Nicholas Notovitch and the "Jesus Thangka"
by Terry Anthony
[Right: The complete thangka tapestry owned by the author.] So what are we to make of the upper left scene? It appears to suggest some historical event involving Jesus of Nazareth appearing before a couple hundred individuals or monks near a building which clearly evidences the traditional architecture of a Himalayan "gompa" or monastery. The other "biblical" scenes have many medieval to modern painted and sketched counterparts. Just google "Jesus calms the storm" or any of the others and you'll see what I mean. They are easy to identify.
This upper left scene is completely anomalous. It appears to suggest a tradition of Jesus visiting some Himalayan religious center.
So now we come to the Notovitch controversy. Nicholas Notovitch was a Russian journalist who travelled through the Himalayan region in the 1870's as part of a trip "through the orient" to learn about Far Eastern culture and religion and to see the sights. At some point he fell from his horse and broke a leg. While convalescing in the monastery at Hemis he claimed he was shown old manuscripts, copied from ancient ones in a library at Marbour near Lahsa, which told the story of a great foreign teacher that had travelled from the Middle East to India and the Himalayas named Issa. Upon returning from his trip he wrote a book about his discovery which included a translation of the manuscripts. If you read that translation or the later ones made by Nicholas Roerich or Swami Abhedananda, it will be clear to you that this Issa was indeed Jesus and no other.
There are many accountings, discussions, and critiques of the Notovich material on the web. Some are pretty silly. I recommend this web page: http://www.tombofjesus.com/indonesian/core/majorplayers/notovitch/notovitch-p1.htm#introduction, and its following pages, for one of the few intelligent accounts of the evidence of Nicholas Notovitch's tale and the "Jesus in India" stories. It's the only one I know that presents a good accounting of the evidence which quite overwhelms the emotional attacks of the critics. Vitriolic, emotional attacks are always suspect for me anyway.
The apparent fact that westerners are no longer able to locate these Himalayan scriptures is troubling. I believe they haven't been seen since 1939, and this is seen by some as evidence that they never existed. But what about this "Jesus thangka", which by appearance (if you see it in person at least) certainly dates from the nineteenth century or earlier?
Back to Viewzone || Submit Comments? || Read Comments