Contemporary Religions in China  book cover
1st Edition

Contemporary Religions in China

ISBN 9781138601987
Published February 4, 2019 by Routledge
310 Pages

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USD $46.95

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Book Description

Folk and popular religion is a very significant part of Chinese religious life, especially in rural areas. Contemporary Religions in China focuses on the religious activities of the lay people of contemporary China and their ideas of what it means to be "religious" and to practice "religion". Throughout, the discussion is illustrated with case studies, textboxes, images, thought questions, and further reading, which help to capture what religion is like, how and why it is practiced, and what ‘religion’ means for everyday people across China in the twenty-first century.

Contemporary Religions in China is an ideal introduction to religion in China for undergraduate students of religion, Chinese studies, and anthropology.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Boxes


Chapter 1- Introduction to lay religion in China

Chapter 2- Setting the Stage and Defining Terms

Chapter 3- Entering Temples

Chapter 4- Understanding and Interacting with Deities, Spirits and Ancestors

Chapter 5- Interacting with Auspiciousness

Chapter 6- Interacting with Fate, Fortune, and Chance

Chapter 7- Lay Goals and Major Issues: Why Practice Religion



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Shawn Arthur is Assistant Professor of Chinese Religions at Wake Forest University, USA.


"What does religion look like today in China? Shawn Arthur’s book asks and answers this question in wonderful detail. This textbook makes the case for an ethnographic approach to religion that takes its cue from religion as it is practiced in everyday life, using theory to explain the facts, rather than fitting facts to the theory. The result is a clear, patient and honest account of religion in China through the eyes of an expert guide. I recommend it highly for anyone who is curious about religion in China today."

James Miller, Duke Kunshan University, China


"The book includes both Chinese characters and tones on pinyin Romanization, which provides a helpful vocabulary list for anyone learning Chinese as a foreign language." - Daniel M. Murray, Reading Religion, 2020