Thinking with Weber’s Religion of China in the Twenty-First Century

In: Review of Religion and Chinese Society
Author: Anna Sun 1
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  • 1 Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Duke University, Durham, NC, USAanna.x.sun@duke.edu

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Abstract

This paper proposes a new approach to Max Weber’s Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism, which is to make the development of Confucianism, rather than the development of modern capitalism, the dependent variable in our analysis of Chinese society. In this light, Weber’s treatment of Confucianism and Daoism as an interconnected whole (the orthodoxy and heterodoxy of Chinese society) may be seen as a promising step in understanding the ecological dynamics of the Chinese religious system. In this system, diverse religious traditions coexist and are often interdependent, forming a rich tapestry of practices, beliefs, and ethics that give meaning to people in their everyday lives.

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