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Timothy Brook, Praying for Power: Buddhism and the Formation of Gentry Society in Late-Ming China (1993) [41]

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Chapter Summary

Professor Timothy Brook's outstanding study of the social and cultural context and function of gentry patronage of Buddhism in the 15th and 16th century is not only an important work in its own right: it also serves to complement picture of Ming Buddhism and its spectacular revival in the 15th century. Praying for Power shows a rich and at times surprising panorama of another essential aspect of the complex: the various ways in which the larger Buddhist temples and monasteries were supported by the gentry on township and county level. In spite of the restriction that Prof. Brook has imposed upon the subject matter, the book contains a wealth of observations and insights of a much wider import that make it required reading for any student of Chinese religion and of the social and intellectual history of late imperial times.

Keywords: gentry patronage; late imperial times; Ming Buddhism; Praying for Power; Timothy Brook



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