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State, cult of the

(1,361 words)

Author(s): Kern, Martin
From its earliest manifestations under the Shang to the fall of the Chinese Empire, the Chinese state was always a structure based on religion and providing meaning and order by integrating cosmos and society. The ruler functioned as high priest and as an intermediary who communicated with the dynastical ancestors and cosmic powers. During the Shang dynasty, the kings secured political legitimacy, longevity, and dynastic continuity with sacrifices to the mighty ancestors, who in turn were able to influence the paramount deity Di. During the Zhou period, ancestor worship was c…

Staatskult

(1,725 words)

Author(s): Kleine, Christoph | Otto, Eckart | Kern, Martin | Pye, Michael
[English Version] I. Religionsgeschichtlich S. im engeren Sinne sind durch Tradition oder Gesetzgebung geregelte, im Auftrag, im Namen und zum Wohl des Staates durchgeführte rel. Handlungen, deren Adressaten typischerweise außersinnliche Mächte wie Götter, Dämonen, Naturnumina oder personalisierte kosmische Wirkmächte sind. Es ist zw. solchen S. zu unterscheiden, die regelmäßig zu festgelegten Zeiten und an bestimmten Orten durchgeführt werden, und solchen, die aus gegebenem Anlaß (Thronbesteigung,…

State Cult

(1,973 words)

Author(s): Kleine, Christoph | Otto, Eckart | Kern, Martin | Pye, Michael
[German Version] I. History of Religions State cults in the narrow sense are religious ceremonies, governed by tradition or law, performed in the name of the state and for its benefit; typically they are addressed to extrasensory powers such as gods, demons, natural numina, or personalized cosmic forces. It is necessary to distinguish cults celebrated regularly at fixed times and places from those staged on a particular occasion such as an enthronement, the death of a ruler, a natural disaster, an epi…