Unruly Gods: Divinity and Society in China

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Meir Shahar, Robert Paul Weller
University of Hawaii Press, 1996 - Religion - 290 pages
The first study in English to offer a systematic introduction to the Chinese pantheon of divinities. It challenges received wisdom about Chinese popular religion, which, until now, presented all Chinese deities as mere functionaries and bureaucrats. The essays in this volume eloquently document the existence of other metaphors that allowed Chinese gods to challenge the traditional power structures and traditional mores of Chinese society. The authors draw on a variety of disciplines and methodologies to throw light on various aspects of the Chinese supernatural. The gallery of gods and goddesses surveyed demonstrates that these deities did not reflect China's socio-political order but rather expressed and negotiated tensions within it. In addition to reflecting the existing order, Chinese gods shaped it, transformed it, and compensated for it, and, as such, their work offers fresh perspectives on the relations between divinity and society in China.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pbjwelch - LibraryThing

An excellent anthology, edited by two notable experts in the field, of articles pertaining to 'Chinese gods', which is inclusive of Daoist, Buddhist, state and popular gods, gods which the ... Read full review


Introduction Gods and Society in China
Personal Relations and Bureaucratic Hierarchy in Chinese Religion Evidence from the Song Dynasty
Enlightened Alchemist or Immoral Immortal? The Growth of Lü Dongbins Cult in Late Imperial China
The Lady Linshui How a Woman Became a Goddess
Myths Gods and Family Relations
Vernacular Fiction and the Transmission of Gods Cults in Late Imperial China
Transmission in Popular Religion The Jiajiang Festival Troupe of Southern Taiwan
Matricidal Magistrates and Gambling Gods Weak States and Strong Spirits in China

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About the author (1996)

Meir Shahar is associate professor in the Department of East Asian Studies, Tel Aviv University.

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