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The Sage and the PeopleThe Confucian Revival in China$
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Sebastien Billioud and Joel Thoraval

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190258139

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190258139.001.0001

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Between Religious Ritual and Political Ceremonial

Between Religious Ritual and Political Ceremonial

Cosmology and National State

(p.238) 10 Between Religious Ritual and Political Ceremonial
The Sage and the People

Sébastien Billioud

Joël Thoraval

Oxford University Press

While still focusing primarily on state cults and the ambiguous intertwinement between the “religious” and the “political,” this chapter broadens the scope. While refusing any culturalistic interpretation of history, it questions the possible perpetuation until today of fundamental schemes borrowed from an ancient cosmology. It exposes what is meant by this ancient cosmology (termed “continuism”) and emphasizes that its remains need to be understood within a modern context of ruptures and discontinuities. The argument is based on a comparative analysis of state-sponsored ceremonies taking place in both the People’s Republic of China (Confucius and the Yellow Emperor cult) and Taiwan (the Confucius cult and the “sacrifice to Heaven”). The chapter introduces ideal types of “political ceremonial” and “religious ritual” and an overall reflection about the different relations between the sage, the people, and the state on the two sides of the Taiwan straight. The discussion echoes current debates about an “ontological turn” in anthropology.

Keywords:   politico-religious, continuism, cult of Confucius, sacrifice to Heaven, Ma Yingjiu, Yiguandao, redemptive societies, analogist ontology, naturalist ontology

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