Way and Byway: Taoism, Local Religion, and Models of Divinity in Sung and Modern China
Using a combination of newly mined Sung sources and modern ethnography, Robert Hymes addresses questions that have perplexed China scholars in recent years. Were Chinese gods celestial officials, governing the fate and fortunes of their worshippers as China's own bureaucracy governed their worldly lives? Or were they personal beings, patrons or parents or guardians, offering protection in exchange for reverence and sacrifice?
To answer these questions Hymes examines the professional exorcist sects and rising Immortals' cults of the Sung dynasty alongside ritual practices in contemporary Taiwan and Hong Kong, as well as miracle tales, liturgies, spirit law codes, devotional poetry, and sacred geographies of the eleventh through thirteenth centuries. Drawing upon historical and anthropological evidence, he argues that two contrasting and contending models informed how the Chinese saw and see their gods. These models were used separately or in creative combination to articulate widely varying religious standpoints and competing ideas of both secular and divine power. Whether gods were bureaucrats or personal protectors depended, and still depends, says Hymes, on who worships them, in what setting, and for what purposes.
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Abbey administrator altar authority Boltz bureaucratic model Celestial Heart Ch'en Ch'ung-jen County Chang Yuan-shu Chao Chapter Chiang-hsi chih China Chinese Chou Chün Correct Rites county seat court courtesy name culture decree deities divine drought dynasty earthly elite emperor enfeoffment Four Immortals Fu-ch'iu Fu-chou gods Heaven hierarchy honor Hsiang hsien Hua-kai Immortals Huang Chen Hung Mai’s Ibid images imperial inscription Jade Emperor Lin-ch'uan Luan miracle stories Nan-feng Neo-Confucian Northern numinous Offering official Ou-yang poem pray prayers preface prefecture professional Taoists rain region relation religion religious Schipper secular Shen shih shrine Southern Sung spirit spirit mediums T'ang Taiwan Taoist practitioners Taoist Ritual tells temple Teng Yu-kung texts Three Immortals Three Lords Three Perfected Lords Three Pure tion Tseng Veritable Record Verities village vows Wang Wen-ch'ing Wang's worship YCFC Yuan Yuan dynasty Yueh