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date: 04 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This account of Chinese and Greek religion focuses on three topics that are all of significant interest to both subjects, and that lend themselves to comparison. First is cosmogony and cosmology. Chinese thought is characterized by systematic theories of cosmology from very early times, and gives rise to several important concepts. Some stand in strong contrast to early Greek attempts to identify the ultimate constituents of matter. A second comparable is relations and distinctions between humans, animals and gods. For example, several Greek and Chinese philosophical texts formulated 'scales of nature' that placed humans within a spectrum of animate and conscious beings. A third comparison addresses the scope and nature of mantic practices (divination). Several points of methodology are also introduced, including the need to focus on both intellectual and social institutions, the methodology of comparison, and specific reasons for a comparison of topics in Chinese and Greek religion.

Keywords: Chinese religion, comparison, cosmogony, cosmology, divination, mantic practices, intellectual, social, institutions

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