publication . Article . 2021

Circle of Fear in Early China

Michael Nylan; Trenton Wilson;
Open Access
  • Published: 01 Dec 2021 Journal: Religions, volume 12, page 26 (eissn: 2077-1444, Copyright policy)
  • Publisher: MDPI AG
Abstract
Montesquieu wrote that “China is a despotic state whose principle is fear”. And indeed, in the early modern context in China, fear and despotism, on the one hand, were opposed to <i>ziyou</i> 自由 (“freedom”), on the other. These constructs created a discursive space in which theorists of the nation-state felt the need to articulate the complex relations binding despotism to fear. By contrast, during the early empires in China a different set of relations was imagined, wherein salutary <i>fear</i> was aligned against both despotism and freedom and, crucially, with according others a proper sense of dignity. For by the arguments of remote antiquity, “submission to ...
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free text keywords: ritual theories, fear, classical China, autocratic rule, freedom, Dignity, media_common.quotation_subject, media_common, History, Law, Superstition, China, Autocracy, Notice, lcsh:Religions. Mythology. Rationalism, lcsh:BL1-2790
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