{Rejuvenating China: Hsu Ti-shan's (1893-1941) quest for a religious formula}

Submitted by James Miller on Wed, 05/23/2012 - 12:29
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Title{Rejuvenating China: Hsu Ti-shan's (1893-1941) quest for a religious formula}
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsChang, P. -hui
PublisherThe University of Wisconsin - Madison
Place PublishedUnited States – Wisconsin
Thesis Typephd
Keywords0305, 0318, 0332, Asian literature, Buddhism, Christianity, History, Language, literature and linguistics, Philosophy, Religion, religion and theology, SOCIAL sciences, Taoism

This dissertation treats the life and works of a modern Chinese scholar-writer Hsu Ti-shan. It attempts to account for his search for religious remedies for salvaging the China in disintegration, as well as his proposal for forging the conscience of a new China. Chapter One begins with a biographical sketch of Hsu. Sources are drawn from his writings, personal correspondence, memories from family members and friends, and scholarship to compose a picture of the unique personality of a man-of-letters noted as much for his creative writing as his research on religion. Chapter Two first examines the religious climate, particularly the anti-religious movement, in China of the twenties to accentuate Hsu's own pro-religious position. This is followed by an analysis of his theories on literature and stories with religious motifs with a view to testing the validity of his claim that the betterment of society could be achieved through the support of religion. Chapter Three first investigates Hsu's alleged conversion to Christianity as well as the two popular Buddhist concepts that have exerted influence on Hsu's writing, particularly his essays. The chapter concludes by pointing to Hsu's deviation from the orthodox Christian and Buddhist doctrines, arguing that he was actually at heart a Confucian. Chapter Four follows Hsu's lifelong search for the religious model that would best suit the particular conditions of China at the turn of the century. It takes note of Hsu's efforts at examining the premises of Confucianism and the compassionate world of the bodhisattva. Hsu finally turned to Taoism, proposing to consolidate the principles of the Chinese religion with those of Christianity to produce a synthetic model for China. Chapter Five argues that though Hsu's quest for a religious formula to rescue China from disintegration failed due to contradictions, he has made significant contributions to modern Chinese literature in at least two areas. First, as a pioneer champion for women's causes, he is remembered for his feminist writing. Second, he has the distinction of being the first modern Chinese writer to have ever written fictional work in the mode of repentance (as opposed to penitence) literature.