OLD SAGE FOR NEW AGE? THE REVIVAL OF RELIGIOUS CONFUCIANISM IN CHINA
In recent years, Confucianism has been once again identified as the essence of Chinese civilization and a religion that was central to the Chinese people throughout China’s long history. Scholars are appealing to the Communist Party to make Confucianism the State religion (guojiao). What are the political implications of the phenomena? Can these claims stand to intellectual scrutiny? Conducting a brief historical survey of religious Confucianism in Chinese politics, in addition to an analysis of shared principles essential to various Confucianist positions today, this paper argues that religious Confucianism presented by its contemporary promoters is a constructed myth originated mainly from the Qing times (1644- 1911). The supposed Confucian teaching does not carry religious meaningfulness associated to either individual existence or social life in contemporary China. It remains powerful primarily in connection to the State, or a collective nation (Zhonghua), vis-à-vis the world outside ethnic Han communities. Despite this - or precisely because of this - a revived religious Confucianism may have the greatest potential to become a political force in China in our globalizing age, more so than any other major world religions, even if others may have larger Chinese following than Confucianism.
Bol, Peter K. 1992. “This Culture of Ours”: Intellectual Transitions in T’ang and Sung China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Bozinovich Miki ,Politology of religion, Politics and Religion,2/2009. Vol. III,Beograd.
Chen, Ming and Chen, I-Chung. 2012. “Gongmin rujiao de jinlu: Chen Ming xiansheng fangtan lu” (Approaching a civil Confucianism: interview with Mr. Chen Ming). Taipei: Sixiang (Reflexion) 20.
Gan, Chunsong. 2010. “Zhishi he xinyang de fentu: jindai shehui biange zhong ruxue de zongjiao hua he zhishi hua de zhenglun” (Between knowledge and faith: Kang Youwei and the modern fate of Confucianism). Beijing: Zhongguo renmin daxue xuebao 2010.
Hymes, Robert. 2002. Way and Byway: Taoism, Local Religion, and Models of Divinity in Sung and Modern China. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Jevtic Miroljub, Political Science and Religion, Politics and Religion Journal, 1/2007. Vol.1, Belgrade
Ji, Zhe. 2011. “Secularization without Secularism: The Political-Religious Configuration of Post-89 China,” paper presented at the conference “Religion and
Communism: Comparative Perspectives,” Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Gottingen.
---------. Forthcoming, “Return to Durkheim: Civil Religion and the Moral Reconstruction of China,” Durkheim in Disciplinary Dialogue: A Centenary Celebration of The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, edited by Sondra L. Hausner. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Jiang, Qing and Daniel A Bell. “A Confucian Constitution for China,” New York: New York Times, OP-ED, July 10, 2012.
Jiang, Yonglin. 2011. The Mandate of Heaven and the Great Ming Code. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Liu Shuxian, “Contemporary New Confucianism: Background, Varieties, and Significance,” Contemporary Chinese Political Thought: Debates and Perspectives,
Dallmayr, Fred and Zhao Tingyang eds. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky,
Lü, Miaw-fen. 2011. Xiao zhi tianxia: Xiaojing yu jinshi Zhongguo de zhengzhi yu wenhua (Ruling All-under-Heaven with Filial Piety: the Xiaojing in Late Imperial China). Taipei: Linking publishing.
Lü, Xichen. 1991. Daojia, fangshi yu wangchao zhengzhi (Daoism, fangshi, and dynastic politics). Changsha: Hunan chubanshe.
Miyazaki, Ichisada (Gongqi shiding).  1992. “Dongyang de jinshi” (The modern of East Asia) trans. Huang Yuese, in Liu Junwen ed., Riben xuezhe yanjiu
zhongguo shi lunzhu xuanyi, vol. 1
-------------.  1981. China’s Examination Hell: The Civil Service Examinations of Imperial China. Conrad Schirokauer trans. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Mizoguchi, Yuzo. 1997. Zhongguo qian jindai sixiang de yanbian (Transformations of ideas early modern China). Suo Jieran and Gong Ying, trans. Beijing:
Qu, Tongzu (Ch’u, T’ung-tsu). 1984. “Qing lü de jicheng he bianhua” (Continuity and changes of the Qing statutes), Zhongguo faxue wenji (A collection of
China’s legal writings). Beijing: Falü chubanshe.
Ranitović Ana , God is back:How the Global Revival of Faith is Changing the World , Politics and Religion, 1/2010, Vol.IV, Beograd.
Rex John, Secular Substitutes for Religion in the Modern World ,Politics and Religion,1/2007.Vol.I, Beograd.
Tillman, Hoyt. 1992. Confucian Discourse and Zhu Xi’s Ascendency. University of Hawaii Press.
Wakeman, Frederic. 1985. The Great Enterprise: The Manchu Reconstruction of Imperial Order in Seventeenth-century China. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Wang Hui. 2004. Rise of Modern Chinese Thought, vols. 1-4. Beijing: Sanlian chubanshe.
Wang, Yanan.  1981. Zhongguo guanliao zhengzhi yanjiu (A study of China’s bureaucratic politics). Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe.
Xu, Zi.  2012. “’Tian di jun qin shi’ yuanliu kao” (The origins and changes of the “Heaven-earth-sovereign-parent-master” order). Online at: www.yuandao.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=47372 (visited on 24/08/12).
Yan, Yunxiang. 2009. The Individualization of Chinese Society. Oxford: Berg Publisher.
Yao, Zhongqiu. 2012. “Rujia fuxing yu Zhongguo sixiang, zhengzhi zhi zouxiang” (Confucianist Revival and China’s intellectual-political future). Taipei:
Sixiang20: Rujia yu xiandai zhengzhi (Reflexion20: Confucianism and modern politics).
Yu, Benyuan. 1999. Qing wangchao de zongjiao zhengce (Religion policy in the Qing Dynasty). Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe.
Yu, Ying-shih. 2004. “’Tian di jun qin shi’ de qiyuan” (The origins of the “Heaven-earth-sovereign-parent-master” order), in Yu, Ying-shih, Xiandai ruxue
de huigu yu zhanwang (Reflection and prospect of modern Confucianism). Beijing: Sanlian shudian.
Zhang, Hao. 2012. “Zhengjiao yiyuan haishi zhengjiao eryuan?: Chuantong rujia sixiang zhong de zhengjiao guanxi” (Politics and teaching - unified or
in duality?: Relationship between politics and teaching in traditional Confucianism).
Taipei: Sixiang20: Rujia yu xiandai zhengzhi (Reflexion20: Confucianism and modern politics),.
Zhao, Tingyang. 2012. “All-Under-Heaven and Methodological Relationism: An Old Story and New World Peace,” in Dallmayr, Fred and Zhao Tingyang eds. Contemporary Chinese Political Thought: Debates and Perspectives. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.
Copyright (c) 2017 Chaohua Wang
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.