Academic Confucius Institute at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
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Lecture: Peng Guoxiang: The Understanding and Practice of “Five Religions” in Early 20th Century China. The Works and Views of Feng Bingnan (1888-1956)

November 12, 2021, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

The so-called “sanjiao tradition (three teachings/religions)” that includes Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism has conventionally been considered as the “Chinese religion” in Chinese history. In addition to the “sanjiao,” however, Christianity and Islam were introduced to China pretty early and also became integral parts of the Chinese religious tradition. In the early 20th century, the concept and practice of “wujiao 五教” rather than “sanjiao” had already been widely accepted by Chinese people, much beyond intellectual circles. This talk introduces the understanding and practice of “wujiao” exemplified by Feng Bingnan, a successful lawyer and businessman renowned and influential in the 1940s but totally forgotten later on and demonstrates that “wujiao” offers a better perspective than “sanjiao” to understand the Chinese religious tradition.

Image: sung ming whang: Early saturday morning in color, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0),


PENG Guoxiang is Qiu Shi Distinguished Professor of Chinese philosophy, intellectual history and religions at Zhejiang University, China. Before moving to Zhejiang University, he was Professor at Peking University and Tsinghua University. He was the 2016 Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the North (Library of Congress, USA) and was awarded the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award in 2009 (Humboldt Foundation, Germany). He has been a visiting Professor or research fellow in numerous institutions such as Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, University of Frankfurt am Main, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, University of Hawaii, Harvard-Yenching Institute, National Taiwan University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, National University of Singapore.

His publications include The Unfolding of the Innate Good Knowing: Wang Ji and the Yangming Learning in Mid-Late Ming (2003, 2005, 2015), Confucian Tradition: Between Religion and Humanism (2007, 2019), Confucian Tradition and Chinese Philosophy: Retrospect and Prospect in a New Century (2009), Confucian Tradition from Classical Period to Its Contemporary Transformation: Speculation and Interpretation (2012), Revision and New Discovery: Historical Study of Pre-Modern Confucianism from Northern Song till Early Qing Dynasty (2013, 2015), Reconstruction of This Culture of Ours: Confucianism and Contemporary World (2013, 2018, 2019), This-worldly Concern of the Wise: The Political and Social Thought of Mou Zongsan (1909-1995) (2016), The Methodology of Doing Chinese Philosophy (2020) as well as numerous articles.

This lecture is part of the lecture series New Perspectives on Modernity in China.



Prof. Dr. Axel Schneider, University of Göttingen
Prof. Dr. Thomas Fröhlich, University of Hamburg

To attend the lecture, please click here.


November 12, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Event Category:


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