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Heaven is empty : a cross-cultural approach to "religion" and empire in ancient China

Author: Filippo Marsili
Publisher: Albany : State University of New York Press, [2018] ©2018
Series: SUNY series in Chinese philosophy and culture; SUNY series in Chinese philosophy and culture.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Heaven is Empty offers a new comparative perspective on the role of the sacred in the formation of China's early empires (221 BCE-9 CE) and shows how the unification of the Central States was possible without a unitary and universalistic conception of religion. The monotheism of the ancient Mediterranean, in which the cult of the divinized ruler was crucial for the legitimization of Rome's authority across  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Marsili, Filippo, 1973-
Heaven is empty.
Albany : State University of New York Press, [2018]
(DLC) 2017059913
(OCoLC)1036750813
Named Person: Han Wudi, Emperor of China; Han Wudi, Emperor of China
Material Type: Document, Government publication, State or province government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Filippo Marsili
ISBN: 9781438472034 143847203X
OCLC Number: 1061148497
Description: 1 online resource (xi, 331 pages).
Contents: An empire without "a religion" --
Readings of the "sacred" : Chinese religion, Chinese religions, and religions in China --
Writing the empire : ex pluribus plurima --
Narrating the empire : metaphysics without God, "religions" without identity --
Time, myth, and memory : of water, metal, and cinnabar --
Place and ritual : from templum to text --
The importance of getting lost.
Series Title: SUNY series in Chinese philosophy and culture; SUNY series in Chinese philosophy and culture.
Responsibility: Filippo Marsili.

Abstract:

"Heaven is Empty offers a new comparative perspective on the role of the sacred in the formation of China's early empires (221 BCE-9 CE) and shows how the unification of the Central States was possible without a unitary and universalistic conception of religion. The monotheism of the ancient Mediterranean, in which the cult of the divinized ruler was crucial for the legitimization of Rome's authority across geographical and social boundaries and the emperor embodied both the timelessness of social hierarchies and the universality of Rome's rule, is often used as an analytical template for studying other ancient empires. Filippo Marsili challenges such approaches in his examination of the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han (141-87 BCE). Wu purposely drew from regional traditions and tried to gain the support of local communities through his patronage of local cults; he was interested in rituals that envisioned the monarch as a military leader who directly controlled the land and its resources, as a means for legitimizing radical administrative and economic centralization. In reconstructing this imperial model, Marsili reinterprets fragmentary official accounts in light of material evidence and non-canonical and recently excavated texts. In bringing to life the courts, battlefields, markets, shrines, and pleasure quarters of early imperial China, Heaven is Empty provides a postmodern and postcolonial re-assessment of religion before the arrival of Buddhism and challenges the application of Greco-Roman and Abrahamic notions of "divinity," "myth," and "ritual" to the analysis of pre-Christian and non-Western realities"--

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