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Reviews 285 David C. Yu. Religion in Postwar China: A CriticalAnalysis andAnnotated Bibliography. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1994. xviii, 365 pp. Hardcover $79.95. Carefully compiled and annotated bibliographies are wonderful Sinological tools, and scholars in all areas of Chinese studies are indebted to die tireless efforts of bibliographers on their behalf. This is precisely the kind of scholarly bibliography that David Yu has produced. Yet, like Abelard's ironic response to the ultimate theological questions ofhis day, one almost always ends widi sic et non in evaluating such books. The positive aspect is that, if the bibliography is carefully done, as is the case widi Yu's volume, it is always welcomed as an aid for further scholarly research. Another positive point for Yu's work is the review and presentation of some two hundred articles in Chinese representing the best ofpostwar scholarship from the People's Republic of China (hereafter PRC) as well as the rest of cultural China, namely, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and die further Chinese diaspora. The negative side is diat unless the work is an unabridged bibliography of the entire field it seeks to cover—whatever that could possibly mean these days, when new articles, monographs, and studies appear daily—then there will always be gaps caused by die metìiod ofpresentation and limitations ofsize and time. Methodological questions oforganization are especially crucial for relatively short works such as Yu's compendium, a work that runs to 365 pages. Yu does not pretend to present an unabridged account of the postwar study of Chinese religion. Rather, he has carefully organized and annotated 1,005 entries in a balancing act between Chinese- and Western-language sources and two different sets of organizational principles. To narrow the field beyond die review of Chinese materials, Yu has concentrated almost entirely on English-language scholarship except for a very few studies in French and German plus English translations from Japanese scholars. Yu has also included autiior, title, and subject indexes, useful tools for anyone seeking to use the bibliography for research purposes. Even though any annotated bibliography will offend some scholars because ofthe choice ofentries, Yu's obvious grasp ofthe field demonstrates that the bibliographer 's true art is to make sure that nothing essential is omitted and tiiat the entries themselves point the researcher to other research tools. Like a computer's main directory, the bibliography also needs to have multiple subdirectories embedded in its root directory in order to produce a tree that will bear even more© 1995 by University fruit if cultivated diligently. ofHawai'i PressThere is another limitation that I need to note. Yu observes in his introduction that he has not included postwar Western publications from his earlier bibliography , Guide to Chinese Religion (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1985). This means that to 286 China Review International: Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1995 avoid die gaps in Yu's presentation ofimportant studies, for instance, major translations , the new bibliography must be used in conjunction with his earlier bibliography . For example, the 1985 guide is historically organized widi a review of various individual thinkers such as Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tzu, Ko Hung, various Neo-Taoist and Chinese Buddhist schools, and a section on the Neo-Confucians . There is also a section on "authoritative texts" that lists translations and studies ofkey texts in the history of Chinese religious thought. Yu's 1985 guide includes a great deal ofmaterial on what is considered philosophy as well. Furthermore , the 1985 guide includes works written at any time if they are still significant for the scholarly study of Chinese diought, religion, practice, and culture. Most scholarly works are defined by tiieir beginnings, and bibliographies are no exception to this rule. However the author defines the nature of the project, however she or he begins to assemble, compile, and organize the material, the initial guiding principles shape the nature of the completed bibliography. In the introduction , Yu outlines the organizing principles that govern the material for all three sections ofthe text. For instance, in order to incorporate the best of modern PRC scholarship on religion, Yu follows an outline in the second section of the bibliography that conforms to many...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 285-288
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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