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Chinese Religions and Contemporary China

Tuesday, 3 October, 2017 - 13:00 to Tuesday, 12 December, 2017 - 15:30
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Open Courses

The course is open for undergraduate students, graduate students and anyone with an interest in Chinese culture. The course introduces the aspects of traditional Chinese religions and analyses its functions then and now. The lecture begins with the introduction of basic religious concepts in Chinese thinking, such as 'God' and 'Heaven'. Then Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese Buddhism and the encounter of Chinese religions with Christianity are studied from a historical perspective. The lecture has a double purpose. Firstly, it aims to discuss the nature of Chinese religions, its influence on the daily life of the Chinese and its support to face contemporary problems such as ecological crises and cultural differences in a modern multicultural world. Secondly, the evolution of Chinese religions serves as a model for the interactive relationship between East and West.

Content of the Open Lectures

  • 03/10: Introduction: the nature of Chinese religions
  • 10/10: The ancient ideas of 'God' and 'Heaven'
  • 17/10: The debates on the religious status of Confucianism
  • 24/10: The rise of Taoism as a religion
  • 31/10: The complementary relationship between Confucianism and Taoism
  • 07/11: The characteristics and the main schools of Chinese Buddhism
  • 14/11: The meeting of Chinese religions and Christianity: From the Tang dynasty to the Qing dynasty
  • 21/11: The situation of religion in contemporary Chinese society
  • 28/11:Traditional religions and the daily life of modern Chinese people
  • 05/12: Traditional religions, cultural identity and cultural dialogue