Philosophy and Religion in Early Medieval China
Exploring a time of profound change, this book details the intellectual ferment after the fall of the Han dynasty. Questions about “heaven” and the affairs of the world that had seemed resolved by Han Confucianism resurfaced and demanded reconsideration. New currents in philosophy, religion, and intellectual life emerged to leave an indelible mark on the subsequent development of Chinese thought and culture. This period saw the rise of xuanxue (“dark learning” or “learning of the mysterious Dao”), the establishment of religious Daoism, and the rise of Buddhism. In examining the key ideas of xuanxue and focusing on its main proponents, the contributors to this volume call into question the often-presumed monolithic identity of this broad philosophical front. The volume also highlights the richness and complexity of religion in China during this period, examining the relationship between the Way of the Celestial Master and local, popular religious beliefs and practices, and discussing the relationship between religious Daoism and Buddhism.
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