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Confucianism as a World ReligionContested Histories and Contemporary Realities$
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Anna Sun

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155579

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155579.001.0001

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Confusions over Confucianism

(p.1) Introduction
Confucianism as a World Religion

Anna Sun

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter talks about the confusions and controversies over the religious nature of Confucianism. It argues that the confusions come mainly from three sources. First, they come from the conceptualization of Confucianism as a world religion at the end of the nineteenth century in Europe, which was a historical product of the emergence of the “world religions” paradigm in the West. Second, they are caused by the problematic way in which Confucianism—and Chinese religions in general—has been studied and represented by questions which are based on a Judeo-Christian framework that cannot capture the complexity of Chinese religious life. Finally, confusion arises from the often contradictory development of Confucianism in today's China.

Keywords:   Confucianism, world religion, Chinese religions, Judeo-Christian religion, modern China

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