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Religion and Chinese Society (2 Vols.)
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Price: US$ 135.00
Religion and Chinese Society (2 Vols.)
Language:  English
Author:  John Lagerwey
Pub. Date:  1999-01 Weight:   kg ISBN:  9629961237
Format:  Hardcover Pages:  970 pages
Subject:  Social Sciences > Culture and Art
Series:   Size:  229x152mm
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From pre-imperial mortuary culture to village sectarianism in contemporary China, this selection of papers represents new research ranging across the entire sweep of Chinese religious history. The picture that emerges is one of ongoing tension and negotiation between the often conflicting needs of state and society, high and low, bureaucratic and charismatic. The state required le gitimacy and protection, but it gained them in part by enfeoffing local gods. The worship of these gods meant healing, justice, and rain to believers, prestige and autonomy to local elites. Miracles held universal appeal, but not their use and interpretation.
Driven by the needs of the dynastic state from the time of its emergence in the Shang, rationalization had by the Han dynasty engendered bureaucratic, astro-calendrical, and non-theistic forms of religion that Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, each in its own way, endorsed. But theistic modes of prophetic religion continued to inform local society and influence the state right down to the present.
China, in short, is no longer the great exception, a civilization without a religion of its own whose best minds were this-wordly philosophers. The present book is a first step toward an integrated history of Chinese religion.
A longtime member of the ?cole fran?aise d'Extr?me-Orient, John Lagerwey is currently professor of the history of Chinese religion and Taoism at the ?cole Pratique des Hautes ?tudes (Paris, Sorbonne). He is the author of Wu-shang pi-yao, somme tao?ste du VIe si?cle (EFEO, 1981), Taoist Ritual in Chinese Society and History (Macmillan, 1987), and Le continent des esprits: la Chine dans le miroir du tao?ste (La Renaissance du Livre, 1992). He has also published extensively on village religion and is the general editor of the Hakka Traditional Society Series, an ongoing project of ethnographic description (20 volumes published) done in collaboration with Professor Tam Wai Lun of the Department of Religion, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, who was also the co-organizer of the conference from which the present collection derives. The focus of his present work is on the early history of Taoist ritual and the church of the Heavenly Masters, and he is the organizer of a major international project to produce a multi-volume history of Chinese religion.

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