The shaolin monastery history religion and the chinese martial arts

Katz on Shahar, 'The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts'

the shaolin monastery history religion and the chinese martial arts

The Shaolin Temple - Part 1: History

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Meir Shahar. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, During the past two decades, Meir Shahar has undertaken path-breaking research on the links between Buddhism, literature, and society. Subsequently, Shahar's first book, Crazy Ji: Chinese Religion and Popular Literature , made a major contribution to our understanding of Chinese religious cultures by combining the methodologies of literary studies and social history to produce an account that confirms earlier scholarship about the multivocal nature of China's religious traditions while also challenging readers to reconsider the history of Chinese Buddhism. Based on an interdisciplinary approach combining historical research and fieldwork shaped in large part by Marc Bloch's idea of conducting historical investigations from the present to the past , Shahar convincingly demonstrates that there was a very real need for monks to learn martial arts in order to protect themselves and monastic resources, particularly in the case of sacred sites located in strategically important areas. This book is also noteworthy for its judicious use of a wide range of sources, including works of fiction and drama but especially epigraphic texts stele and funerary inscriptions , including some inscriptions preserved at the Shaolin Monastery. The Shaolin Monastery is divided into three main sections.

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Ranging from historical and ethnographic documents to a wide variety of literary sources, it weaves them all into a compelling narrative. In this fashion, Shahar is uniquely able to bring together social, historical, and mythological elements, providing a demythologized account of martial Chinese traditions such as Shaolin Boxing. This is sinology at its best. Meir Shahar documents with meticulous accuracy and mellifluous prose the fighting monks of Shaolin monastery in China, who appear first in the Tang dynasty — and continue to the present. Scholars of Buddhism and Chinese history will learn much from the author's scrupulous analysis of the historical record—particularly the texts on stone steles at the monastery—that documents the monastery's traditions of fighting. I found the book a powerful and compelling read. Shahar has mastered a prodigious amount of secondary scholarship, pored over a wealth of primary documents, and brought a critical rigor to the study of these materials that is unprecedented in any language.

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The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, And The Chinese Martial Arts

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Genevre D. says:

    Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

  2. Pennegetu says:

    The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts – UH Press

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