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Religion in China and Its Modern Fate

Paul R. Katz

Publication Year: 2014

Paul R. Katz has composed a fascinating account of the fate of Chinese religions during the modern era by assessing mutations of communal religious life, innovative forms of religious publishing, and the religious practices of modern Chinese elites traditionally considered models of secular modernity. The author offers a rare look at the monumental changes that have affected modern Chinese religions, from the first all-out assault on them during the 1898 reforms to the eve of the Communist takeover of the mainland. Tracing the ways in which the vast religious resources (texts, expertise, symbolic capital, material wealth, etc.) that circulated throughout Chinese society during the late imperial period were reconfigured during this later era, Katz sheds new light on modern Chinese religious life and the understudied nexus between religion and modern political culture.

Religion in China and Its Modern Fate will appeal to a broad audience of religionists and historians of modern China.

Published by: Brandeis University Press

Series: The Menahem Stern Jerusalem Lectures

Title Page, Copyright

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Meir Shahar

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pp. vii-xii

In May 2013 I was invited to a conference on Chinese Esoteric Buddhism, which was jointly organized by the Shaanxi Normal University and the Longhua 龍華 Monastery in Shaoxing County, Zhejiang Province. Recently established, the Longhua Monastery enjoys the generous patronage of lay disciples. It is an enormous establishment, covering...

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pp. xiii-xx

I have always had a personal interest in religion, even if I don’t come from a particularly religious family. My father (Arnold) is Jewish, but he’s not observant, while my mother (Phyllis) is Protestant and not observant either. I never was raised in any sort of religious setting and never had a bar...

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pp. 1-16

The main goal of this book is to assess the important processes of change that shaped the fate of Chinese religion during the last decade of the Qing dynasty and the entire Republican era. Historians of literature, culture, the arts, political thought, and other areas of Chinese culture...

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1 | State versus Society: Temple Destruction Campaigns

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pp. 17-68

This chapter examines temple destruction campaigns in China from 1898 to 1948, including the tearing down of temple buildings or converting part of their premises into schools or other nonreligious edifices, as well as outlawing their ritual activities and the specialists who participated in them. The chapter is divided...

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2 | Time and a Word: New Forms of Religious Publishing

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pp. 69-108

While many temple cults were teetering on the edge of elimination during the fifty-year period covered by this study, the same era witnessed astounding growth in the realm of religious publishing. Previous scholarship on the history of modern Chinese printing techniques and the mass media has tended to overlook...

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3 | Secular Yet Sacred: The Religious Lives of Modern Chinese Elites

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pp. 109-154

In the first two chapters, we have examined the fate of Chinese temples and explored how modern innovations shaped the development of religious publishing. It is now time to turn our attention from places and presses to people, namely, the elites whose efforts were a driving force behind these and many...

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pp. 155-166

This book has endeavored to shed new light on the fate of Chinese religions during the fifty years extending from the antireligion policies enacted during the 1898 reforms to the devastation wrought on Chinese religious life by years of natural disasters, warfare, and civil strife culminating...


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pp. 167-230


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pp. 231-242

About the Series, Other Works in the Series

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E-ISBN-13: 9781611685442
E-ISBN-10: 1611685443
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611685428

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: The Menahem Stern Jerusalem Lectures