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9 A Modern Ruist Religious Vision of a Global Unity: Kang Youwei’s Utopian Vision and Its Humanistic Religious Refraction in European Sinology

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Chapter Summary

Kang Youwei was an unusual Ruist scholar and statesman, advocating an alternative interpretation of Ruist traditions referred to as the New Text tradition, and standing with the Guangxu Emperor in 1898 at the head of a major attempt to reform the Qing 清 Empire. This chapter explores something that has never become a religious community actually lived out somewhere within Chinese cultural settings, but was a prophetic vision of a Ruist religious humanism described only in a posthumously published work by one of the most influential heterodox Ruist intellectuals and Chinese political figures at the turn of the twentieth century. Kang Youwei's Ruist religious interests promoted during the first years of the Republic of China have been situated by historians and other scholars within the context of his Ruist reformist political agenda, but his later utopian religious vision has rarely been connected with any form of Ruist religious tradition.

Keywords: Chinese traditions; Guangxu Emperor; Kang Youwei; political agenda; Ruist religious tradition; spiritual humanism; utopian religious vision



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