Local Religion in North China in the Twentieth Century: The Structure and Organization of Community Rituals and Beliefs

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This book is a comprehensive survey of the structure, organization and institutionalization of local community religious traditions in north China villages in the twentieth century. These traditions have their own forms of leaders, deities and beliefs. Despite much local variation one everywhere finds similar temples, images, offerings and temple festivals, all supported by practical concerns for divine aid to deal with the problems of everyday life. These local traditions are a structure in the history of Chinese religions; they have a clear sense of their own integrity and rules, handed down by their ancestors. There are Daoist, Buddhist and government influences on these traditions, but they must be adapted to the needs of local communities. It is the villagers who build temples and organize festivals, in which all members of the community are expected to participate and contribute. With chapters on such topics as historical origins and development, leadership and organization, temple festivals, temples and deities, and beliefs and values.
 

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Contents

Themes and Contexts
1
Rain Rituals
18
History and Government
32
Leadership and Organization
53
Temple Festivals
93
Gods and Temples
123
Beliefs and Values
149
Concluding and Comparative Comments
175
Bibliography
188
Glossary of Chinese Terms and Names
197
Index
217
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Daniel L. Overmyer, Ph.D. (1971) in History of Religions, University of Chicago, is emeritus professor of Chinese religion and thought at the University of British Columbia. He has published many articles and six books, plus translations of them into Chinese and Japanese, including "Precious Volumes: An Introduction to Chinese Sectarian Scriptures from the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries" (Harvard, 1999).

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