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Chinese Religions Paperback – August 30, 1993

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books (August 30, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780883448755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0883448755
  • ASIN: 0883448750
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,128,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ching's book is one of the better books on Chinese religion. Her writing is clear and she gives the reader all of the necessary information without burdening one in trivial details. She covers the origins of Chinese religion up to the present, even covering how Judaism, Islam, and Christianity have fared in China. Ching's account of Taoist religion is very insightful. Amazingly, she covers China's entire religious history in 230 pages without simply skimming the surface of Chinese religion nor going into detail in some areas while neglecting others. Her book was an insightful and enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback
First, let me say that Ching's Chinese Religions should be viewed as a scholarly text. It is not, nor intended to be, summer "beach reading." That said, I must say that Ching did a very good job writing a book that would be a wonderful accompaniment to a college course on either Chinese religion, or Chinese philosophy. She begins chronologically with the "Indigenous Traditions" of China and progresses through Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and finally the integration of Christian and Islamic influence in Chinese religion.
Ching discusses the uniqueness of the Chinese religion, in that it is a conglomeration of many different religious and philosophical influences, and she illustrates how these many influences have come to form a synchronistic relationship between many schools of thought.
If I could make two suggestions to Julia Ching, they would be to add a chapter on the rise of Falun Gong in China, and the subsequent oppression by the Communist Party. Secondly, add some excerpts from the religious texts she cites in her work. I'm sure this would add clarity.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would rate this book 3 and ½ of 5 stars. This book is good, has moments where it reveals interesting details, as well as moments where it is merely basic review of commonly known facts about Chinese Religions. Impressively, Julia Ching has chosen to write about all religions of China, both of indigenous and foreign in origin - so Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam in China are discussed within these covers. Readers will invariably learn something, and Ching's research seems to be sound, but for a discussion of this scope to also have great depth the book probably needed an extra 100 pages of length, minimum. At 230 pages, there is not much on Confucius or as much on Confucianism as one would like; similarly Taoism could be elaborated upon a great deal. Readers will undoubtedly close this book still hungry for more knowledge on these topics, but at least having an overall sketch and conceptual grasp of Chinese Religions. The style writing is directed at a more popular audience, but still has the weight and effect of an academic work. It is probably best suited as an introductory text at the college level. I can recommend this book to new readers in Chinese Religion, but certainly know they will also need learn more having finished it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This good introduction to all the religions in China has chapters on indigenous traditions (Part I), on the response of these to foreign religions (Part II), and on syncretism (Part III) structure the book. The writing is the work of a scholar who is writing for educated, general readers. She does not define many concepts, except by oblique references. As to religion, for instance, in one place (84), she writes "consciousness of a transcendent dimension." In other place (11), she writes, "belief in a hierarchy of gods, human condition is sinful, ritual practices and prayer bridge the gap between human and divine." As to China, she most frequently refers to a cultural entity constituted in "Confucianism," which controls responses to other native and foreign religions.
Part 1 is about these indigenous traditions -- about archaic religions and about "Confucianism" and "Taoism," the traditions that differentiated in the Warring States period (475-221) and consolidated in the Han Dynasty (206-220 AD). These traditions rationalized the archaic state and ancestral allegiance to the state in a central conviction of "human perfectibility."
Part 2 is about Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, and minor invasions, all of which confronted the doctrine of human perfectibility with with variations on defining perfectibility as (1) for the person or (2) for the state. Any opposition to the centrality of the state in these traditions was fated to lose out because the doctrine of perfectibility must fit state ideology.
Part 3 is about the future of religion in China. She is no more predictive than is any other writer. Two scenarios for the future make up Part III.
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