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Making TranscendentsAscetics and Social Memory in Early Medieval China$
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Robert Ford Campany

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833336

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833336.001.0001

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Secret Arts, Manifest Wonders

Secret Arts, Manifest Wonders

(p.88) Chapter 4 Secret Arts, Manifest Wonders
Making Transcendents

Robert Ford Campany

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses the culture of esotericism in the early Chinese culture. The history of secrecy in China was evident in the following: the “allegorical” and other understandings of the Book of Odes as veiled speech, the notion that Confucius hid his teachings in indirect sayings and allegorical chronicles, requiring interpretations that were not at all obvious, and the role of deception and secrecy in rhetorical and military strategy and the like. Books in general during this period were rare, treasured commodities, in many cases not available at all to private readers but rather locked up inside royal libraries. Moreover, they were held in secret for fear of their dangerous effects on readers.

Keywords:   esotericism, Book of Odes, Confucius, military strategy, royal libraries, early Chinese culture

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