Chinese religious culture: a research guide.
Maintained by Barend ter Haar, University of Oxford. This website is maintained for teaching purposes and is only a starting point, rather than a final say on any subfield that is covered. I am presently carrying out a large overhaul (7-2-2013).
General research guides
The primary resource for all work on Chinese history is:
Wilkinson, Endymion; Chinese History : a Manual, Revised and
Enlarged (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000) (references
below are to the 2000 edition). In the meantime a new version has just come out, Chinese History: A New Manual (sixth edition, 2022). This mammoth work is well-organized and
full of information, although the overwhelming wealth of information makes
the bûk hard to use for beginning students of Chinese history. Its coverage
of religious culture is not strong, but important references can still
be found in Chapter 29 "Myth and Religion" in particular.
Finding Internet resources
The Internet has a whole range of different kinds
of information on different levels of complexity and quality available,
from bibliographies and translated texts to photographs. The problem is,
as so often, in sifting good and useful sites from mediocre or even
bad ones. The following two resources contain good selections from a scholarly
point of view. I will attempt to include really good resources in this
survey at the various relevant locations, but one should also at least
consult the Internet Guide to Chinese Studies as well, although it is no longer updated.
is the section on religion and philosophy of the Internet Guide to Chinese
Studies, which brings a large amount of references to websites on Chinese
religious culture, esp. on Buddhist, Daoist and Christian traditions)
is the section on bibliographies of the Internet Guide to Chinese Studies,
which brings together a number of substantial bibliographies of varying
quality on Chinese religious culture and other topics)
Doing bibliography: finding
books and articles:
There are many
ways in which to find books and articles on a particular subject. Annotated
bibliographies will provide more background information, but raw bibliographies
provide far more titles. Book reviews can be useful for providing a further
point of view on the title in question, especially longer reviews in specialist
journals. Finally, plundering the footnotes and bibliographies of
books and articles that one finds is an efficient method, but has important
drawbacks: one is restricted by the assumptions (which will differ
from one's own) and the diligence (or lack thereof) of the author of this
work, the author(s) may have different language capabilities, the
bibliographical work may be out of date, etc. Keep in mind that the field
of Chinese religious studies is also well-represented in Europe. Even though
French and German publications may be harder to get (and for many to read
as well), they are often extremely valuable.
in the following raw bibliographies is arranged according to topics
with fairly small subdivisions. Since no further topical indices are provided,
the user should use his or her own fantasy in figuring out where articles
and books relevant to his questions may have been placed.
G. Thompson comp., Chinese Religions in Western Languages; A Comprehensive
and Classified Bibliography of Publications in English, French, and German
through 1980 (The Association for Chinese Studies, Tucson, 1985).
- Laurence G. Thompson comp., Gary Seaman ed., Chinese Religions: Publications in Western Languages 1981 through 1990(Los Angeles: Ethnographics Press, Center for Visual Anthropology; The
Association for Chinese Studies, Tucson, 1993)
- Laurence G. Thompson
comp., Gary Seaman ed., Chinese Religions: Publications in Western Languages
1991 - 1995 (The Association for Chinese Studies, Tucson, 1998)
- Laurence G. Thompson, Gary Seaman and Song Zhifang comp.; Gary Seaman ed., Chinese religions : publications in Western languages : volume 4 : 1996 - 2000 (Ann Arbor, MI. : Association for Asian Studies, 2002)
- All volumes are divided into three parts, Bibliography, Chinese religion
exclusive of Buddhism, Chinese Buddhism. They are organized in topics,
with an index on authors. These works do not only include primary
research in the strict sense, but also a wealth of works with more ethnographic
descriptions and old works that are excluded from most scholarly bibliographies
(especially in the first volume). From the third volume onwards, they also include book
reviews, although coverage is not complete.
of Western Language Publications on Chinese Popular Religion (1995-present)"(maintained
by Philip Clart (clart[at]uni-leipzig.de) and Soo Khin
Wah). This is an excellent research tool that grows better with every year.
For those with access to the online Bibliography
of Asian Studies, please keep in mind that this
wonderful tool is by no means complete in its coverage of the secondary
literature. Furthermore, the BAS only covers modern scholarly
publications, whereas the Thompson and Seaman series is much broader in
its coverage. NB I HAVE REMOVED THE ORIGINAL LINK HERE, SINCE EACH LIBRARY WILL HAVE ITS OWN SET-UP FOR ACCESSING THIS ONLINE TOOL.
Revue bibliographique de Sinologie (Nouvelle série) This
was the best alternative resource for finding secondary literature in Western
languages, as well as Chinese and (some) Japanese. More info below. The new series appeard from 1983 until 2006 (covering up to 2005).
Barend ter Haar, "Towards
a bibliography of works and passages on religious life in mainland China
in the twentieth century (Republican China [before 1949] and the PRC)".
This site is still under construction, but ultimately aims to provide references
not only to specific works on contemporary religious culture in China,
but also to specific passages on this topic in works that are not otherwise
concerned with religious culture.
Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong, Taiwanese Culture, Taiwanese Society:
A Critical Review of Social Science Research Done on Taiwan (University
Press America, Lanham, 1994). This work contains a substantial bibliography
of mainly American social science research (esp. anthropology and
ethnology) on Taiwan, including religious culture. It also provides a good,
albeit slightly emotional, critical overview of analytical trends
Lin Meirong [ed.]
minjian xinyang yanjiu shumu, zengdingban (Taibei: Zhongyang yanjiuyuan minzuxue
yanjiusuo, 1997) This remarkable piece of work
covers Chinese, Japanese and Western scholarship on all aspects of religious
culture in Taiwan from the beginning of this century until 1996.
It even indexes bookreviews (pp. 31-38).
Wang Leijun Zhongguo dalu zongjiao
wenzhang suoyin . (Taibei: Dungchu chubanshe, 1995) Two vols. [Z7757.C6 C48 REF]
This bibliography also reflects the predominant orientation of mainland
scholarship on mainstream (canonical: Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity, Islam,
minorities) religious culture, with rather little on so-called popular
religion (minjian zongjiao, minjian xinyang, fengsu xiguan).
Coverage is from October 1949 until the end of 1992. Interestingly, the
book was published on Taiwan.
Chûgoku shisô, shuûkyô, bunka kankei rombun mokuroku; Taibei: Mingwen shuju, 1981)
[Z3106.C548 REF] This little-noted resource provides an exhaustive
index to all books and article in Japanese on all aspects of Chinese religious
culture published until the late 1970s. This includes a wealth of material
published in often obscure pre-war journals, of great importance because
of its rare factual information on pre-war religious culture in the regions
then occupied by the Japanese. More up-to-date information can be found
in the bibliographical issues of the Shigaku zasshi.
Tôyôgaku bunken ruimoku 1963-1993 (Kyôtodaigaku jimbun kagaku kenkyûsho [ed.]; While the book version has been discontinued, it was succeeded by an excellent website, at http://ruimoku.zinbun.kyoto-u.ac.jp/ruimoku7/. It is the most inclusive bibliography
of Japanese and to a lesser extent Chinese and Western secondary research on all aspects of Chinese culture, including religious culture.
Annotated bibliographical surveys
The great advantage
of annotated bibliographies, whether in bookform or articles (often so-called
state of the art articles), is that one is provided with background information
(such as judgements on strengths and weaknesses), as well as a larger scholarly
context within which a book or articles fits.
William H. Nienhauser, Jr. ed., Indiana
Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature (Indiana University Press.,
Bloomington, 1986) Vol. 1. Consists of a set of bibliographical essays
on different literary genres and an encyclopedia. Amongst others excellent
bibliographical essays on "Buddhist literature" (pp. 1-12) by Jan Yün-hua
and two essays on "Taoist Literature", "Part I: Through the T'ang Dynasty"
by Stephen Bokenkamp (pp. 138-152) and ""Part II: Five Dynasties to the
Ming" by Judith Magee Boltz (pp.152-174). The encyclopedic part is only
useful for a limited number of religious works, but very helpful on more
general literary works containing information on religion. The essays as
well as each lemma in the encyclopedia are provided with basic bibliographic
references. Name, title and subject indexes.
William H. Nienhauser, Jr. ed., Indiana
Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature (Indiana University Press.,
Bloomington, 1998; reprinted Taipei: SMC Publishing Inc., 1999) Vol. 2.
Consists of additional entries for the encyclopedic part and bibliographical
supplements to the first volume, such as a long entry on Precious Scrolls
(baojuan). It also contains an extensive list of errata and corrigenda
to Vol. 1 (pp.505-516). For a detailed bookreview of Vol. 2 with a lengthy
discussion of the errata and corrigenda due to this volume see China
Review International 7:1 (2000) pp. 170-194 (by Daniel Bryant).
Daniel L. Overmyer ed., "Chinese Religions:
The State of the Field," Part I., Journal of Asian Studies 54:1
(1995) pp.124-160 and Part II. Journal of Asian Studies 54:2 (1995)
pp. 314-395. Quite exhaustive state of the field articles on Western research
concerning the different dimensions of Chinese religious culture
by the specialists in the respective subfields.
Yu, David C. comp., Guide to
Chinese Religion (Boston: Hall, 1985) [Z7757.C6 Y8 REF] and Religion
in Postwar China : a Critical Analysis and Annotated Bibliography
Greenwood, 1994) [Z7757.C6 Y83 1994 REF] These two works contain a wealth
of bibliographical references with brief notes, mostly English language
materials and a number of Chinese studies. Despite the title of the second
work, coverage extends to traditional China as well.
Seidel, "Chronicle of Taoist Studies in the West 1950-1990",
d'Extrême Asie 5 (1989-1990) 223-347. Not just another
bibliographical article, but a reasoned survey of studies on Daoism since
the publication of Henri Maspero's posthumous work in 1950 by Paul Demiéville.
Includes a very useful discussion of the historical sources on Daoism,
such as the Daoist canon, Dunhuang manuscripts, epigraphy and material
collected by fieldworkers. Detailed evaluative discussions (223-309) and
separate bibliography organized by author (309-347).
Urs App in: Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie 7 (1993-1994)
Finding book reviews
Apart from checking through the relevant journals,
a number of book reviews can also be found through the following bibliographies:
Journals with good bookreview sections
Lin Mei-jung [ed.] Taiwan minjian xinyang
yanjiu shumu, zengdingban (Taibei: Zhongyang yanjiuyuan minzuxue yanjiusuo, 1997) [Z7751.L557 1991 REF]l. See comments
Laurence G. Thompson comp., Gary Seaman
Chinese Religions: Publications in Western Languages 1991
- 1995 (The Association for Chinese Studies, Tucson, 1999). See
The following selective list of journals includes
only those with frequent and substantial reviews on religious topics. For
more information on the specialized journals on Chinese religious culture,
see the relevant section below.
Cahiers d'Extreme Asie This journal
may not publish many reviews, but when it does they are substantial.
China Review International (1994-present) This journal has
rapidly established itself as the main resource for substantial reviews
on books concerning all aspects of traditional and modern China. Of all
American journals it also has the best coverage of European publications.
Journal of Asian Studies This journal provides short reviews
of a large number of books, including those on religious topics. The booksellers'
advertisements in its Annual Meeting catalogue also provide useful information
on what new books are coming out.
Journal of Chinese ReligionsThis
is the main specialized journal for more substantial reviews of new books
on all aspects of Chinese religious culture.
Monumenta Serica This journal stems from a missionary background
and is published by a house (Steyler Verlag) which also published much
on Christianity in China. The journal publishes many bookreviews on both
American and European (including German) scholarship, often by European
Revue bibliographique de Sinologie
(Nouvelle série). This was
probably the only Western language bibliographical resource that covers
much of the best secondary literature in all sinologically relevant
languages. It provides short introductions to titles (not real bookreviews),
as well as longer bibliographical articles by specialists in the field.
Also good for keeping track of European research and often (not exclusively)
written by European scholars. Written in French and English. Contains indexes
of authors of works treated and - very useful, albeit hardly complete -
an index (in French) on terms and personal names. Sadly discontinued in 2006.
T'oung Pao In addition to its articles, this journal publishes
many bookreviews, covering the main French scholarship as well.
Here I have included
general survey histories and introductions to the different subfields of
Chinese religious culture, as well as good research guides (i.e. introductions
to the tools needed to study Chinese religious culture, such as dictionaries,
indices etc.) to larger parts of the fields. Bibliographies are treated
above, dictionaries and enclopedias are discussed further below. Please
keep in mind that the following subdivisions are only used because they
represent conventional categories for subdividing the overall field of
Chinese religious culture, corresponding most closely to the categories
that the user of this resource will have in his or head, but not
to real divisions in the Chinese religious culture as it was actually lived
by most people under most circumstances.
Mary Pat Fisher, Living Religions
(London: Calmann & King, 1997) (German: Religionen Heute [Köln:
Künemann, 1999]) Typical handbook for the northern American market
of religious studies departments, which focus on the recognized "world
religions". Includes readable sections on Buddhism and Daoism, but
most importantly also discusses most other large and scriptural religious
traditions. Good general reference, with glossary and index, but no bibliography.
Ninian Smart, Religions of Asia (Englewood
Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1993) General introduction to religious traditions
in Asia. More detailed than the Fisher handbook.
introductions to Chinese religious culture
There are many
introductions to Chinese religious culture from different perspectives.
Here I will list a number of the more recent and/or influential of them.
I discuss Clart, Poceski and Yao/Zhao in one bookreview, "A World in Miniature: Three Recent Introductions to Chinese Religions", Journal of Chinese Religions 38 (2010), pp. 59-65.
- Philip Clart, Die Religionen Chinas (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Rupprecht Verlag, 2009). Smart introduction if you know German.
Goossaert, Vincent, Dans les
temples de la Chine: Histoire des cultes, Vie des communautés
(Paris: Albin Michel, 2000. really good on lived religious culture.)
- Goossaert, Vincent and David Palmer, The religious question in modern China
(Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 2012). Fundamental discussions of the way religion as a category came into being and how religious culture in a broader sense was dealt with during the twentieth century. Essential reading.
Chinese religions: a cultural perspective (Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall,
- Nadeau, Randall, The Wiley-Blackwell companion to Chinese religions (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). A
very convenient collection of introductory articles with l up-to-date bibliographies.
Overmyer, Daniel L., Religions
of China : the world as a living system (San Francisco : Harper &
Paper, Jordan,The Spirits are Drunk:
Comparative Approaches to Chinese Religion (Albany: SUNY Press, 1995).
Especially strong for taking the Chinese sacrificial culture as its point
of departure and for its attention to shamanic (possession, ecstasy) culture. Full of useful ideas on religious practice.
Mario Poceski, Introducing Chinese Religions (Routledge: London, 2009)
Yang, C.K. (Yang Ch'ing-k'un), Religion in Chinese Society : a
Study of Contemporary Social Functions of Religion and some of their
Historical Factors (Berkeley: California University Press, 1961).[BL1802.Y3
1961] This is still the benchmark study on Chinese religious culture from
a functionalist perspective, and the main paradigm with which to disagree.
- Xinzhong Yao & Yanxia Zhao, Chinese Religion: A Contextual Approach (London: Continuum, 2010).
The following series of handbooks pretty much covers all aspects of Chinese relgious culture, except for the Ming and first part of the Qing. I have reviewed the Song-Liao-Jin-Yuan volumes in: Journal of Sung-Yuan Studies 46 (2016) 259-281.
- Lagerwey, John and Kalinowski, Marc eds., Early Chinese religion Shang through Han (1250 BC - 220 AD) (two volumes) (Leiden: Brill, 2009)
- Lagerwey, John and Lü Pengzhi eds., ̈Early Chinese religion The period of division (220 - 589 AD) (two volumes)(Leiden: Brill, 2010)
- JOhn Lagerwey and Pierre Marsone eds., Modern Chinese religion I : Song-Liao-Jin-Yuan (960-1368 AD) (two volumes) (Leiden: Brill, 2015).
- Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely, John Lagerwey ed., Modern Chinese religion II : 1850-2015 (two volumes) (Leiden: Brill, 2016)
on Chinese religious culture
Here I include general dictionaries and encylopedias
to mythology (there is no really good basic resource here), symbolism in
religious culture (same problem), deities, and so forth. Often, the researcher
is best advised simply to consult the secondary
literature (especially Thompson
and Seaman's three bibliographies) or even the primary sources directly.
Keep in mind that "mythology" in the Chinese
case is always - and not correctly to my simple mind - taken to mean pre-Han
(remnants of) mythology (as reflected in older or newer sources, but ultimately
presumably going back to the pre-Han period. The classical Western studies
are by Henri Maspero and Bernhard Karlgren (see Birrell
Not to be used:
For those able to read classical Chinese, the various works in the series Zhongguo
minjian xinyang ziliao huibian (Taibei: Taiwan xuesheng shuju, 1989) often provide useful introductory
information, even when not necessarily historically reliable. They are
certainly to be preferred over Werner's Dictionary
of Chinese Mythology.
Birrell, Anne Chinese Mythology : an Introduction
(Baltimore: John Hopkins Univ. Pr., 1993) [BL1825.B57 1993] Excellent introduction
with translations to the classical mythology of China.
J.J.M. de Groot (C.G. Chavannes trsl.), Les
fêtes annuellement célébrées à Émoui
(Amoy) (Paris: Musée Guimet, 1886; San Francisco: Chinese Materials
Center, 1977). This work and the following one by a great Dutch scholar
and predecessor is partly based on specific fieldwork by someone who should
be called the first professional ethnographer of Chinese culture. He was
a former Roman Catholic believer and at the time of writing his Les
fêtes an interpretor in the service of the Dutch colonial government
in the Dutch Indies (which since became modern Indonesia). He was by no
means a missionary. He had strong views on the Chinese state and was much
more sympathetic to local Chinese culture. These two works are a mine of
information on local cults in southern Fujian, demonology, Daoist ritual
and possession cults, customs surrounding death, etc. They should be used
with considerable care, however, because of their methodological weaknesses
and because since the last decades good research on some subtopics has
J.J.M. de Groot, The Religious System of China (six
vols.) (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1892-1910). See above
Münke, Wolfgang Die klassische chinesische Mythologie
(Stuttgart: Ernst Klett Verlag, 1976) [BL1802.M83 REF] Serious, but
due to its language little known, piece of scholarly work on classical
Chinese mythology. A new and expanded version was recently published, Mythologie
der chinesischen Antike: mit Ausblick auf spätere Entwicklungen
(Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1998).
Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China (Cambridge UP,
Cambridge, 1954- present). For a survey of the titles which have already
come out, see http://www.soas.ac.uk/Needham/SCC
(at the Needham Homepage). This is not merely an encyclopedic resource
on virtually all aspects of "science" and "technology" in Chinese history,
but also of a whole range of religious phenomena connected to these fields.
It is a well-indexed work with excellent bibliographical sections. Therefore
always keep this resource in mind when doing work on China's religious
culture as well.
Werner, E. T. C. A Dictionary of Chinese
Mythology (Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh, 1932 and New York: The Julian
Press, 1961 reprint).[ BL1801.W35 REF] Outrageously out-of-date,
yet still one of the few Western language resources on mythology (legends)
from the non-classical period. Not to be relied upon for serious scholarship,
but a handy reference for people in a hurry.
Doré, Henri. Researches sur les superstitions chinoises (Chang-Hai: Misson Catholique
1911-1913). This work is a plagiarized version of Chinese research
by a fellow Jesuit priest, with horrible westernized
illustrations. Instead use the works in Zhongguo
minjian xinyang ziliao huibian, which includes Doré's original
Here I only include substantial introductions to the history, cosmology, ritual and social dimensions of Daoist traditions. This is not a bibliographical survey (for which see
Anna Seidel (1990)
and the resources in the section Finding
information on Daoist traditions.)
John Lagerwey, Taoist Ritual in Chinese Society and History (New
York: MacMillan, 1987). Somehow not very useful as a general reference
work on Daoist ritual, but contains much valuable information and points
John Lagerwey, Le continent des esprits: la Chine dans le mirroir
du taoïsme (Bruxelles: La Renaissance du Livre, 1991) (English
and German translations exist) My favourite introduction to Daoist
Isabelle Robinet, Histoire du taoïsme des origines au XIV siècle
(Paris: Les Éditions du CERF, 1991) (English and German translations
- Daoist Studies, maintained in Northern America and full of useful news and academic information, including Livia Kohn's "Research Guide"" under the button "Information".
- Livia Kohn ed., Daoism handbook (Leiden: Brill, 2000). Divided into chapters and bibliographies
treating the state of the field and important issues both relevant subjects and periods by the most relevant experts on these topics.
Could be stronger for the last two imperial dynasties, but this also reflects the limited scholarship on the last six or so centuries.
Index, not terribly well-edited.
- The Center for Daoist Studies website provides a wealth of information and further links, separating out more academic locations and the rest.It duplicates and exceeds much of the info on my own website.
Fabrizio Pregadio,The Golden Elixer. This website is especially
useful for bibliographical information on Daoist texts and links to concordances
and indexes (see below),
but also provides information of a more general nature. Partially replaced by the The Enclopedia of Taoism, edited by FP as well.
- Fabrizio Pregadio ed., The Enclopedia of Taoism (London: Routledge, 2008). Without a doubt the standard resource on Daoism. Basically
an encyclopedia of the most important terms, phenomena, titles, figures, places and so forth in Daoist history.
Each topical chapter is prefaced by a more general essay. Each entry has a bibliography. Detailed table of contents. index, overall bibloiography.
In an Appendix (1311-1331) FP treats "Reference works for Taoist Studies", Western, Chinese and Japanese.
Introductions to Buddhist
(still looking for good up-to-date introductions on Chinese Buddhist
Research guides on
Peter Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices
Cambridge University Press, 1990 and many reprintings). Especially strong
on explaining all aspects of Buddhist doctrine and practice (including
devotional practice, ethics, ritual, meditation etc.). Also contains historical
chapters, which are by necessity superficial (but I do not know anything
better and more up to date for the Chinese case). Good bibliography and
Louis Frédéric, Les
dieux du bouddhisme: guide iconographique (Paris: Flammarion,
1992) Really much more than "merely" a guide to Buddhist iconography, since
he also treats ritual and cultic objects, mudras, as well as divine (Buddhist)
figures, and discusses their religious meaning and significance. He takes
Sanskrit, Tantric and Japanese iconography as his point of departure,
but the discussions are certainly also highly relevant for understanding
Chinese Buddhist traditions. Also I know of no better overall surveys.
It is organized according to topic, with rich illustrations, bibliography
(not complete), and an index.
- Jonathan A. Silk, Oskar von Hinüber, Vincent Eltschinger, and Lucia Dolce eds., Brill's encyclopedia of Buddhism. Volume I, Literature and languages (Leiden: Brill, 2015). Quoted from the publisher (and not necessarily all wrong): "'Brill's Encyclopedia of Buddhism' aims to [provide] a comprehensive work [on all aspects of Buddhism], presented in two phases: a series of six thematic volumes including an index volume, addressing issues of global and regional importance, to be followed by an ever-expanding online resource providing access both to synthetic and comprehensive treatments and to more individuated details on persons, places, texts, doctrinal matters, and so on. 0Illustrated with maps and photographs, and supplemented with extensive online resources, the print version of the thematic encyclopedia will present the latest research on the main aspects of the Buddhist traditions in original essays written by the world's foremost scholars. The encyclopedia aims at a balanced and even-handed view of Buddhist traditions, presenting the most reliable accounts of well-known issues and filling gaps in heretofore-neglected areas. In doing so, it emphasizes that Buddhism is simultaneously constituted by a plurality of regional traditions and a far-reaching phenomenon spanning almost all of Asia, and more recently far beyond as well."
Guide to East Asian Buddhist Studies (Robert Buswell and William Bodiford)
Description: An excellent annotated bibliography listing collections of
Buddhist texts, catalogues, some works on methodology and history of Buddhist
studies, encyclopedias, dictionaries, bibliographies, concordances and
indexes. Strong on Japanese research aids. Annotations are rather sparse.
This resource is also helpful for Buddhologists outside the sinological
and japanological fields, for it provides much information on tools relevant
for the study of non-sinitic Buddhist traditions. Although last updated in 2005, it is still useful.
Buddhist Studies WWW Virtual
Library (T.M. Ciolek, Austrialian National University, Australia).
This is a huge site with links related to Buddhism and Buddhist studies,
in additiona to a list of links to further networked resources on religious
culture. It does not provide substantial annotations, nor does it provide
information on traditional reference works (unlike the UCLA
Dictionaries and encyclopedias: finding words and terms
Words and terms
can be found in dictionaries and encyclopedias, which certainly in the
Chinese case often overlap. The difference between dictionaries and encyclopedias
is often only relative, but in essence a dictionary provides meanings and
translations, whereas an encyclopedia also or largely provides information
and background. Because they are so similar, they are here included in
one and the same section.
A number of the following resources can now be found digitally, for instance through Buddhist glossaries.
Ciyi ·O©É [chief
ed.], Foguang dacidian (Gaoxiong: Fuoguang chubanshe, 1989) (8 vols., with one index vol.) [BL1403.M62y
REF] Quite a good encyclopedia that also includes "popular" Buddhist traditions
and is written in accessible modern Chinese. Also available online at Foguang dacidian 佛光大辭典.
Ding Fubao¤B ºÖ «O
,. Foxue dacidian (1921; many reprints). By now quite out of
date, but as a one volume dictionary still quite convenient for those unfamiliar
with the Japanese language.
Louis Frédéric, Les dieux du bouddhisme: guide iconographique
(Paris: Flammarion, 1992). Excellent guide to Buddhist iconography. See
Hôbôgirin: Dictionnaire Encyclopédique du Bouddhisme
d'après les Sources Chinoises et Japonaises (Hobogirin ªkÄ_¸qªL;
Tokyo: Maison franco-japonaise, 1929-1937; Paris: Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1967-now [?])
[BL1403.H6 REF] Editors: L'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres,
Institut de France avec le Concours de L'Académie du Japon et de
la Maison Franco-Japonaise [publ.] (over the decades its most important
contributors were Paul Demiéville, Anna Seidel, Hubert Durt).
One of those remarkable products of French sinology, both because of the
high quality of the lengthy articles contained herein, and the speed with
which work has progressed (Vol. 7 was published in 1994). Nonetheless,
this is a standard resource that should always be consulted and constitutes
one of the many reasons why every student of Chinese religious culture
should know French.
(Tôkyô: Bukkyô daijiten hatsugyôsho, 1931-1936) Vol. 1-5 (original
dictionary); Vol. 6 Nenbyô (1963); Vol. 9 and
10 Tsukamoto Zenryû
Bukkyô daijiten : Hoi (1963) [BL1403.M62y
REF] This is the classical and still extremely useful Japanese encyclopedia
as well as dictionary for Buddhist doctrine, biography etc. Will
often provide more information and doctrinal references than the
easier to use Foguang dacidian. A zip-file with a list of
all the index entries is available from the IRIZ website), together with the lists for several other important tools for research into Buddhitm. You do need Japanese for this crucial dictionary.
Nakamura Hajime , Bukkyô
(Tôkyô: Tôkyô hoseki kabushiki kaisha, 1975) Vols.
1-3. Unlike Mochizuki's mammoth work, this is "merely" an excellent dictionary.
The index can be downloaded as a zip- file from Charles Müller's homepage).
Yves Raguin, Terminologie raisonnée du bouddhisme chinois: Caractères
chinois, transcription, traduction.(Taibei: Institut Ricci 1985). Essentially a vocabulary list. (not seen for this bibliography)
Soothill, and L.Hodous, A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms : with
Sanskrit and English equivalents and a Sanskrit-Pali index (London:
Kegan Paul, 1937; reprinted T'ai-pei: Ch'eng Wen Publ., 1976) [BQ130.S65]
Still a convenient Chinese-English dictionary, even though hopelessly out-of-date.
Website of Charles Müller including his online
Dictionary of East Asian Buddhist Terms. This dictionary is a collective effort (but most of
the work to date has been done by Charles Muller) to which each user can
contribute. It can be downloaded to one's own computer and is quite easy
to use. It does not replace existing Chinese or Japanese dictionaries,
but comes a long way towards replacing Soothill
and Hodous (1937). The website also contains many other useful links for a field that is increasingly well endowed with online resources.
Although recently a number of
good research aids have appeared, we still do not possess a real dictionary
of Daoist terms as we do have several ones for the field of Buddhist traditions
and several of its subfields.
(Beijing: Huaxia chubanshe, 1994, 1995 reprint). This dictionary incorporates
the Daoism scholarship of the entire PRC, but as usual ignores most of
what happens elsewhere. It can therefore not be considered authoritative
in scholarly terms. Nonetheless, it is extremely rich in contents,
with over an estimated 12000 entries and covering many aspects of doctrine
and ritual practice (including alchemy). No illustrations. The material
is in abbreviated characters, arranged in stroke order, without an index
according to any alternative systems. It quotes extensively from the primary
sources, but does not refer to secondary research. Its large number of
entries makes it the closest thing to a dictionary, but to be used in combination
with other dictionaries, rather than by itself.
Hirakawa shuppansha, 1994, 1996 second printing) This is quite a useful
dictionary, largely based on Japanese scholarship and organized exclusively
according to the Japanese pronunciation. It has 1141 entries, the index
(pp. 727-785) covers over 4500 names, titles and terms. The Japanese is
not overly difficult. Each entry contains very concise bibliographical
references (some to Western literature), a transcription and an English
translation (by Terry Kleeman), pictures, some crossreferences (for which
the index is more useful). Appendixes include a description of contemporary
Daoist ritual practices (pp. 629-681) and a table of systems for referring
to the Daoist canon (but not yet incorporating the mainland reprint of
1988) (pp.683-734). Its contents is often conventional, but original in
also including contemporary practice, non-Han Daoist traditions, local
cults and the like.Nonetheless, this is still an encyclopedia and not a
dictionary that can be of some use in translating and reading Daoist texts.
Julian F. Pas in corporation with Man
Kam Leung, Historical Dictionary of Taoism (Lanham: Scarecrow Press,
1998). Largely a one man job, really, and largely based on the Western
secondary literature. It covers all kinds of names and terms from Daoist
culture broadly defined, gives very readable discussions, some literature,
but no Chinese characters and contains no overall index. It contains an
extensive bibliography (pp. 377-412). Especially useful for the completely
non-initiated, not so very useful for those inside the field. This work
functions much like a normal introduction to "philosophical" and "religious"
Daoist culture, and is not really a dictionary that can be of some use
in translating and reading Daoist texts.
(Works on mythology are included
above in the section Finding
information on Chinese religious culture)
(Tôkyô: Hirakawa shuppansha, 1994, 1996 second printing). More than merely
a dictionary of Daoist religious culture. See above.
Eberhard, Wolfram Lexikon chinesischer Symbole : Geheime Sinnbilder
in Kunst und Literatur, Leben und Denken der Chinesen (Köln: Eugen
Diederichs Verlag, 1983) (translated as A Dictionary of Chinese Symbols:
Hidden Symbols in Chinese Life and Thought. (1988 and reprints)
[German edition: DS721.E326 1983 REF] At least this author knew China as
a person and a scholar, although I think that the book is still quite insufficient
as a dictionary on Chinese symbols.
Williams, C. A. S. Encyclopedia of Chinese Symbolism and Art Motives
: An Alphabetical Compendium of Legends and Beliefs as Reflected in the
Manners and Customs of the Chinese throughout History (New York: The
Julian Press, 1960 reprint) [GR335.W53 1961 REF] Even though undoubtedly
out-of-date, this work provides a lot of information also on pictorial
Zhongguo fengsu cidian
(Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe, 1990). Typical PRC product which seems
to treat folklore as something largely non-Han. Still, it also includes
Han and especially a lot of of historical information, naturally without
recourse to non-Chinese research. Over 12000 entries, arranged according
to topic (festivals, marriage, birth, birthdays, medicine, burial and mourning,
social exchange and communication, etc. etc.), with a table of contents
and an important overall index to the entries (arranged in stroke order).
Quotes extensively from Chinese language sources.
Indices and catalogues: finding
Paris (Pelliot) and elsewhere
Dunhuang Project interactive web database "Welcome to The International
Dunhuang Project web database. This page already gives access to
information on over 26,000 manuscripts and printed documents from Central
Asia in the British Library collection (it will expand to include manuscripts
from other collections in the future). It also includes high quality colour
images of manuscript fragments, with more images being added every week"
This will be defintive access to all materials from Dunhuang and other
Silk Road sites in London and elsewhere (see the website for a list).
- Soymié, Michel [et.al., red.]
des Manuscrits Chinois de Touen-Houang : Fonds Pelliot Chinois de la Bibliothèque
Nationale (Paris: Éditions de la Fondation Singer-Polignac)
Vol. 1 : n° 2001-2500 (1970), Vol. 3 : n° 3001-3500 (1983), Vol.
4 : n° 3501-4000 (1991), Vol. 5 : n° 4001-6040 (2 vols.)
(1995). This will be the definitive catalogue of the
material in the Pelliot collection and replaces earlier catalogues.
- Dunhuang wenxian series are being published for the collections in Russia (Saint Petersburg), Paris (Pelliot), Gansu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Beijing. They all have Dunhuang wenxian in their names and often also provide materials on Turfan.
are here preliminarily defined as texts in Buddhist canonical compilations
(canons), of which a number are extant. The main compilations are given
below. Sadly, most bibliographical aids focus on the Taishô-canon.
Do note that there are many works from Dunhuang which are not included
in any canonical compilation or of which only one version is included.
Furthermore, Buddhist monasteries in particular (especially in Japan) still
preserve rare editions or even completely unknown works, which may have
relevant textual variants or prefatorial material. Also, the later
reprints generally do not include printing colophons (the Zhonghua
dazang jing, mentioned below, does).
The texts themselves
Concordances and indices (to the canons and to electronic versions of the canons)
Taishô Shinshû Daizôkyô (the Taishô canon)
This is the standard compilation of (largely) Buddhist texts, mainly those
before the Song period and including some Dunhuang works and many manuscripts
works from Japanese monasteries. It takes the oldest extant, Korean canon
as its point of departure and provides a minimal philological apparatus
with alternative readings in other canonical compilations.
Jiaxing canon This compilation stems from the late Ming and
early periods. It is still important for Song and later works.
Manji Zokuzôkyô (ZZK)
This compilation is still important for Song and later works. Its editions
are not always the same as in the
Jiaxing-canon, but this canonical
compilations is certainly more widely available and thus to be preferred
Zhonghua dazang jing
this useful Taiwanese reprint includes part of the Song-Yuan Qishan
as well as the complete Jiaxing
canon and the ZZK. (not to be confused
with a mainland reprint project with the same title)
See also the site with Electronic texts
from the Taishô-canon in Taiwan. This is
much more than merely a site with (links to other sites with) complete
Chinese texts, but also contains a wealth of bibliographical materials
on Buddhism as a doctrinal religious system and all kinds of interesting
hyperlinks. This site not only covers Chinese, but also Sanskrit/Pali
and Tibetan Buddhist traditions. It has completely linked up to other Buddhist
e-text-initiatives. The CBETA project can be used as an online concordance,
by inserting the chinese character one loooks for with the abbreviation CBETA into Google or another search machine.
Zen (Chan) texts and concordances or
indices to them have been made almost completely available electronically
through the IRIZ (International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism, located
in Kyôto) . They seem to have moved their homepage to http://iriz.hanazono.ac.jp/index.en.html.
Bibliographical works (to the different canons)
Charles Müller, Resources
for the Study of East Asian Language and Thought. This website provides
links to a wealth of serious scholarly initiatives in making Confucian,
Buddhist and Daoist classics available in electronic format, in
Studies in Central and East Asian Religions Little
known journal, until 1998 published in Copenhagen, then briefly by Brill (Leiden) and discontinued after 2001. Often contains critical bookreviews, especially on Buddhist
(inspired) religious culture. Issues from nr 1-9 can be found on: http://www.shin-ibs.edu/publications/scear/. They have been refounded as an e-journal http://journals.ed.ac.uk/ejecar (but the website only has an issue from 2013).
the Buddhist Taishô-canon. The author's own principal interest is
in Buddhist studies and the strength of this website is in that particular
field. Most of the time, resources on Daoist texts concern what is commonly
called Daoist "philosophical" texts.
Paul Demiéville, Hubert Durt and Anna Seidel comp. Hôbôgirin:
Répertoire du Canon Bouddhique Sino-Japonaise. Edition de Taishô
(Taishô Shinshû Daizôkyô) : Fascicule Annexe du Hôbôgirin:
Dictionnaire duBouddhisme d'après les Sources Chinoises et Japonaises
(Paris: Maisonneuve, 1978). Do note that this is only a -very convenient
- index to the Taishô-canon and provides no information on
the other Buddhist canonical compilations.
Tong Wei Ershier'zhong Dazangjing
(Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1997) (not yet seen: Wilkinson 2000: 578 gives
this as a handy tool to works in all major compilations of Buddhist canon
up top the Taishô-canon)
Taishô shinshû Daizôkyô sakuin , 1975-1988). This is a concordance for the different sections
of the Taishô-canon. However, in my experience it is not complete and
not the same in quality for each volume.
(still to be added, for the time being consult the very detailed UCLA
Although the Daoist canonical compilation or Daozang
is by no means the only source of Daoist works (whether philosophical or
religious), it certainly is the most important. Otherwise see the list of research guides above.
The texts themselves
- Schipper, Kristofer and Franciscus Verellen comp. and eds., The Taoist canon: a historical companion to the Daozang
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004). The end-product of an old European project from the late 1970s and early 1980s.
As a result not always up-to-date, but an extremely convenient tool for accessing work sin the Daoist canon.
Summarizes basic ontents of all texts included in the Daoist canon and its late Ming sequel.
- Website: download site Daoist canon and other texts (rather slow).
- Daming daozang jing (1444-1445) and Xu daozang jing
(1607). Three versions of this canonical compilation are extant
on the mainland, as well as two incomplete versions in Japan (including
one in the Imperial Palace library), and others in France (Paris) and Russia.
There are two modern editions in different printings, namely: a. the 1921-1923
Hanfenlou Zhengtong daozang
threadbound edition (based on the copy preserved in the White Cloud Belvedere
in Beijing), reprinted on Taiwan and most widespread in the 1977 bound
version from Yiwen Publishers; b. the 1988 Daozang bound edition
(Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin: Wenwu, Shanghai shudian and Guji, 1988)
which is collated from different versions extant on the mainland. See Boltz
(1993) and her further bibliography. A major problem is that these
two modern editions use different pagination.
Daozang tiyao (He Longxiang ed., Peng Wenqin e.a. comp.; most available edition is the Taibei: Xin wenfeng, 1986 reprint) This work is important for Ming and Qing Daoist works.
Zangwai daoshu This important
compilation reprints a wealth of materials from the late imperial period,
such as ritual and doctrinal texts, as well as monastic rules, monastic
gazetteers, mountain gazetteers, and so forth.
Indices (to the canon and to electronic versions of the canon)
More indices exist to individual works within the
Daoist canon, which can be found in the usual research guides, including
(1998) and the various references given below.
Bibliographical works (to different collective Daoist compilations)
- Louis Komjathy, Title index to Daoist collections (Cambridge, MA : Three Pines Press, 2002). A simple index to most relevant published collections of Daoist texts.
Charles Müller, Resources
for the Study of East Asian Language and Thought. Further comments
Fabrizio Pregadio, The Golden Elixer . This is one of the best websites for
finding on-line materials on Daoist religious culture in China, especially concerning inner alchemy traditions. It includes
elaborate links to substantial articles by serious scholars, indices to
electronically encoded texts, indices to the Daozang and similar works,
bibliographies, etc.Also see his
earlier and less up-to-date paper predecessor. "Chinese Alchemy. An Annotated
Bibliography of Works in Western Languages", Monumenta Serica, 44
Schipper, Kristofer M. Concordance du Tao-Tsang : Titres des ouvrages
(Publications de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient,
102; Paris: École Française d'Extrême-Orient, 1975)
Please note that there are presently two current
ways of referring to works in the Daozang, namely by the Schipper or by
the Harvard-Yenching (HY) system. The Schipper index provides more
access to alternative forms of single titles. Both the Schipper and the
HY index are only indexes and provide no bibliographical or other information. An improved version can also be found at Pregadio's website.
Annotated guides (to the use of Daoist compilations)
Judith Magee Boltz, "Notes on Modern Editions
of the Taoist Canon", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African
Studies LVI:1 (1993) 87-95. In this useful survey, Boltz discusses
the 1988 mainland edition of the Daoist canon, including a list of duplicated
passages and lacunae.
Fabrizio Pregadio, The Golden Elixer, containing "The
Taoist Canon: A Guide to Studies and Reference Works". A bibliographic
essay on the study of the Taoist Canon: general works, history of the Canon,
modern reprints, catalogues, indexes, concordances, other collections of
Taoist texts, and bibliographies. He provides very systematic factual information
and detailed bibliographical references.
Boltz, Judith M., A Survey of Taoist Literature : Tenth to Seventeenth
Centuries (Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of
California, 1987) [Z7835.T2 B64 1987 REF] The first resource for studying
Daoist traditions from the tenth to the seventeenth centuries, with extensive
annotations on the contents of the different works. See also the bookreview
by John Lagerwey and Isabelle Robinet in Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie
(1988) 227-230. The author has provided a long list of corrigenda in the
1995 reprint of the Survey.
Ren Jiyu [ed.] Daozang
tiyao (Beijing: Zhongguo
shehui kexue chubanshe, 1991) [BL1900.A1 T268 1991 REF] This is a
convenient first introduction to all works in the Daoist canon with brief
annotations, based entirely on Chinese research, however, without incorporating
the very relevant Western and Japanese scholarship. See also the remarks
by Judith M. Boltz, "Notes on the Daozang tiyao", China Review
International 1:2 (1994) 1-33.
Precious Scrolls and other religious scriptures
Many Precious Scrolls and other types of non-official religious scriptures have recently been reprinted on the mainland or in Taiwan. The two principal mainland series are:
Most reprints, however, stem from Taiwan:
Baojuan (Taiyuan: Shanxi renmin, 1994). It was taken
out of circulation in the PRC soon after its appearance, but not after
it had been sold in a number of Western countries and Japan. Overmyer (1999)
lists a number of libraries which have this series.
- Zhongguo zongjiao lishi wenxian jicheng: Minjian baojuan (Hefei: Huangshan shushe, 2005)
- Wang Jianchuan and Lin Wanchuan eds., Ming Qing minjian zongjiao jingjuan wenxian(Taibei: Xinwenfeng chubangongsi, 1999)
- Wang Jianchuan c.s. , Ming Qing minjian jingjuan wenxian xubian (Taipei: Xinwenfeng chuban gongsi, 2006)
- Wang Jianchuan, Li Shiwei and others eds., Minjian sicang: Taiwan zongjiao ziliao huibian: minjian xinyang, minjian wenhua (Luzhou: Boyang wenhua shiye youxian gongsi, 2009)
- Wang Jianchuan, Song Jun, Fan Chunwu, Zhongguo yuyan jiujieshu huibian (Taibei: Xin wen feng chu ban gu fen you xian gong si, 2010)
This list is already out of date, since numerous new series have appeared. A longe rlist can be found in http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199920082/obo-9780199920082-0151.xml. Entitle " Heterodox Sects in Premodern China" I discuss the main secondary literature as well as source publications as they have appeared as of 2017.
Relevant catalogues are:
Che Xilun [ed.],
Zhongguo baojuan zongmu
(Taibei: Zhongyang yanjiuyuan wenzhesuo choubeichu, 1998). Essentially replaces previous mainland
bibliographies of Precious Scrolls, with 1579 titles. The catalogue is
arranged according to title in the order ot the Bopomofo (Guoyu zhuyin
zimu) system. At the end of the book follow a masterlist of all the
firsst characters in this order (293-302) and the first characters arranged
according to the number of strokes (303-315). Also gives appendixes with
alternative lists of Scrolls (some of them merely confiscated heretical
texts) in pre-1949 works and all Scrolls quoted in the Qing archives, as
well as indices to alternative names of Scrolls (316-352) and the institutions
with holdings. According to other Chinese researchers on Precious Scrolls,
it is not necessarily complete and not necessarily reliable on the Chinese
Daniel Overmyer, Precious Volumes: An Introduction to Chinese Sectarian
Scriptures from the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Cambridge,
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999). This book is not a catalogue, but
does provide much introductory information on the genre, its contents,
language and socio/religious context. Undoubtedly the single most useful
work on the earlier Precious Scrolls and their religious contents in any
Sawada Mizuho, Zôhôken no kenkyû
(Tôkyô: Kokusho kankôkai, 1975). The classical Japanese
introduction to the genre, with a huge bibliography of works which at that
time were still largely in private collections. Please note that because
he also gives summaries of the texts, this work is not replaced by newer
works. Importantly, most of these works are now in public collections. A large part of his colleciton is now available online: http://www.wul.waseda.ac.jp/kotenseki/furyobunko/index.html, which also includes other materials pertaining to Chinese religious culture.
Source books, anthologies, translations
Lopez, Donald S., Religions of China in Practice (Princeton: Princeton
Univ. Press, 1996) Contains a broad range of original texts in translation,
with a good introduction to the book as a whole, as well introductions
bibliographies to the individual selections.
Stephen R. Bokenkamp, Early Daoist Scriptures (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1997) Excellent translations with introductions
and annotations to a number of crucial early Daoist texts.
Livia Kohn, The Taoist Experience: An Anthology (Albany: State University
of New York, 1993) Convenient anthology of translations by the editor and
others from a broad variety of texts commonly labelled as Daoist.
BDK English Tripitaka This is a huge translation project of selected
texts from the Buddhist canon, including many works relevant to the Chinese
tradition. It is a Japanese project (of the Bukkyô Dendô Kyôkai) carried
out within the typically Japanese context of scholarly believers, but it
provides students of Chinese religious culture with convenient access
to a broad textual base. Should be used with other translations when
available, and preferably with the original Chinese texts.
Lopez, Donald S. Buddhism in Practice (Princeton:
Princeton Univ. Press, 1995) [BQ1012.B83 1995] Contains a broad range of
original texts in translation, with a good introduction to the book as
a whole, as well introductions cum bibliographies to the individual
Journals on Chinese religious
Cahiers d'Extreme Asie This
journal was founded by Anna Seidel, who was also its driving force until
her untimely death. After the first numbers, which usually covered a broader
range of themes, the tendency has been to invite guest editors and devote
each issue to specific themes. Because it has been publishing thematic
issues, it is not so good for keeping abreast with general trends, although
these issues themselves are extremely substantial. Good for Chinese as
well as Japanese and Korean religious culture.
Journal of Chinese Religions
(1974-present). Journal with wide range of articles, bookreviews and news
on Chinese religious culture, from Daoism and Buddhism to temple cults
or new religious groups (sects). Its quality has varied over the years
(but is more than excellent at this moment).
Sanjiao wenxian: Materiaux pour l'etude
de la religion chinoise. Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes/Research
School CNWS. Paris/Leiden. No.1 (1997)- present. [BL1000.S3y]. This is a new journal which comes from the Beijing temples
project initiated by K.Schipper (Paris/Leiden).
Studies in Central and East Asian Religions Little
known journal, until 1998 published in Copenhagen, then briefly by Brill (Leiden) and discontinued after 2001. Often contains critical bookreviews, especially on Buddhist
(inspired) religious culture. Issues from nr 1-9 can be found on: http://www.shin-ibs.edu/publications/scear/. They have been refounded as an e-journal http://journals.ed.ac.uk/ejecar (but the website only has an issue from 2013). Its coverage extended from Japan, China and Korea to
the Central Asia cultures (esp. Tibetan). Has published quite a nice range of articles, critical book reviews and news items of all sorts, concerning
all aspects of Buddhism, Daoism and temple cults.
Taoist Resources (1989-1997) has
since fused with the Journal
of Chinese Religions. Contains excellent contributions on Taoist
religious culture, but was not distributed as widely as it deserved.
(1952?-present) This is the most important Japanese journal which publishes
articles, bookreviews and institutional news on (mainly) Chinese religious
culture. Because Buddhist culture is also covered in a wealth of other
journals, the overall focus is on other traditions.
Shijie zongjiao yanjiu Major mainland journal for the study of Chinese
and world religious cultures, but more than than not out of touch with Western language
- Unlike many Internetresources, this
bibliography aims to incorporate both traditional style printed works and
on-line resources. I will not provide a complete bibliography of anything
that is available, but attempt to survey those works and websites that
directly assist in the business of doing research on Chinese religious
culture. In the same way, the user of this resource is advised to
obtain complete bibliographical information (especially the full collective
authorship of larger works) from the works concerned. My information here
will be restricted to the run-of-the-mill information needed to find the
book, journal or website in question.
Religious culture in China is taken
by me to refer to those activities (including writing) in sinitic (or sinitic
influenced) culture that give meaning to birth, disease, life and death,
or that provide explanations and solutions to all kinds of problems by
invoking an extra-human referent or dimension. It does not include early
"Daoist" works such as the
Daodejing or the Zhuangzi,
except when they have been incorporated in a larger religious context.
But principles only go that far, and the user of this guide will find that
most websites included in the present bibliography that provide information
on Daoist (inspired) religious culture also (and often even predominantly)
include these two works.
Terms such as Buddhist, Daoist and general
are intended here only as categories for organizing material, but should
not to be taken to correspond to religious categories as lived by (most)
Chinese in the pre-modern period.
All entries and evaluations in this
bibliography are my own, based on my own more or less frequent use and
consultation of these works and internet sites in research and teaching.
Hence, this guide ultimately reflects my own research and teaching interests,
including my likings and dislikings of certain websites, books and articles,
and most of all my personal research opinions. I do not intend to build
a resource that is merely the largest common denominator of the field and
as a result my judgements may of course be unbalanced or simply wrong.
Transcriptions of Chinese characters
are in pinyin, but note that the Leiden library and many other
libraries still predominantly use Wade-Giles. Long vowels in Japanese have
generally been indicated by adding a second vowel, rather than using diacretics
(which become Chinese characters under BIG 5)
largely collective works have been recorded
under their title, unless the work is better known under the name of its
editor in chief.
All URL are checked upon incorporation
into this bibliography, but mistakes do happen and URLs are also often
dropped or changed without notice. If people using this resource find any
mistakes in this respect, please inform me as soon as possible.