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The Transformation in State and Elite Responses to Popular Religious Beliefs

  • Author(s): Kim, Hanshin
  • Advisor(s): von Glahn, Richard
  • et al.
Abstract

My dissertation examines how the attitudes of states and literati toward the popular religious beliefs had been transformed during the period between the late Tang and Southern Song period. The previous researches concentrated on how the socio-economic and socio-psychological changes had caused the rapid growth of the popular religious cults since the Song dynasty period, and they presumed that the rapid increase of the state and literati involvement with the local cults just reflected the increasing significance of the popular religions. However, I argue that the previous presumption was only partially right. My research intends to demonstrate that the transformation in the state and literati response to the popular religious cults was attributed not only to the change of the popular religions but also to that of the socio-political environment around them.

In Chapter Two, I argue that during the period between the late Tang and the Five Dynasties period the difference in the local policies between the northern five dynasties and southern regional regimes caused the disparity in their stances on the popular religious beliefs. The Chapter Three and Chapter Four, however, contrast the differences in the state and literati stances on the popular religious cult between the Northern Song political leadership with the Southern Song literati. Finally, the Chapter Five is illustrating my argument by taking a concrete example of the evolution of King Zhang cult.

Consequently, this dissertation demonstrates that there were both the regional and temporal differences in the state and literati response to the popular religious cults. First of all, there was a marked difference in their responses between the states of the north China and those of the south China. Secondly, there was also a clear-cut distinction between the state activism approach of the Northern Song reformers and the local activism approach of the Southern Song literati.

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