The Dao of Muhammad: A Cultural History of Muslims in Late Imperial China

By Garnaut, Anthony | The China Journal, January 2006 | Go to article overview

The Dao of Muhammad: A Cultural History of Muslims in Late Imperial China


Garnaut, Anthony, The China Journal


The Dao of Muhammad: A Cultural History of Muslims in Late Imperial China, by Zvi Ben-Dor Benite. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2005. xi + 280 pp. US$45.00/£29.95/euro41.50 (hardcover).

Between the late Ming dynasty and the late Qing, Muslim scholars in China created a sophisticated corpus in the Chinese written language that set out the principles and practices of Islam. This corpus is known by Muslims in China as the han kitab, the Sinophone Islamic books, and includes both translations of Persian and Arabic texts and original works. The system of learning that gave rise to the Sinophone Islamic books is known as jingtang jiaoyu, or Sinophone Islamic learning. The scholarly network that developed and propagated this system of learning, and their relationship to other Chinese scholarly elite networks, is the subject of Svi Ben-Dor Benite's first book-length publication, based on a PhD thesis of a similar title written under the supervision of Benjamin Elman.

The Dao of Muhammad is, at heart, a close textual analysis of an important biographical text that chronicles the early teachers of Sinophone Islamic learning. Written by a certain Zhao Can in Kaifeng in the 1670s and published in 1989 under the title Jingxue xi chuanpu, or "Genealogy of Classical Learning", the text describes twenty-five major teachers in the scholarly tradition with which the author himself identified, documenting where and from whom these teachers gained their knowledge, to whom they passed it on, and any worthy accomplishments they may have achieved. The founder of this tradition, Zhao tells us, was known as Grand Master Hu, who gained his knowledge during several years of study under a "turbaned elder" in Central Asia. On his return to China, Grand Master Hu established a school where he taught the new style of Islamic learning that became known as jingtang jiaoyu. His students founded further new schools, and so the network spread.

Ben-Dor Benite takes the detailed information provided by Zhao Can and interprets it through the concept of a "scholarly network", derived from Elman's work on Confucian scholarly networks. He begins by raising the issues involved with researching an Islamic scholarly community in China and introducing an intellectual (Chapter 1), and proceeds to a skillful exposition of the scholarly network of Sinophone Islamic learning and the movement of texts through this network. In Chapter 3, he draws on Zhao Can's text supplemented by other biographical sources to address the question of how Islamic principles were articulated in a Chinese medium (hence the title of the book). In this chapter Ben-Dor Benite overemphasizes the importance of the specific vocabulary used by these Sinophone Islamic scholars. For example, he describes the transformation of Muhammad from Prophet to Sage at the hands of the Sinophone Islamic scholars, without discussion of what the characteristics of a prophet (Ar. rasul, nabi) are as defined by the broad tradition of Islamic learning, or the status of the sage (Ch. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Dao of Muhammad: A Cultural History of Muslims in Late Imperial China
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.