa, in Mesopotamia, states that the Apostle was martyred in 'India'
and that his relics were taken thence to Edessa. That St. Thomas
evangelized the Parthians, is stated by Origen (born A.D. 185 or 186, died
about 251-254). Eusebius (bishop of Caesarea Palaestinae from A.D. 315 to
about 340) says the same. And the same statement is made by the Clementine
Recognitions, the original of which may have been written about A.D. 210.
A fuller tradition is found in the Acts of St. Thomas, which exist in
Syriac, Greek, Latin, Armenian, Ethiopic, and Arabic, and in a fragmentary
form in Coptic. And this work connects with St. Thomas two eastern kings,
whose names appear in the Syriac version as Gudnaphar, Gundaphar, and
Mazdai; and in the Greek version as Goundaphoros, Goundiaphoros,
Gountaphoros, and Misdaios, Misdeos; in the Latin version as Gundaforus,
Gundoforus, and Misdeus, Mesdeus, Migdeus; and in the remaining versions
in various forms, of the same kind, which need not be particularized
here." Mr. Fleet refers to several papers, and among them to one by Prof.
Sylvain Levi, Saint Thomas, Gondophares et Mazdeo (Journ., As.,
Janv.-Fev., 1897, pp. 27-42), who takes the name Mazdai as a transformation
of a Hindu name, made on Iranian soil and under Mazdean influences, and
arrived at through the forms Bazodeo, Bazdeo, or Bazodeo, Bazdeo, which
occur in Greek legends on coins, and to identify the person with the king
Vasudeva of Mathura, a successor of Kanishka. Mr. Fleet comes to the
conclusion that: "No name, save that of Guduphara - Gondophernes, in any way
resembling it, is met with in any period of Indian history, save in that of
the Takht-i-Bahi inscription of A.D. 46; nor, it may be added, any royal
name, save that of Vasudeva of Mathura, in any way resembling that of
Mazdai. So also, as far as we know or have any reason to suppose, no name
like that of Guduphara - Gondophernes is to be found anywhere outside India,
save in the tradition about St. Thomas."
XVIII., p. 357.
On this city of the martyrdom of St. Thomas, see Indian Antiquary,
XXXII., pp. 148 seq. in Mr. Philipps' paper, and XXXIII., Jan., 1904,
pp. 31-2, a note signed W.R.P.
XIX., p. 361. "In this kingdom [Mutfili] also are made the best and most
delicate buckrams, and those of highest price; in sooth they look like
tissue of spider's web!"
In Nan p'i (in Malabar) Chau Ju-kwa has (p. 88): "The native products
include pearls, foreign cotton-stuff of all colours (i.e. coloured
chintzes) and tou-lo mien (cotton-cloth)." Hirth and Rockhill remark
that this cotton-cloth is probably "the buckram which looks like tissue of
spider's web" of which Polo speaks, and which Yule says was the famous
muslin of Masulipatam.
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