2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

The Religious Transformation of Confucianism in Late Ming and Early Ch’ing Thought

Fan-shen Wang

Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica

In this article, I demonstrate that in the Late Ming and Early Ch’ing, under the challenge of popular religions and Christianity, some Confucian scholars attempted to remold Confucian teachings into a religious system. Wang Ch’i-yan, Wen Hsiang-feng, and Hs San-li were three representative figures of this movement. However, this phenomenon has not been studied before. Wang Ch’i-yan was well studied by Ch’en Shou-i in the 1930s, but Wen Hsiang-feng and Hs San-li, are virtually unknown to modern scholars. In this essay, I discuss how Hs, a Neo-Confucianist, gradually moved away from his original beliefs, and intentionally followed Buddhist and Taoist practices to reinterpret Confucian classics as religious canons. I also discuss the historical implications of Hs’s efforts.


Key Words: Hs San-li, religious transformation of Confucianism