To Live as Long as Heaven and Earth: A Translation and Study of Ge Hong's Traditions of Divine Transcendents

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Overview

In late classical and early medieval China, ascetics strove to become transcendents—deathless beings with supernormal powers. Practitioners developed dietetic, alchemical, meditative, gymnastic, sexual, and medicinal disciplines (some of which are still practiced today) to perfect themselves and thus transcend death. Narratives of their achievements circulated widely. Ge Hong (283-343 c.e.) collected and preserved many of their stories in his Traditions of Divine Transcendents, affording us a window onto this extraordinary response to human mortality.

Robert Ford Campany's groundbreaking and carefully researched text offers the first complete, critical translation and commentary for this important Chinese religious work, at the same time establishing a method for reconstructing lost texts from medieval China. Clear, exacting, and annotated, the translation comprises over a hundred lively, engaging narratives of individuals deemed to have fought death and won. Additionally, To Live as Long as Heaven and Earth systematically introduces the Chinese quest for transcendence, illuminating a poorly understood tradition that was an important source of Daoist religion and a major social, cultural, and religious phenomenon in its own right.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520230347
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 4/8/2002
  • Series: Daoist Classics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 633
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Ford Campany is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at
Indiana University, Bloomington. He is coeditor of the Journal of Chinese Religions and author of Strange Writing: Anomaly Accounts in Early Medieval China (1996).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments

PART ONE: TRADITIONS OF DIVINE TRANSCENDENTS AND ITS CONTEXT
Opening
Ge Hong and the Writing of Traditions of Divine Transcendents
The Nature of the Religion Reflected in Ge Hong's Works
Text-Critical Matters

PART TWO: A CRITICAL, ANNOTATED TRANSLATION AND COMMENTARY
Group A: Earliest-Attested Hagiographies
Group A: Earliest-Attested Fragments
Group B: Early-Attested Hagiographies
Group B: Early-Attested Fragments
Group C: Later-Attested Hagiographies

PART THREE: TEXT-CRITICAL NOTES
On the Source Tests and the Temporal Differentiation of Passages
Group A: Sources of Earliest-Attested Hagiographies
Group A: Sources of Earliest-Attested Fragments
Group B: Sources of Early-Attested Hagiographies
Group B: Sources of Early-Attested Fragments
Group C: Sources of Later-Attested Hagiographies
Items Attributed to Shenxian zhuan Excluded from This Translation

Bibliography

Index

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