十八世紀晚期至十九世紀初清帝國的宗教政策:正統與異端的互動
Religious Policies in the Late 18th to Early 19th Century Qing Empire: A Study on the Interaction between Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy

2016-2017 School of Chinese Research Student Seminar

十八世紀晚期至十九世紀初清帝國的宗教政策:正統與異端的互動

Religious Policies in the Late 18th to Early 19th Century Qing Empire: A Study on the Interaction between Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy

孔德維先生  Mr Hung Tak Wai

Date and Time: September 9, 2016 (Friday); 5:30-6:45pm
Venue: Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
Language: Cantonese

Adam Smith 1776年出版的《國富論》對大英帝國有以下的評價:

在一個世紀以來,大英帝國的統治者均讓其國民想像自己在大西洋西岸擁有偉大帝國,而使他們歡欣鼓舞。這個帝國迄今卻祇存於想像之中。即便如今,亦祇是一個帝國的計劃而並帝國;一個金礦的願景而非金礦。

這一評論對歷史上(以至今天)不同的帝國亦甚為切合,清帝國(1616-1912)就是當時東亞最為顯著的例子。作為一個政治實體,清帝國與John Darwin 對當時大英帝國的評價頗為類近:「未完成、混亂、充滿矛盾、野心與詭異」。清帝國在歐亞大陸東端近三個世紀的活動,在意識形態、政治體制、統治政策等方面,均沒有一貫或完整的藍圖。帝國在不同時段有不同特質,而不同的「代理人」亦確有相異且往往不協調的心機。

儒者作為清帝國官僚系統中樞的,同時扮演了「學人」與「官僚」的身分,就是當時帝國最主要的「代理人」之一。然而,他們卻對身處的帝國、國民與自身的身份有甚為分歧的理解。在十八世紀,儒者不得不面對帝國內外多元的宗教現象,他們亦因而必須重構自身的世界觀。例如,穆斯林與基督徒就是當時無可推諉地存在於帝國內的宗教。儒者根本不可能忽視這些異端的信仰者,尤其是遍及全國、人口眾多的穆斯林。作為「學人」的儒者,他們必須以合乎他們信仰/世界觀的方式解釋這些異端的由來,否則「正統」難以應對「異端」的挑戰。這些論述甚為類同於基督宗教的神學家為了應對異教而建構的「(諸)宗教神學」。如果說作為「學人」的儒者可以對社會的邊沿人隱而不顯,避免動搖自身的世界觀,作為「官僚」的儒者則無法規避應付治下的異端信仰者,官員必須決定一系列政策管治穆斯林與基督徒。關心晚期帝制中國管治的學者必須留意的兩點是:這些對治伊斯蘭教與基督宗教的政策與對治已納入「正統」的中國宗教顯然不同;清國與明國對這兩套宗教的管治方式亦有極大的差異。

In 1776, at the end of The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith commented on the British Empire:

The rulers of Great Britain have, for more than a century past, amused the people with the imagination that they possessed a great empire on the west side of the Atlantic. This empire, however, has hitherto existed in imagination only. It has hitherto been, not an empire but the project of an empire; not a gold mine but the project of a gold mine.[1]

This comment applies to many other empires in history and even the present day. The Qing Empire (1616-1912), was one of the most obvious examples in East Asia. As a political entity, the Qing Empire was similar to the British Empire throughout its history – “unfinished, untidy, a mass contradictions, aspirations and anomalies,” as described by John Darwin.[2] In terms of state ideologies, political institutions, and governing policies, the Qing Empire did not have a static, persistent master plan or blueprint throughout its nearly three centuries of existence in the eastern side of Eurasia. Properties of the empire shifted from time to time, and the ambition and agendas of its different agencies were also diverse and inconstant.

Confucian Scholar-Bureaucrats, the majority of the titanic Qing bureaucracy, for instance, had diverse understandings of the Empire, its subjects and even their own identities. In the 18th century, these Chinese intellectuals constructed their image of the “Sino World-System,” with the recognition of the multi-religions phenomenon both inside and outside the Empire. The existences of Muslims and Christians were obviously a part of the Empire in their time. Scholar-bureaucrats could not neglect these heretic religions, especially Muslims, who lived in almost all regions of the Empire. Confucians, as intellectuals, had to provide justifiable explanations to new “heresies” entering their world. It was similar to how Christians in the West had to respond to the emergence of other religions by constructing their “Theologies (rather than the singular ‘Theology’) of Religions.”[3] The Confucian understandings of religions were even more important for those who were part of the bureaucracy. While encountering Muslims and Christians in regions under their governance, they had no choice but to come up with a set of polices for these “heretic” faith communities. One should note that policies on the two religions adopted by Qing Confucian Scholar-Bureaucrats were different from policies designed for “orthodox” religions in their time. Students on late Imperial Chinese history should also remember that the Qing policies on Muslims and Christians were essentially different from those in Ming Empire.

ALL ARE WELCOME!

[1] Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (New York: Bantam Dell, 2003), pp.1207-1208.

[2] John Darwin, The Empire Project: The Rise and Fall of the British World-System, 1830-1970 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp.xi-xiii.

[3] A typical discourse and a decent introduction on the discipline of “Theology of Religions” could be found in John Hick’s publication on 1995. See John Hick, A Christian Theology of Religions: The Rainbow of Faiths (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995).

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