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Old Society, New BeliefReligious transformation of China and Rome, ca. 1st-6th Centuries$
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Mu-chou Poo, H. A. Drake, and Lisa Raphals

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190278359

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190278359.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Old Society, New Belief

Mu-chou Poo

H. A. Drake

Oxford University Press

This chapter first provides a historical background for the development of Christianity in Rome and Buddhism in China. It illustrates in both China and Rome, the story of a new religion cannot be told in simple terms of “conquest” or even “success.” Both Buddhism and Christianity faced resistance from elites and commoners alike; to gain acceptance, both engaged in processes of accommodation and adaptation that changed the new faith as much as they changed the old culture. Chapters in the volume are grouped into three parts: Part 1, “Initial Encounters and Causes of Resistance,” considers the obstacles each new religion encountered; Part 2, “Interaction, Influence, and Accommodation,” pursues this theme of adaptation and cross-pollination; Part 3, “Synthesis and Assimilation,” looks at a further stage in this process whereby these new belief systems both altered and were altered by the material life of the old society, including art, architecture, and daily life.

Keywords:   Social accommodation, religious adaptation, cultural resistance, religious synthesis, religious assimilation

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