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Charismatic Religion

(620 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
1. Features In religious studies, the phrase “charismatic religion” applies to thousands of religious movements that have the following five features. 1. They arise in times of cultural, economic, or national crisis (Crisis Cult). 2. They are founded and directed by prophets (often women), whose direct mandate from the Supreme Being (by visions, dreams, etc.) the adherents recognize. 3. The vision, often symbolically, shows the reason for the crisis and intimates divine help in the renewing of the world under the leadership of the prophet. 4. The vision contains elements of a “…

Taiping Rebellion

(1,016 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
1. Name and Origin The Chinese Taiping Rebellion rested on a vision of its originator, Hung Hsiu-ch’üan (Hong Xiuquan, 1814–64), in the year 1837. The term t’ai-p’ing (great peace) adopted a utopian ideal (Utopia) that went back to the third century b.c. In the vision an “old man” charged Hung to chase out the “demons” from earth and heaven who had caused human beings to forget their Creator. The finding of a book containing Bible verses and evangelical tracts verified for him the genuineness of the vision. Putting his mission into action, Hung in 1842 initiated the God Worshipers…


(2,180 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
1. The Churches in China The first verifiable presence of Christianity in China came via Nestorian missionaries, who entered China from the Middle East in the mid-7th century. Their work effectively ended by the 9th century, although traces of Nestorianism survived until the 14th. The first Western missionary was John of Monte Corvino (1247–1328), a Franciscan, whose efforts were nullified by the advent of the Ming dynasty in 1368. Between 1552 and the mid-1800s, the Jesuits, and later also other ord…


(1,025 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
The modern term “Confucianism” has no exact equivalent in traditional Chinese doxography. It denotes the sum of the officially sanctioned values and norms that have influenced, and to some extent still influence, the fabric of Chinese social structure, visible, e.g., in ancestor worship, subordination in the five key human relations (prince and subject, father and son, husband and wife, older brother and younger brother, teacher and student), and the governing of everyday life by moral concepts. The nearest Chinese equivalent is the teaching of the Ju, cultured officia…

Hong Kong

(1,504 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
[German Version] I. General Facts, History of Religion – II. Christian History I. General Facts, History of Religion The island became a crown colony in 1841, following the Opium War. The economic opportunities as well as the safety of the colony attracted Chinese immigrants from South China. The latter largely retained their religious customs, although they adapted these to the new environment: in the city, the family and the individual replaced the clan as tradents of the ancestor cult (Ancestors, Cult of: IV…

Gützlaff, Karl August Friedrich

(664 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
[German Version] (Jul 8, 1803, Pyrzyce [Ger. Pyritz], Poland – Aug 9, 1851, Canton) came from Pomerania and went to China (V) as an independent evangelical missionary. Born into an artisan family of Herrnhuter tradition (Bohemian and Moravian Brethren), Gützlaff was gripped by the missionary fever of the second Awakening movement (Revival/Revival movements: I) at an early age. Showing little interest in the disputes between Christian denominations and convinced that a Chinese Mission could only re…


(2,579 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
Elites are the groups in a society who for a prolonged period of time play a leading role in the bureaucracy, economy, and cultural life. They are aware of this role and interact through internal networks. "Elites" is a modern Western term without a traditional Chinese equivalent. During the development phase of the Chinese state the elite functions lay with the clan of the ruler of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, who gave self-administered feudal tenures to male relatives. As these tenures became more independent and autonomous and increasing…

Literature and Politics

(3,316 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
Literature and politics have traditionally had a very close relationship in China. During the 20th century this relationship has grown even closer through the nationalist activism of many writers. The ideological and institutional integration of literature into the propaganda efforts of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), modeled on the Soviet example, marked the far-reaching conflation of literature and politics in the PRC, which has led to the reader always paying attention to the political implications of literature. 1. Traditional Attitudes: Literature as Praise and R…

Public Sphere and Public Opinion

(2,366 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
In the realm of the political culture of China, in which ideals have been preserved in the form of stories about the wise rulers of ancient times, it was a mark of the good ruler that the "path of speech" was open, i.e. that criticism of officials and of the ruler himself could be brought before the court. These stories lead up to the idea that the "Mandate of Heaven" does not come automatically to any dynasty or to any ruler but has to be earned on an ongoing basis, and that its possession show…

Taiping Rebellion

(3,545 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
The Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace ( taiping tianguo) was a state which was inspired by Christian millenarianism, existed in central and southern China between 1851 and 1864, and for quite a few years appeared to be able and ready to overthrow the Qing dynasty. It was initiated by Hong Xiuquan, who in a vision had learnt that he was God's second son and that he would have the task of initiating the Millennium of Heavenly Peace. After a civil war of almost 15 years (whose death toll of about 30 million …


(1,345 words)

Author(s): Reiter, Florian C. | Jansen, Thomas | Wagner, Rudolf G.
[German Version] I. Taoism Taiping signifies “Great Peace,” “General Prosperity,” and “Universal Harmony.” The Book of Universal Harmony ( Taiping Jing) reflects the ideology of the militarily organized Taiping movement (2nd cent. ce) under the leadership of the self-appointed “generals” Zhang ¶ Jue (or Zhang Jiao; d. 184) and his two brothers. The deified Lao Tsu (Taishang Laojun) is said to have revealed the original title Taiping qingling shu to a certain Gan (or Yu) Ji in Shandong (Langye). The wars of the late Han Dynasty, the hardships suffered by the popu…