Taiwan Lecture on Chinese Studies: Prof. Lee Ming-huei

15/12/2017 Ondřej Klimeš Events, News, Prague

Distinguished Research Fellow Professor Lee Ming-huei from the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy of Academia Sinica will be the speaker at the 3rd Taiwan Lecture on Chinese Studies entitled “Confucian Humanism and Religion”.

Time: Friday 15 December, 2017

Venue: Premises of our partner the International Sinological Center of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation at the Charles University in Prague, room 118, Celetna 20, Prague 1


Many researchers of Confucianism argue that it is a kind of “humanism” and thus speak of “Confucian humanism.” Modern Western humanism originated in resistance against the dominant God-centered Christian culture in the medieval period and hence rivaled or even opposed religion in the very beginning. In ancient China, Confucianism in the pre-Qin period stemmed from the primitive religion in the Shang Dynasty, and then was gradually humanized, but still retained some religiousness. Contemporary New Confucians also speak of “Confucian humanism,” but are not at one on its characteristics. For Xu Fuguan 徐復觀, Confucianism is strictly a kind of humanism in the Western sense, and its religiousness is nothing but a historical leftover . But for Tang Junyi 唐君毅and Mou Zongsan 牟宗三, Confucianism, even after the process of humanization, still retained a kind of religiousness as its essence; in other words, religion and humanism are inseparable in Confucianism as the two sides of the same coin and maintain an eternal tension with each other. This is a kind of humanism which can coexist with religion, what Mou calls “humanistic religion” or “moral religion.” This kind of religion is a religion without the structure of religion and pertains to what Thomas Luckmann calls “invisible religion.” According to Luckmann, one of the characteristics of modern society lies in the privatization of religions; that is to say, the church-oriented “visible religion” is gradually replaced by the “invisible religion” which is based on individual religiosity. Inspired by Christian history, Kang Youwei康有為 and Jiang Qing 蔣慶 have advocated reviving institutional Confucianism and promoting it as the national religion in modern China. But according to Luckmann’s thesis, this is neither desirable nor attainable.

More information on Prof. Lee’s research.

More on the Taiwan Lecture on Chinese Studies Series and our cooperation with the National Central Library Taiwan and the Center for Chinese Studies.