Russell Kirkland - Person And Culture In The Taoist Tradition

Russell Kirkland - Person And Culture In The Taoist Tradition

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Specialists in the study of Chinese religion have spilled much ink over the issue of what "Taoism" is. To some, it is simply a convenient rubric for discussing common concepts in Laotzu, Chuang-tzu, and related literature. In H. G. Creel's more restrictive usage, "true Taoism" is represented only by those "pure" elements of speculative philosophy found in Chuang-tzu alone.i To some more recent scholars, such as Michel Strickmann, the term "Taoism" properly refers to the socially definable religious tradition that had common roots in the second-century movement established by Chang Tao-ling.ii In the last decade or two, as an increasing number of Western scholars have devoted themselves to Taoist research, several have also turned their attention to the definitional question of what, precisely, "Taoism" is.iii I shall forego the temptation to catalogue the results here, but what seems to emerge from the deliberations of many specialists is a general consensus that "Taoism" is (or at least once was) a single, if highly diverse, cultural system.