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34 China Review International: Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1994 Patricia Buckley Ebrey and Peter N. Gregory, editors. Religion and Society in Vang ana Sung China. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1993. xv, 379 pp. Hardcover $35.00. Patricia Ebrey and Peter Gregory, both professors at die University of Illinois, have put togefher a marvelous collection of original essays identifying some of me more significant religious changes that occurred from the late Tang period through Aie Song. These essays—by Sinologists, Buddhologists, social historians, and specialists in religious studies—all demonstrate a deep awareness of a general historical problematik, as well as of the issues raised by each other's work, to which they make constant reference. Much of the credit for the coherence of this volume, then, must go to the editors, who gave these and oAier young scholars the opportunity to come to their university to present their ideas and then of sharing diem in a conference setting. The volume includes an introduction by both editors and nine essays. The first of the essays, "The Religious and Historical Landscape," by the two editors, provides a general introduction to the historical development of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and popular religion up to and including the Song period , and also offers an original model for the study of Song religion based on these categories. One of the editors, Patricia Ebrey, makes her own contribution to Aie collection in an examination of Aie differing responses of Aie state and of Neo-Confiicians to a number of popular funerary practices. Another senior scholar, Judidi Berling, offers a very nuanced portrait of Aie mysterious thirteenth-century Taoist Bai Yuchan. In what follows, however, I would like to concentrate on Aie remaining six essays, which I break up into two groups. The essays by Judith Boltz, T. Griffith Foulk, and Linda Walton (and also Judith Berling) dissolve many of the sectarian barriers fhat have normally defined the religious history and historiography of the Song. And though Aiey do not make it explicitly, all present a case for the inclusion of Buddhist monks and Daoist priests in the high literati world normally considered the exclusive preserve of Confucians. Boltz' article, "Not by the Seal of Office Alone," explores one of the more fascinating cultural phenomena of Southern Song society—the expertise in Daoist exorcistic rites of a significant number of civil and military officials and the function of this "ritual rearmament" in overcoming the Aireat to state authority presented by local cults and the sorcerers who stood behind them. Boltz goes on to© 1994 by University rT, .,. _ place these historically significant episodes within the larger context of the nature ofHawaii Press/oro and function of Thunder Magic and other Daoist exorcistic traditions of the Song. Like government edicts and the officials who implemented them, Daoist Features 35 exorcistic codes and rituals were directed against "excessive cults" and their "sorcerers ." It is difficult to do justice to the wealth of detail Aiat Boltz provides. Here I want to mention some of her important interpretations, which should inspire further research and debate, first, Boltz attributes the Song phenomenon and Aie elaboration ofrituals ofThunder Magic (many ofwhich were directed actually to destroying local shrines) to the invention of gunpowder, and not to the traditional association of thunder wiAi moral retribution. Second, she argues that "a major motivating force behind die ritual rearmament in die Sung" may have been the Sinicization of southern minorities, with whom sorcery was often associated. This view is complicated by die fact Aiat some particularly sorcerous strains of Thunder Magic were identified with minorities. Indeed, the entire problem of the historical relation between Daoism and the religion of so-called minorities has yet to be explored in any depth, finally, Boltz points to Aie increasing instability of the twelfth century to explain the Daoist ritual rearmament of first the gentry and then officials. For gentry members confronting uncertain careers, expertise in Daoist rites offered a way of maintaining or bolstering their ideal ofpublic service, while the social standing and breeding of these practitioners made diem particularly appealing as bearers of consensus in identifying spiritual scapegoats for disease and conAict. For officials, Daoist rites...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 34-42
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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