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Religions of Ancient China

Herbert Allen Giles

Book Overview: 

An overview of the religions of China, beginning with Fu Hsi, B.C. 2953-2838, and continuing through the 19th Century.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .t must be noted that this view was not suggested by the Emperor K'ang Hsi, who fixed upon T'ien as the appropriate term. It is probable that, vigorous Confucianist as he was, he was anxious to appear on the side rather of an abstract than of a personal Deity, and that he was repelled by the overwrought anthropomorphism of the Christian God. His conversion was said to have been very near at times; we read, however, that, when hard pressed by the missionaries to accept baptism, "he always excused himself by saying that he worshipped the same God as the Christians."

God in the "Odes."—The Chou dynasty lasted from B.C. 1122 to B.C. 255. It was China's feudal age, when the empire, then included between latitude 34-40 and longitude 109-118, was split up into a number of vassal States, which owned allegiance to a suzerain State. And it is to the earlier centuries of the Chou dynasty that must be attributed the composition of a large number of ballads of various . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Meh, history as hearsay and gathered impressions. No works cited. Unsubstantiated chronology dating back thousands of years BC. Where is he getting his facts?

This booklet is a delightful pleasure. At first, I was wondering why it didn't get four stars from Goodreads. After reading it, for me personally, I took one star off because of its reckless feeling in terms of citations and the lack of explanation on original text. Some readers are questioning t...more

Good summary

I was hoping for a little more detail on the religions. The first book in the series was on pantheism and was more in depth, still looking forward to reading more of the series though.

(lido em Chengdu, China)

Pretty good overview. Unlike some other books ive read on this subject there is a focus on certain trends amongst all Chinese religions, such as actual theism and its proliferation into monism dualism and polytheism, ancestor veneration, agnosticism and even materialism. There are a number of var...more

holds many interesting concepts... was an okay read.

A look way back into one of the oldest cultures on earth and the formation of their belief systems.