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Religious Culture and Violence in Traditional China

Barend ter Haar (Universitat Hamburg)

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Cambridge University Press
30 May 2019
The basis of Chinese religious culture, and with that many aspects of daily life, was the threat and fear of demonic attacks. These were inherently violent and could only be counteracted by violence as well - even if this reactive violence was masked by euphemisms such as execution, expulsion, exorcisms and so on. At the same time, violence was a crucial dimension of the maintenance of norms and values, for instance in sworn agreements or in beliefs about underworld punishment. Violence was also an essential aspect of expressing respect through sacrificial gifts of meat (and in an earlier stage of Chinese culture also human flesh) and through a culture of auto-mutilation and ritual suicide. At the same time, conventional indigenous terms for violence such as bao were not used for most of these practices since they were not experienced as such, but rather justified as positive uses of physical force.
By:   Barend ter Haar (Universitat Hamburg)
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 180mm,  Width: 128mm,  Spine: 4mm
Weight:   1.200kg
ISBN:   9781108706230
ISBN 10:   1108706231
Series:   Elements in Religion and Violence
Pages:   75
Publication Date:   30 May 2019
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Preface; 1. Setting the stage; 2. What is violence?; 3. The demonological substrate; 4. Messianic and millenarian traditions; 5. The enforcement of norms and social values; 6. Sacrifice and its counter-discourse; 7. Self-inflicted violence; 8. Intra-religious conflicts; Concluding comments.

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