Daoists, Doctors and Deviants in Early Medieval China

By CCHH bloggers, on 5 July 2013

Author: Michael Stanley-Baker 徐源

Medicine and Religion were not discrete categories in early medieval China, as many religious sects practised a broad range of therapeutic skills in addition to funerary ritual, salvational rites and cultivation regimes designed to produce Transcendents (xianren 仙人), divinised humans with paranormal powers.  This video clip by Centre associate Michael Stanley-Baker was originally produced for the History of Medicine in Motion workshop hosted jointly by UCL and the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine. It describes a range of early Chinese therapeutic practices, and the central role of Qi 氣 as a unifying concept across these various traditions, and it contrasts some core practices used by Doctors and Daoists that can be found in early sources.

Science and Religion in China

By CCHH bloggers, on 4 July 2013

Author: Michael Stanley-Baker 徐源

The encounter of Western sciences with religion and with traditional Chinese worldviews has a long history in Chinese studies, or Sinology.  Jesuit missionaries  in the 16th and 17th centuries utilised European astronomy, mathematics and cartography in their attempts to convince the Chinese Imperial court of the superiority of Christianity. In the 20th century, Joseph Needham identified the indigenous philosophy of Daoism as the intellectual fount of natural inquiry in China, although in doing so, he also excluded many of the more religious elements of Daoism. This video clip by Centre associate Michael Stanley-Baker describes new avenues in the historiography of Chinese science and religion, and presents one example from his fieldwork that demonstrates how the discourse of science is being used to legitimise Daoism as a viable counterpart in Chinese visions of modernity. This video was originally prepared for a panel on Science and Religion in the Association for Asian Studies, 2011.