Difference between revisions of "Daoist Studies in France"
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- 1 French Sinology and the Beginning of Daoist Studies
- 2 Henri Maspero's Daoist Study (1883-1945)
- 3 Daoist Studies of Isabelle Robinet and Anna Seidel (1938-1991)
- 4 Daoist Studies of John Lagerwey and Other Young Scholars
French Sinology and the Beginning of Daoist Studies
After Columbus discovered the New World, the first westerners to China were the Portuguese missioners in 1514. The Spanish missioners published in Spanish Stories of the Great Han Empire in 1585, introducing Chinese history and culture as well as its language. It was also published in French and spread all over Europe. From then on Europe began its studies of Sinology. From the late 17th century on Sinology of Europe and America was dominated by French Sinologists, for the French missioners of the Society of Jesus started their study of Sinology. From 1552 to 1773 there were 42 missioners of the Society of Jesus came to China for their missionary work. The information they offered to the Society of Jesus indicated that they took a purely negative attitude towards Daoism. Liu Ying the missioner mentioned in Religious History of Chinese Philosophers (1656 -1737) that there were three types of Daoists. The first was engaged properly in refining elixirs while remaining celibate, for they thought they could become immortals by taking elixirs. They were like the fanatics known as the Society of the Rose Cross in Europe. The second would get married like other people. The third was the ritual masters who were often invited to pray for blessing by doing ritual offerings and often played small tricks like the artists on the streets. The author believed that like the evil sources made of countless streams with the unbearable stink, both Daoism and Buddhism submerged the vast empire with something more harmful than what Dayu once liberated China from. In Voltaire's Dictionary of Philosophy, there was one chapter named Questions and Answers on Chinese Doctrine, in which Laojun's Tradition refers to Daoism. In History of the Hun, Turkey, and other Tartar Nations, Joseph de Guignes, professor of Syrian, used Daoist as a special term, and claimed that Laozi was the only god in China in the Tang dynasty. It is generally thought that Chavannes (? --1919) is the founder of Sinology in France. Chavannes graduated from Advanced Normal School of Paris. He once worked at the French Legation in China. After he returned to France in 1893, he became professor of Chinese at the French Academy. In 1910, his essay Village Grandpa Spirit ( 社神 Sheshen ) in China was published, which was thought to be the first to study the ancient cults to offer sacrifices in China. Another of his essays Casting the Dragon Bamboo Slips ( 投龍簡 Tou Longjian ) was thought to have paved the way for the study of the Daoist rituals. Therefore he was regarded as the pioneer of Sinology in France and the founder of the academic research on Daoism in France.
Henri Maspero's Daoist Study (1883-1945)
Among the followers of Chavannes, Pelliot was known to the world for his robbing a large number of Dunhuang scriptures from China. Granet (1884-1941) was famous for his research on Chinese religions and the thoughts of ancient Chinese people, his works including Festivals and Ballads in Ancient China and Chinese Religions. Henri Maspero (1883-1945) was another follower of Chavannes'. After the French invasion of Vietnam the institution called the French Academy of the Far East was set up to study East Asia. In 1911 or so, the two incomplete copy of the Daoist Canon of the Ming dynasty obtained by the National Library of Paris helped a lot with Daoist studies in France. Henri Maspero was from a family of historians. In 1904 he completed his works on the financial history of Egypt. Since 1911 he had been professor of the French Academy of the Far East, staying in the Far East for 15 years. Since 1920 he had been professor of the French Academy (Paris), in charge of the "Lectures of Chinese Language and Literature" for over 20 years, which was started by his teacher Chavannes. In 1944, he became head of the Department of Literature of the French Academy. In that year, he was sent to a concentration camp because his son was one of the members of an organization opposing the Fascists. In 1945 he died at the concentration camp at the eve of the victory of World War II. Maspero had written a several works on Sinology with his broad views. Moreover he had never avoided giving answers to the questions on the Chinese history of Daoism after the end of the Han dynasty. His most famous work was his lecture in 1937 with the title Immortals of Daoism ---- Their Interaction with Gods. His lectures delivered in 1940 were also well known, which were named the Religious Belief and Daoism in the Six Dynasties in China and the Ancient Daoism and Techniques of Nourishing Life. The other manuscripts left by Maspero were edited and published by his student and colleague Demieville (1894 - 1979), which was given the title Posthumous Manuscripts on Religion and History in China (filling three volumes). The second volume with the title "Daoism" contained the manuscripts of Maspero's speeches and those written during the war. In the preface of this volume Demieville claimed that the three articles on Daoism of the first few centuries AD had never been published. It is a critical era because the general form of Daoism was shaped at the time. Henri Maspero was the first who tried to have the academic discussion on the history and documents of Daoism in this era and he was nearly the only master of it until the present. In 1971 the second volume was republished with another title Daoism and Chinese Religions. The British Encyclopedia views it as the best and most authoritative work on Daoism in the west.
Maspero regarded Daoism as one of the most wonderful religions in the world. In his article Laozi and Zhuangzi: Mysterious Experience of the Sage's Life Maspero thought Daoism was dedicated to creating a scientific idea of the world. He pointed out that philosophical Daoism and religious Daoism were not as different from each other as people had thought, for they came from the same origion of the old religion. He considered Daoism existing in the Six Dynasties as something at the turning point in the Daoist history of development and named the Daoism before and in that era as the "ancient Daoism". He thought that from the Tang to the modern time, Daoism had been in the course of the endless decline. It was because the Daoists lived in the Daoist temples, having lost their influence on the common people while the Daoists who stayed among the masses purely worshiped the Daoist rituals. He named the Daoism after the Tang that had adopted the magical skills and the rituals as the Popular Daoism or the Modern Popular Daoism so as to distinguish it from the ancient Daoism. Maspero began his research on Daoism with Daoist literature. He thought the ancient Daoism was a religious group with its tradition of transmitting the Perfect Book of the Great Grotto ( 《大洞真經》Dadong Zhenjing ),which was different from another one with its tradition of transmitting the Books of the Numinous Treasure ( 《靈寶經》Lingbao Jing ). The ancient Daoism led its believers to pursue longevity and immortality as well as individual salvation, and it had a series of Daoist arts of nourishing the body and spiritual essence in order to achieve immortality. It required its believers to accumulate merits and virtues so that they could be combined unconsciously with the Dao through conscious concentration. Thus they reached in a trance the mysterious realm of being integrated with the Dao. In this sense he thought there was not much difference between Daoism and the thought of Laozi and Zhuangzi. Even if Laozi and Zhuangzi were in a much earlier time than the Daoists in the Six Dynasties, there was successiveness in their theories and practice. In the preface to Daoism and Chinese Religions, Kaltenmark, another student of Maspero's, stated that Maspero's greatness lay in his understanding of such a profound religion as Daoism and his paving the way for a better understanding of it with his valuable questions. Translating Maspero's works into Japanese from French, Kawakatsu Yoshio, the famous Japanese scholar of Kyoto University, thought Maspero was master of both Europe and Asia and the only person who independently searched for the Daoist history and the inner system of Daoist arts. His remark is not overstated. Maspero's views of studying Daoism were succeeded by the younger generations of French researchers of Daoism, and still remained very influential until today. Demieville, another student of Maspero, was versatile, modest, and honest, engaged mainly in the research of Buddhism. Another two of Maspero's students continued his research on Daoism. Maxime Kaltenmark worked in the Sino-French Research Center in Beijing from 1949 to 1953, where he made comprehensive contact with Chinese culture and customs. In 1953 he published in Beijing the French version of the Biographies of Various Immortals Translated with Notes ( 《列仙傳譯注》Liexian Zhuan Yizhu ). The British Encyclopaedia commented that it was the French version of the earliest biographies that existed and its long explanations offered much knowledge of mythology. In 1957, he was employed as the tutor of the fifth group of the Advanced French Academy in Paris, delivering lectures on the Chinese history of Daoist ideology. In 1965 he published the French version of Laozi and Daoism in Paris, which was translated into English and German. The British Encyclopaedia claimed it was the excellent survey on Daoist philosophy and religious Daoism. The other works of Kaltenmark's include the Book of the Five Talismans of the Numinous Treasure ( 《靈寶五符經》Lingbao Wufu Jing ) and Thought in the Book on the Supreme Peace. Prof. R.A. Stein, another student of Maspero, once did his research work in China and Vietnam. In 1951 he became the professor of the Advanced French Academy, giving lectures on Comparative Studies of Religions in the Far East and the Mid Asia, and he did research on Daoism and Tibet. His book Political Development of Daoism in the Second Century deals with the rebellions of the Yellow Turbans in China and the Chinese followers of the Five Pecks of Rice Tradition. His research developed a new approach to Daoist research and broadened the views on it. In 1966 cooperating with a famous anthropologist, Stein set up the Information Center of History of Chinese Religions. The Department of Religious Studies of the Advanced French Academy became one of the most important institutions of stduying Daoism and Buddhism in Europe and America.
Daoist Studies of Kristofer M. Schipper (1934 - )
Schipper was a student of Kaltenmark and Stein. He was from Holland, studied in France since 1953, and began his study of Daoism since 1958. In 1962, he went to Taiwan as a researcher of French Academy of Far East, making on-the-spot investigations on Daoism. With the famous Daoists Zeng Ci, Chen Weng, and Chen Rongsheng of the Orthodox Oneness Tradition respected as his teachers, he studied for seven years the Daoist rituals and systems of the Pristine Subtlety Lineage of the Numinous Treasure ( 靈寶清微宗lingbao Qingwei Zong ) in the south of Taiwan. In 1970 he collected several secret manuals on Daoist rituals that were passed down from generation to generation in the Daoist families and the librettos that are quite popular among the masses. Since 1970 he became the professor of Advanced French Academy and set up the Daoist Research and Information Center in 1973. In 1975 he became chief secretary of the European Association of Research on China, and took charge of drawing up and editing the Index and Annotated Bibliography of the Daoist Canon ( 《道藏索引和提要》Daozang Suoyin He Tiyao ). Many experts of Daoism from France, Italy, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, and the United States were involved in making the index and verifying the authors and the contents of the scriptures, the dates of writing, and the lineage to which the scriptures belonged. In 1979, as one of the sponsors of the conference, he presided over the Third International Conference of Daoist Studies held in Zurich of Switzerland. Since 1981 he had visited the Mainland China for many times, investigating the history and the present situation of Daoism. In the early 1990s, he was invited as the professor of Leyden University in Holland, shuttling between Holland and France. He has made great contributions to the research of Daoism in the following aspects.
Firstly, K.M.Schipper compiled the following reference books for Daoist studies:
- Index of the Book of the Yellow Court ( 《黃庭經索引》Huangtingjing Suoyin )
- Index of the Inner Book of the Man Who Embraces Simplicity ( 《抱樸子內篇索引》Baopuzi Neipian Suoyin )
- Index of the Outer Chapters of the Man Who Embraces Simplicity ( 《抱樸子外篇索引》Baopuzi Waipian Suoyin )
- Index of the Seven Slips of a Cloudy Satchel ( 《雲笈七簽索引》Yunji Qiqian Suoyin )
- Concordance of the Daoist Canon ( 《道藏通檢》Daozang Tongjian )
Among the reference books mentioned above, the widely spreading Concordance of the Daoist Canon is an invaluable tool for conducting research on the Daoist Canon. If only you know one word of the title, you can recall its full name and where it is in the Daoist Canon. It was issued in Taiwan together with the new edition of the Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 《正統道藏》Zhengtong Daozang ). In 1996, Concordance of the Daoist Canon ----- Five Versions ( 《道藏索引----五種版本道藏通檢》Daozang Suoyin --- Wuzhong Banben Daozang Tongjian ), which was adapted by Chen Yaoting, was published by the Shanghai Bookstore as the reference book for the new edition of the Daoist Canon. It is thought that because of the appearance of the reference books edited by K.M.Schipper, there was an international upsurge of the Daoist studies in 1970s ~1980s.
Secondly, K.M. Schipper did a comprehensive research on Daoist rituals, to which he attaches importance in many aspects such as the contents, the forms, and the developments of them. In 1975, with the Complete Collection of Golden Register Rituals of Fen-deng and Juan-lian ( 《金籙分燈卷簾科儀全集》Jinlu Fendeng Juanlian Keyi Quanji ) in the British Museum as an original, he compared that collected in the Daoist Canon with the Daoist manuals collected by the Daoists Zengci and Chen Weng of Tainan and the Daoist Wang Longfei of Hujie. Thus he obtained a relatively complete copy of the Golden Register Rituals of Fen-deng and Juan-lian ( 《金籙分燈卷簾科儀》Jinlu Fengdeng Juanlian Keyi ). In his research he paid much attention to the actual situation of the rituals practiced by the contemporary Daoists. He took the Golden Register Ritual Offering for Peace and Exorcising Evils ( 金籙祈安禳災醮 Jinlu Qi’An Rangzai Jiao ) performed at the village Sucuo in Taiwan as an example. He depicted it in great detail, including the setting-up of the altar, the arrangement of the spirit tablets, the difference of the Daoists' duty who performed the ritual, and the procedure and the musical score of the ritual. Apart from what is mentioned above, Schipper published the following works:
- Vernacular and Classical Rituals in Daoism
- A Study of Buxu: Daoist Liturgical Hymn and Dance
- Scapegoat Rituals in China
Thirdly, he did research on the history and corporeality of Daoism. His first book the Inner Biography of Emperor Wu of the Han and the Legends in Daoism was published in 1956. The British Encyclopedia thought it was not only a study of the translation of the biographical stories by the Daoist believers but also that of the background of the Daoist rituals of the Maoshan Sect. His later research on Daoist history was often related to the history of Daoist rituals.
- Duty and Function of the Inspector of Merits ( 都功Dugong )
- Daoist Ordination Ranks ( 法位 Fawei ) in the Dunhuang Manuscripts
- Daoist Ritual and Local Cults of the Tang Dynasty
- Zhao Yizhen and the Daoist Lineage of the Pristine Subtlety
Fourthly, Schipper did some comprehensive research on Daoism as well. In 1982, he published the Daoist Body in Paris, which deals comprehensively with Daoism, and California University published its English version in 1993. In the preface of its English version, the author states that Daoism is living even if it is still in the unfavorable situation today. Daoism in part exists in the everyday life of the Chinese people while there is not a clear distinction between their religious life and worldly life. In order to know more about it, we must elaborate in detail what composes Daoism, which is involved in its material and social factors. That is, we should not only dwell on the Daoist skills of nourishing life and attaining immortality, but also the rituals, the myths, and the mysterious magical skills of Daoism. Some of these might not be in concord with one another, but they are closely related to one another in Daoism. The author thinks that Daoism is a social system of the temples with the community and the local culture of the common people. In this respect, Daoism reflects that most of the common people are not uneducated, ignorant, or superstitious as we have been taught to believe. The society of the common people lies deeply rooted in the tradition of their belief and cults. Such a tradition is strong and prosperous enough for Daoism to survive the stiffest persecution. The Daoism of the masses is still reserving its famous mountains, its festivals, and its altars for offering sacrifices. First, the treasure of Daoist literature ---- the Daoist Canon is the best example. It might be concluded that the popular religion in China is a sort of balance between the official culture and orthodox ideology. The Daoist Body reflects properly the breadth of vision of the contemporary French researchers as well as the research methods characteristic of many of the best French Sinologists Moreover his book contains both the findings of his research on Daoist literature and the materials of his investigation. It embodies his approach to observe the society and Daoism from the structural perspective, contains the capacity of sociology and anthropology with his attention to the actual practice of Daoism, and enriches the traditional Daoist studies in France since the last century. In the first chapter Schipper points out that Daoism can not be observed based on the westerners' ideas about religion. For it is the best expression of the popular religions in China with abundant and extensive literature of over 1000 kinds and it accumulates every aspect of traditional popular beliefs in China. Therefore the Japanese scholar Fukui Fumimasa thinks that K.M.Schipper is the foremost international figure in the field of Daoist studies not only in France but also in Europe.
Daoist Studies of Isabelle Robinet and Anna Seidel (1938-1991)
Isalelle Robinet as one of the students of Kaltenmark was the professor of Provence University in France. She was dedicated mainly to the study of Daoist ideology, especially of the history and thought and the magical skills of the Supreme Clarity Tradition. In 1977 the French Institute of Sinology published her book the Commentaries on "the Book of Dao and its Virtue" before the Seventh Century. It systematically elaborated the commentaries made by Yan Zun, the Old Man of the Riverside ( 河上公 Heshang Gong ), Wang Bi, the Wu Emperor of the Liang, Zhou Hongzheng, Cheng Xuanying, and some other scholars. She thought that the commentary made by Yan Zun belonged to the philosophical Daoism except for a series of regulations or adjustments, by which Yan was to be against Buddhism. For the sake of the Old Man of the Riverside, the Book of Dao and its Virtue became a textbook on arts of domination as well as methods of longevity and immortality. His commentary was different from those of Zhuangzi, Huainanzi, Hanfeizi, or Yan zun who regarded it as ontology so as to cover their political views as well as that of Wang Bi who gave some metaphysical explanations. In fact Wang's commentary represented the views of the new Daoist School known as Metaphysics in the third century. Since the 1970s, Isalelle Robinet published a series of works of her research on the Highest Clarity Tradition, such as Daoist Meditation in 1979. In 1993, Canadian professors Julian Pas and Norman Girardot translated it into English and published it in New York with the title Daoist Meditation ---- the Mao-shan Tradition of Great Purity. It is remarked that it is one of the most important books on Chinese religions published in the west over the past ten years. The author did comprehensive explorations on the profound mystery and secret techniques of the Highest Clarity Tradition. Her investigations properly and exactly described the unique imaginative cosmology, the symbolic system of the body, travels to the constellations, the inner elixir, the methods of meditation, and the practice of the rituals of the Highest Clarity Movement of Mt. Maoshan. All of this composed one of the most fundamental Daoist traditions. In Revelation of the Great Purity Tradition in Daoist History that published in 1984 she studied in great detail the history, the influential figures, and the classic books of the Highiest Clarity Tradition of Mt.Mao. She was awarded the title Doctor of French Nation because of this book. She wrote the postscript for the Daoist Meditation that was attached to the English version of the book. She claimed in the postscript that the classic books of the Highest Clarity Tradition are most important in the Daoist history. This tradition was considered the fourth highest in the Daoist system of ordinations. From the sixth to tenth century, the Highest Clarity Tradition had dominant influences among the Daoist believers, for it was very close to reality and capable of comprehending the truth with graceful and elegant performance. It was not a religion to give you a promise, require you to wait, or tell you the end of the world. It is this that distinguishes the Highest Clarity Tradition from the other Daoist traditions. Although there are different evaluations about her study of the Highest Clarity of Mt.Maoshan in the international academic circle, it is generally acknowledged throughout the world that she is the most devoted to the research on it with original views on it.
Anna Seidel (1938-1991)
Anna Seidel was born in Berlin and lived in Munich in her childhood. After her graduation from Munich University, she followed Kaltenmark and Stein to study Daoism and was awarded the doctor's degree with her dissertation Divinization of Laozi in Daoism of the Han. The British Encyclopedia thinks it was an initial study of popular Daoism. Since the 1970s she stayed in Tokyo as a member of the French Academy of the Far East, editing and published Papers on Buddhism and Synopsis of Asian Studies (the journal of the French Academy of the Far East). She mainly studied philosophical and religious Daoism of China besides her research on Chinese Buddhism. The following books are very good examples.
- Laozi and Lihong: A Perfect Image of the Redeemer in Early Daoism
- Zhang Sanfeng: A Daoist Immortal of the Ming Dynasty
- Laozi and Daoism in the Later Han
- License to the Other World ---- Views of Death Embodied in the Tomb-Contracts of the Later
#Han (Traces of Han Religion in Funeral Texts Found in Tombs)
Chronicle of Daoist Studies in the West 1950-1990, which Seidel published in 1990, is acknowledged as an authoritative summary in this field. She quoted and analyzed 541 essays or books written by 208 experts of Daoism during the 40 years, most of which are the works of the researchers from Europe and the United States except for a few overseas Chinese authors and few authors from China and Hong Kong or Japan. It is a pity, however, that the Daoist studies in Russia are not mentioned in her book. As she looked into the prospect of Daoist studies in the west, she mentioned some flaws or defects and some fields in Daoist studies that are still waiting for the scholars of the younger generations to cultivate. She is so far-sighted and forward- looking that this book is regarded as admirable and inspiring as a milestone. Nevertheless we must point out that she has never been to the Mainland China where Daoism originated even if she had been studying Daoism all her life. So she was biased as she analyzed the present situation in China. For example, she said that what she did was important for the university scholars in the People's Republic of China, for it was hard for her to figure out its reason. She thought that the Chinese intellectuals were indulged in self-admiration and paid no attention to Chinese traditional culture of men of letters, because they held their Confucian contempt to popular religions. With the low academic level and low diffusion of the higher education, the disastrous situation of the libraries, the lack of sufficient religious terms, and the political hazard to discuss Daoism or publish anything on Daoism, all this and some other factors made the Chinese scholars incapable of doing significant work on Daoism. It is really "difficult for us to discuss about her views". What we can say is that she was either partial or ignorant. She regretted that it might occur that what the westerners' studies on Daoism might well teach Chinese people something about their own culture. Even if she has given up the arrogant or haughty attitude of the western adventurers that our elder generation encountered in 1950s, there is still something arrogant behind her regret, so much so that she seems to feel superior to the Chinese people. In her eyes, the Chinese scholars are still the "Confucians" wearing Chinese skullcaps, reading for imperial examinations or advancement of their status or the "slaves" who act on the orders of the westerners who held western-styled walking sticks in their hands. She thinks the Chinese scholars are still waiting for the western researchers to teach them to read the Daoist books and tell them the stories of the immortals, even kowtowing to them. She was familiar with the Chinese culture, but she only had the interest in making observations with sympathy and on constant guard. In other words she just had her curiosity on it just as those who enjoyed appreciating the antiques or appreciating the birds. Anna Seidel was not able to go beyond the conventional opinions of the western people to look down upon the present Chinese. In 1991, she died in the United States before she came to China to make on-the-spot observations, which is really a great loss for the French academic circle. And the Chinese Daoists those who know her feel very much regretted for her in the Chinese academic circle.
Daoist Studies of John Lagerwey and Other Young Scholars
John Lagerwey is a very promising scholar in his middle age. He graduated from Harvard University with the doctoral degree of the languages and culture of East Asia and became the student of K.M.Schipper later. Since 1977 he has been working at the French Academy of Far East and has been to China and Taiwan many times. At present he stays in Hong Kong as its representative. In 1981 he published his book Essential Secrets of the Most High ( 無上秘要 Wushang Miyao ) --- Daoist Encyclopedia in the Sixth Century. It offers the illustrations of the titles of Daoist books, the rehabilitation of the contents, the translated versions of the various volumes, and the contrasts between the quotations of the Essential Secrets of the Most High and the originals that exist at present in the Daoist Canon. The Index of the Quoted Books in the Essential Secrets of the Most High he edited is very useful to the Daoist studies in the Han, Wei, and the Six Dynasties. In 1985 at the International Conference on the Daoist Liturgy and Music in Hong Kong, he presented his essay Ritual Space in the North of Taiwan to discuss the rituals for exorcising evils the red-headed Daoists performed in the north of Taiwan. In 1987 he wrote about such entries related to Daoism as "Daoist community", "Daoist master of ceremonies", and "Daoist sacrifice offerings" for the Religious Encyclopedia.
In 1987, MacMillan Publishing Company of the US published his book Daoist Ritual in Chinese Society and History. It is the first book written in English for scholars and common readers about Daoist rituals with comprehensive introductions. There are three parts in it: the origin of the Daoist rituals, the basic forms of Daoist rituals, and Daoism in the rituals and Chinese society. The author raised three questions: What are Daoist rituals? What role do they play in Chinese cosmology? What role do Daoist rituals and Daoist ideology play in the development of Chinese history? He thinks that Daoism is a religious symbolic and behavioral system deeply rooted in the social life of Chinese people, and Daoist rituals demonstrate such a system by acting and music. It reflects the Chinese people's cosmology, their life principals, and their views of life and death. And it is closely related to politics, history, and customs in Chinese society as well. The second part "Basic Daoist Rituals" is the most important, including the rites of offerings characteristic of offering sacrifices at local temples and the family accumulations of merits and virtues for the dead souls. Perhaps John Lagerway is the first western scholar to describe the abundant Daoist ritual names, the scriptures of rituals, the facilities at the ritual space, the announcement documents and communication documents concerned, and the scriptural formula of the rituals. In the concluding part he points out that Daoism is a symbolic system with compound structures which is expressed in its rituals and music based on its classic books and idols and passed down from generation to generation. Lagerway expounds in his book the rich Daoist rituals from the new perspectives of sociology, history, and anthropology with a serious attitude toward his writing. We have every reason to believe that the Daoist studies in France will surely be more prosperous with the hard work of the researchers of the younger generations.
Among the French scholars devoted to the Daoist studies, Franciscus Verellen works at the French Academy of the Far East at present. He published his book on Du Guangting in 1989. At the Beijing International Academic Conference on Daoist Culture in 1996 he presented his essay Zhang Daoling and the Legend of Lingjing, discussing the historic facts in early Daoism from the new perspectives of anthropology and the annals of local history. Christine Mollier, a student of K.M.Schipper, works at the French National Academy of Science, engaged in drawing up the contents for the Dunhuang manuscripts in France and devoted to some other related studies. In 1990 she published her book Daoist Revelation in the Fifth Century ---- the Book of Divine Incantations of the Pervasive Abyss ( 洞淵神咒經 Dongyuan Shenzhou Jing ). She thinks that the ideas of the revelation did not exist in China unlike religions in the west whereas such ideas existed in the Book of Divine Incantations of the Pervasive Abyss, that is, clear up the evils. It is inevitable for the end of the world to come. As the disasters of various kinds befell, everything in the world would be destroyed; the end of the world is the last salvation. To realize Utopia, the social ideal of the pious Daoist believers, is the collective salvation for them. She has adopted the structural approach to analyze ideologically the Book of Divine Incantations of the Pervasive Abyss based obviously on her background of Christian culture. Just as what she states in the introduction of the book, it is quite valuable to try this new approach to study Chinese Daoism. There are some even younger scholars such as Isbella Hong who is devoted to the study of the Daoist immortal Lv Dongbing and Hualan who is interested in the study of Shao Yong and the Daoist philosophy.