Early Chinese Religion, Part Two: The Period of Division (220-589 AD) (2 vols.)


Editors: and
After the Warring States, treated in Part One of this set, there is no more fecund era in Chinese religious and cultural history than the period of division (220-589 AD). During it, Buddhism conquered China, Daoism grew into a mature religion with independent institutions, and, together with Confucianism, these three teachings, having each won its share of state recognition and support, formed a united front against shamanism. While all four religions are covered, Buddhism and Daoism receive special attention in a series of parallel chapters on their pantheons, rituals, sacred geography, community organization, canon formation, impact on literature, and recent archaeological discoveries. This multi-disciplinary approach, without ignoring philosophical and theological issues, brings into sharp focus the social and historical matrices of Chinese religion.

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John Lagerwey, PhD (1975) in Chinese literature, Harvard University, is Professor of Daoism at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris) and of Chinese studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has just published China: a Religious State.
Lü Pengzhi, PhD (1999) Sichuan University, is Associate Professor of Daoism at Sichuan University and visiting scholar at the École française d'Extrême-Orient. His primary publications concern early Heavenly Master Daoism and the history of Daoist ritual.
"Early Chinese Religion is an extraordinary achievement. At once a summa of what we know about early Chinese religion, a critique of previous views, and an occasionally radical reimagining of early Chinese religion, it can function both as a reference work and as an introduction to the state of the art in the study of early Chinese religion. For the student of Chinese religion, of comparative religion, and of folk religion, it is a work of fundamental importance." - David Elton Gay, Indiana University, in: Journal of Folklore Research posted April 20, 2011, in the online e-review service.
"The field of early Chinese religions has often been dealt with but never in such an abundance and by so many well-known experts as in the two huge volumes of the well-known Handbook of of Oriental Studies. (...) without doubt the so far the best treatment of Chinese religion, which is not so easy to understand or as contingent as often thought." - Claudia von Collani, in: Bibliographia Missionaria, LXXXIV (2010)
"All contributions present in-depth research that is thoroughly documented and very well displayed, combining any relevant types of religious and secular sources and, in some cases, with the support of lavish illustrations. The book presents many new aspects and scientific insights, certainly setting a very high standard for research in Chinese religions. (...) No doubt, “Early Chinese Religion. Part Two: The Period of Division (220–589 ad)” can be recommended best for every student of Chinese history, Chinese religions, and cultural history." - Florian C. Reiter, in: Anthropos, 107.2012.2
"This is an essential resource for scholars in the field of Chinese religion, and an excellent foundation for those entering it. Organized thematically, the articles are of exceptionally high quality and substance throughout. (...) Throughout, the authors are to be commended for skillfully addressing categorizations like Buddhism and Daoism while at the same time conveying the shifting boundaries and complex interconnections inherent in this material. (...) Conveying the richness and complexity of the era, many of the articles also include metaperspectives that will make this collection helpful to scholars in other disciplines. (...) This admirably interdisciplinary venture captures both the fluidity and the enduring concerns of a fascinating epoch." - Wendi Adamek, University of Sydney, in: Religious Studies Review 38, 1
All those interested in the religious and cultural history of early medieval China and in the role of religion in ordering state and society in the Chinese empire.
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