Download Early Chinese Religion, Part 1: Shang Through Han (1250 BC by John Lagerwey, Marc Kalinowski PDF

By John Lagerwey, Marc Kalinowski

Jointly, and for the 1st time in any language, the 24 essays accrued in those volumes offer a composite photo of the heritage of faith in historic China from the emergence of writing ca. 1250 BC to the cave in of the 1st significant imperial dynasty in 220 advert. it's a multi-faceted story of fixing gods and rituals that comes with the emergence of a sort of “secular humanism” that doubts the life of the gods and the efficacy of formality and of an imperial orthodoxy that founds its legitimacy on a contrast among licit and illicit sacrifices. Written via experts in a number of disciplines, the essays disguise such matters as divination and cosmology, exorcism and drugs, ethics and self-cultivation, mythology, taboos, sacrifice, shamanism, burial practices, iconography, and political philosophy.

Produced below the aegis of the Centre de recherche sur les civilisations chinoise, japonaise et tibétaine (UMR 8155) and the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris).

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Additional resources for Early Chinese Religion, Part 1: Shang Through Han (1250 BC -220 AD)

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There existed no clearly articulated division between ritual tasks and other labor in early China. The last four chapters and the last part of Mu-chou Poo’s chapter have in common that they deal not with state religion but with religion as practiced at the various levels of society. The question, of course, is, which levels? Do the “daybooks” (rishu ֲ஼) discovered in such numbers in Qin and early Han tombs represent a religion common to all, or should we speak of an “elite common religion”? ” That is, they very clearly belong to their times, when widely shared—and inevitably elite—theories of the mutual influence (ganying ტᚨ) of humans and nature required of people that they adapt their behavior to the natural cycles of seasons and months, but also ensured that, without the help of any religious specialists, people could have a very real impact on their fate.

The Eastern Han is also marked by the generalization of the catacomb-tomb, a structure made of small bricks or stone which could be reopened either to bury another person or to conduct regular worship. This may be partly responsible for the exorcistic texts called xiaochuwen ௣ೈ֮ that appear in a limited number of tombs in Shaanxi and Henan in the years 92–190 AD, with the peak occurring 156–90. They refer to the need to prevent the living from being “contaminated” (zhu ࣹ) by the dead, and to the exorcist as the “messenger of the Lord of Heaven” (tiandi shizhe ֚০ࠌृ).

Nylan’s account of classical learning ( jingxue ᆖᖂ) in the Han aims to undo the traditional narrative which made of Confucianism a kind of national religion based on the Five Classics and the thought of Dong Zhongshu (trad. 176–104 BC) starting under Wudi (r. 140–87 BC). While she does acknowledge that during Wudi’s reign the Ru ᕢ began 22 john lagerwey and marc kalinowski to advise the emperor on critical matters of state—in particular, ritual centers like the Hall of Light and the feng ৞, shan ᛽ and suburban sacrifices—the Five Classics were not even constituted as a fixed group of texts in the Western Han, let alone the foundation of a state orthodoxy.

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