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A Journey Through Ancient China

Religion in Chinese History

Evening Course

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0270A
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The Hanging Monastery, the only Chinese temple that encompasses Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism

China has more than 3,000 years of recorded history, but misconceptions abound at every stage. This series takes you on a thematic tour of four important topics in ancient Chinese history: religion, ethnicity, law, and eunuchs. Justin M. Jacobs, a professor of Chinese history at American University, gives you a nuanced overview based on the latest scholarship and illustrated with copious slides.  

Jacobs is the author of The Compensations of Plunder: How China Lost Its Treasures. He recently completed a 24-episode series on UNESCO World Heritage Sites for The Great Courses and is currently conducting research on the voyages of Captain Cook in the Pacific.

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Religion in Chinese History

China has a rich and diverse religious tradition that dates back to the 13th century B.C., when oracle bones—part of the shoulder bone of an ox or a piece of tortoise shell—were used for divination. Jacobs examines many types of supernatural worship, from deified ancestors to river gods to Taoist and Buddhist deities. He also looks at Taoist efforts to achieve immortality, the evolution of conceptions of the soul, and changing views of the netherworld.

Additional Sessions of the Journey through Ancient China Series

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