Dual belief in Heaven and spirits

The metaphysical foundation of Confucian morality

Authored by: Kwang-Kuo Hwang

Routledge Handbook of Religions in Asia

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415635035
eBook ISBN: 9781315758534
Adobe ISBN: 9781317636465


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Max Müller (1823–1900), one of the founders of the discipline of comparative religion, listed eight “great and original religions” including Confucianism and Daoism in his preface for the Sacred Books of the East Series (Max Müller, 1876). Cornells P. Tiele (1830–1920), another pioneer in the field, first invented the notion of “world religions” and elaborated their distinction from “national religions” in his monograph Outline of the History of Religion to the Spread of Universal Religions (Tiele, 1877). The former denoted “religions of the world” or “universalistic religions” to be cross national and ethnical, while the latter are confined to certain ethnic groups or geographical regions. For Tiele, there were only three world religions: Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam; Confucianism was excluded from his list of world religions.

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