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Religion in China and Its Modern Fate
Paul R. Katz; Meir Shahar, fwd.

The Menahem Stern Jerusalem Lectures

2014 • 264 pp. 10 illus., 2 maps, 2 tables 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"
Religion / Chinese History / History - 20th Century

$40.00 Paperback, 978-1-61168-543-5
$39.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-544-2

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“Taking head-on the widespread conviction that modernity entails secularization, Paul Katz shows how selected members of the Chinese elite in the first half of the twentieth century adapted their faith to modernity in the pursuit of traditional religious activities like charity, printed propagation of the faith, and spirit writing.”—John Lagerwey, author of China: A Religious State

Paul R. Katz has composed a fascinating account of the fate of Chinese religions during the modern era by assessing mutations of communal religious life, innovative forms of religious publishing, and the religious practices of modern Chinese elites traditionally considered models of secular modernity. The author offers a rare look at the monumental changes that have affected modern Chinese religions, from the first all-out assault on them during the 1898 reforms to the eve of the Communist takeover of the mainland. Tracing the ways in which the vast religious resources (texts, expertise, symbolic capital, material wealth, etc.) that circulated throughout Chinese society during the late imperial period were reconfigured during this later era, Katz sheds new light on modern Chinese religious life and the understudied nexus between religion and modern political culture.

Religion in China and Its Modern Fate will appeal to a broad audience of religionists and historians of modern China.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements:

“Any summary of the sections [of this book] cannot possibly do justice to the richness of the discussion so concisely presented. While it is true that the focus of much of the book is primarily on the individuals who made up the elite in China – precisely because the assumption generally has been that their secularization was ahead of that of the masses – the outlook is even so not a narrow one, extending as it does at times beyond the Han Chinese to the margins of China. In an increasingly crowded market, this is a volume that stands out.”—China Quarterly

“Katz’s study of religious innovation challenges narratives of Chinese religious conservatism and decline, and its mapping of elite religious activity overturns conventional depictions of the secularism of China’s leading modernizers.”—David Palmer, coauthor of The Religious Question in Modern China

“China-watchers used to think there was traditional China and its religion, then Maoism, then a secular globalized society. Katz debunks this view, by focusing on the first modernity: both religion and its discontents were key parts of modernization processes all along.”—Vincent Goossaert, coauthor of The Religious Question in Modern China

“Katz’s exploration of the religious life of the Chinese elite stands as a much-needed reminder of the limited success of China’s secularizing elites in their attempts to transform Chinese culture.”—David Ownby, Université de Montréal

PAUL R. KATZ is a research fellow at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.