Ways of Heaven: An Introduction to Chinese Thought

Ways of Heaven: An Introduction to Chinese Thought

by Roel Sterckx


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A brilliant history of ancient China's masters of philosophy — and how they help us understand China today

In Ways of Heaven, leading China scholar Roel Sterckx offers an engrossing introduction to classical China's world of ideas. Drawing on evocative examples from philosophical texts, literature, and everyday life over centuries of Chinese history, Sterckx introduces major thinkers and traditions, illuminates key concepts like the dao, qi, yin, and yang, and examines questions of leadership, social order, death, nature, and more. He also reveals how these ideas shape contemporary China, from table manners at a traditional banquet, to the Chinese obsession with education and family, to the rhetoric of political leaders and the nation's grand strategy.

Essential reading for students, travelers, businesspeople, and anyone curious about this rising global power, Ways of Heaven shows that to comprehend China today we must learn to think Chinese.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541618442
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 09/17/2019
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 1,145,514
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Roel Sterckx is Joseph Needham Professor of Chinese History, Science, and Civilization at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Clare College. The author of several books on early China, he lives in Cambridge, England.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Timeline xiii

Principle Figures xv

Chapter 1 China in Time and Space 1

Chapter 2 The Way (Dao) and Its Ways 67

Chapter 3 The Art of Government 95

Chapter 4 The Individual and the Collective 157

Chapter 5 Behaving Ritually 221

Chapter 6 Spirits and Ancestors 267

Chapter 7 The World of Nature 329

Chapter 8 Work and Wealth 387

Chapter 9 Food for Thought 417

Notes and Further Reading 435

Primary Source Texts 451

Pinyin Pronunciation Guide 459

Map and Figure Credits 463

Acknowledgements 465

Index 467

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