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Latter Han Religious Mass Movements And The Early Daoist Church

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Chapter Summary

Defining the supreme gods of the religious mass movements of the Latter Han era is a very difficult task. Information about their religious beliefs and practices is scarce and certainly biased, at least to some extent. It is commonly assumed that the supreme god of the early Daoist church was called "Lord Lao" or, alternatively, "newly emerged Lord Lao" and "Most High Lord Lao". According to scarce information provided by official sources, ritual healing was one of the few characteristics common to the two major Latter Han mass movements: Yellow Turbans and Zhang Jue. Latter Han religious mass movements should be approached within their historical and sociopolitical context, i.e., the decline of central authority and the resulting compensations - more or less adequate - in the form of new bonds of local and regional solidarity.

Keywords: early Daoist church; Latter Han era; religious mass movements; ritual healing; supreme gods; Yellow Turbans; Zhang Jue



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