From the fifth century BC to the present and dealing with the Three Teachings (Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism) as well as popular religion, this introduction to the eight-volume Early and Modern Chinese Religion explores key ideas and events in four periods of paradigm shift in the intertwined histories of Chinese religion, politics, and culture. It shows how, in the Chinese church-state, elite processes of rationalization, interiorization, and secularization are at work in every period of major change and how popular religion gradually emerges to a position of dominance by means of a long history of at once resisting, adapting to, and collaborating with elite-driven change. Topics covered include ritual, scripture, philosophy, state policy, medicine, sacred geography, gender, and the economy. It also serves as the basis for an on-line Coursera course.
Knowledge, Thought, and Belief from the Seventh through the Nineteenth Century
A history of traditional Chinese knowledge, thought and belief from the seventh through the nineteenth centuries with a new approach that offers a new perspective. It appropriates a wide range of source materials and emphasizes the necessity of understanding ideas and thought in their proper historical contexts. Its analytical narrative focuses on the dialectical interaction between historical background and intellectual thought. While discussing the complex dynamics of interaction among the intellectual thought of elite Chinese scholars, their historical conditions, their canonical texts and the “worlds of general knowledge, thought and belief,” it also illuminates the significance of key issues such as the formation of the Chinese world order and its underlying value system, the origins of Chinese cultural identity, foreign influences, and the collapse of the Chinese world order in the 19th century leading toward the revolutionary events of the 20th century.
In Liang Shuming and the Populist Alternative in China, Catherine Lynch offers an alternative understanding of Liang Shuming’s work. While the current work on Liang suggests a connection to other Asian philosophical traditions (like Confucianism and Buddhism), this new work argues that Liang’s work is an important part of the evolution of the modern Chinese thought and examines the role of populist ideas in the development of Liang’s thinking. In addition to Liang’s writings, this reading of Liang relies on lengthy interviews the author completed with Liang as well as with people associated with Liang. This book adds a new perspective based on access the author had to Liang while he was still alive.