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Mysticism and Kingship in China: The Heart of Chinese Wisdom (Cambridge Studies in Religious Traditions) [Paperback]

Julia Ching

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Book Description

13 Nov 1997 Cambridge Studies in Religious Traditions (Book 11)
In this book, Julia Ching offers a magisterial survey of over four thousand years of Chinese civilisation through an examination of the relationship between kingship and mysticism. She investigates the sage-king myth and ideal, arguing that institutions of kingship were bound up with cultivation of trance states and communication with spirits. Over time, these associations were retained, though sidelined, as the sage-king myth became a model for the actual ruler, with a messianic appeal for the ruled. As a paradigm, it also became appropriated by private individuals who strove for wisdom without becoming kings. As the Confucian tradition interacted with the Taoist and the Buddhist, the religious character of spiritual and mystical cultivation became more pronounced. But the sage-king idea continued, promoting expectations of benevolent despotism rather than democratisation in Chinese civilisation.

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"Ching's study presents a masterful survey of Chinese history and religion." Religious Studies Review

"The most welcome feature of Julia Ching's wide-ranging account of Mysticism and Kingship in China is her frequent and integral use of the tools of comparative religion." Studies in Religion

Book Description

In this book, Julia Ching offers a magisterial survey of over four thousand years of Chinese civilisation through an examination of the relationship between kingship and mysticism. Lucidly written, the book will be of interest to anyone seeking to understand how today's China continues to draw on its past.

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First Sentence
The earliest known religion is a belief in the divinity of kings ... [In] the earliest records known, man appears to us worshipping gods and their earthly representatives, namely kings. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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