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Book: Books as Bodies and as Sacred Beings

Chapter: Daoist Writs and Scriptures as Sacred Beings

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.38097


There is a mystical tendency in many religious traditions to consider their scriptures transcendent in one way or another. There are, for example, old Jewish and Muslim claims that the prototype of the Torah or Qurʾan was written by God at the creation of the world and continues to reside in heaven. Jihyun Kim describes how Daoists made an even more fundamental claim. They regarded their scriptures as embodying qi, the fundamental energy of the cosmos. It produced scripts and scriptures even before the creation of the world, and the look and sound of sacred texts brought it into being. Daoist ritual uses of scripture therefore aimed to engage a transcendent and primordial state of being.

Chapter Contributors

  • Jihyun Kim ( - inixie) 'Seoul National University'