Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/508

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"1163. Yentula erected the synagogue.

"1279. The temple structures were rebuilt.

"1461. The overflow of the Yellow River, in 1461, destroyed the temple, only leaving the foundations. Li Yong, having obtained permission from the provincial treasurer, rebuilt the temple and had it decorated.

"Later, the cells at the rear of the synagogue were put up and three copies of the Holy Law were placed there.

"This has been recorded ... on this stele in the second year of Hong-Tche, 1489."

An inscription on a stone stele of 1512 gives details of the Jewish religion, its moral and other ordinances, and its canonical books. The following passage is of interest: "After the Creation, the doctrine was transmitted by Adam to Noah; thence unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and afterwards through the twelve patriarchs to Moses, Aaron, and Joshua. Ezra promulgated the Law, and through him the letters of the Yew thae (Jewish) religion were made plain."

Another inscription on a stone stele, dated 1663, gives a graphic account of the events following the fall of the Ming dynasty, 1642." Kaifeng Fu (Peën-liang) stood six months' siege by the rebel chief Li Tsi Cheng, who eventually caused the fall of the city by diverting the Yellow River. The loss of life was great and the synagogue was destroyed. Two hundred or more Jewish families were saved and took refuge on the north side of the river.

"In 1653 a Jewish mandarin rebuilt the temple. It was not possible to make more than one complete scroll of the Law out of the parchments recovered from the waters. The scroll, much venerated by the faithful, was placed in the middle of the ark. Twelve other scrolls were gradually collated, and the other holy writings and prayer books were repaired and revised with care."

Summarising the historical references in these inscriptions, and in the accounts of the Jesuit Fathers and other reliable writers, we arrive at the following results:—

"Jews had certainly settled in China some time during the Han dynasty (200 B.C. to A.D. 220). It is supposed that the settlement took place soon after A.D. 34, at which time terrible persecutions of the Jews took place in Babylon. No less than 50,000 were then massacred. Others hold that the settlement took place thirty-five years later, after the fall of Jerusalem. It is quite possible that the Jewish colony in