Taoism: Growth of a Religion

Taoism: Growth of a Religion

Taoism: Growth of a Religion

Taoism: Growth of a Religion

Synopsis

This is a survey of the history of Taoism from approximately the 3rd century B.C. to the 14th century A.D. Robinet sees Taoism foremost as a religion and traces the development of Taoism up to the point it reached its mature form.

Excerpt

That Taoism is a composite religion is well known Formed of many strands, it relies on no single supreme authority or fundamental holy book. In fact, there has been a long-standing tendency--both within and beyond China--to designate as "Taoist" all recorded Chinese traditional knowledge that was not part of official schemas or technical information, all that was different and, parenthetically, not Buddhist or Confucian. The multiplicity of Taoist traditions and texts has been one factor in the unwillingness of many even to accord it the title "religion."

This book, by one of the world's foremost scholars of Taoism, should remove any doubt that Taoism is a religion. It is an attempt to explain to a wide audience how, over a period of some sixteen centuries, various strands of thought, practice, and belief became woven together to form the Taoist religion. In preparing the English version, I have made some modifications to the ordering of the French text--for example, making part of the original Introduction the Author's Preface. Within chapters there has been some re-ordering of the presentation to fit English-language conventions, but Professor Robinet's exposition is so clear that I have had to make few changes in her actual wording. My hope is that the re-

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