Redemptive Societies and New Religious Movements in Modern China, part II

Special issue on “Redemptive Societies and New Religious Movements in Modern China” II

David A. Palmer, Paul R. Katz, Wang Chien-chuan. “Introduction: Redemptive Societies in Cultural and Historical Contexts.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 173 (2011.9): 1-12.

“Redemptive societies” is a term coined by Prasenjit Duara in his article “The Discourse of Civilization and Pan-Asianism” in 2001, referring to a wave of religious movements which appeared in Republican China, including the Tongshanshe同善社, Daoyuan道院, Yiguandao一貫道 and so on, which combined the Chinese tradition of “syncretic sects” with philanthropy, social engagement, and aspirations to build a new universal civilization. These groups arguably constituted the largest wave of religious revival in Republican China. The destruction or confiscation of local temples opened a space for their deterritorialised networks, while elaboration of new formulations of sovereignty, modernity and civic duty gave them cultural and social significance as providers of charity and as mediators between Chinese spiritual tradition and modern constructions of nationhood and universal civilization. Redemptive societies were precursors of the qigong 氣功 movement in the post-Mao People’s Republic and of the popular Confucian revival of the early 21st century; and they continue to occupy an important place in the religious landscapes of Taiwan, Vietnam, and among Chinese diaspora communities in Southeast Asia.
In spite of their significant role and impact, redemptive societies remain relatively ignored in scholarship on religion in modern China, appearing primarily in the mainland historiography of “reactionary sects and secret societies” 反動會道門 and in ethnographic works on religion in post-war Taiwan. This special double issue (nos. 172 and 173) of Min-su chü-i 民俗曲藝 (Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore) represents an initial attempt to fill that gap through a selection of articles which critically examine the category of redemptive societies, present case studies, and explore their interactions with their socio-political environment and with other types of religious groups.

王見川、康豹、宗樹人。〈導言:關於「救世團體」:「鄉村宗教」或「邪教」?〉。《民俗曲藝》173 (2011.9): 13-21


本輯探討法輪功的文章指出,民國時期 (特別是19371945年大戰期間) 的救世團體儘管被政府視為「邪教」,但在中國北方上其宗教地位是被廣泛認可的,逐漸形成農村信仰的道德和儀式核心,扮演「鄉村宗教」的角色。本輯另兩篇介紹廣東和香港先天道的論文呈現不同的圖像,先天道並未變成「鄉村宗教」,而是形成獨具特色的齋堂。此外,「扶乩」在中國宗教文化上具有相當的重要性,本輯有專文透過研究台中一家鸞堂扶乩得來的觀音經文,去理解民間信仰、民間教派與佛教傳統如何在大環境宗教教義下融合的獨特形式。

Articles in this special issue

志賀市子。〈先天道嶺南道脈的思想和實踐:以廣東清遠飛霞洞為例〉。《民俗曲藝》173 (2011.9): 23-58
Ichiko Shiga. “The Ideas and Practices of the Xiantiandao’s Lingnan Branch: The Case of the Feixia Dong (Qingyuan County, Guangdong).” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 173 (2011.9): 23-58.

游子安、危丁明。〈先天道的尊孔崇道:香港道德會福慶堂、善慶洞的源流和變遷〉。《民俗曲藝》173 (2011.9): 59-99
Yau Chi On and Ngai Ting Ming. “Worshipping Confucius and Promoting the Dao: The Origin and Development of the Fuqing Tang and Shanqing Dong of the Xiantiandao’s Hong Kong Ethics Society.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 173 (2011.9): 59-99.

Philip Clart. “Anchoring Guanyin: Appropriative Strategies in a New Phoenix Hall Scripture.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 173 (2011.9): 101-28.
柯若樸。〈錨定觀音:一部新的鸞堂經文的借用策略〉。《民俗曲藝》173 (2011.9): 101-28

王大為。〈法輪功的歷史何在?〉。《民俗曲藝》173 (2011.9): 129-60
David Ownby. “A History for Falun Gong.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 173 (2011.9): 129-60.

Research Papers

徐海波。〈甘肅省會寧縣丁溝鄉南門村一次喪葬活動的考察及闡釋〉。《民俗曲藝》173 (2011.9): 161-263
Xu Haipo. “Investigation and Interpretation of a Funeral in Nanmen Village, Huining County, Gansu.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 173 (2011.9): 161-263.

蕭進銘。〈淡水靈寶道壇的功德儀式:以混玄壇為核心的探討〉。《民俗曲藝》173 (2011.9): 233-77
Hsiao Chin-ming. “The Gongde Rituals of Tamsui’s Lingbao Daoist Altars: A Case Study of the Hunxuan Altar.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 173 (2011.9): 233-77.