Divination and Sacrifice in Song Neo-Confucianism

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The earliest known form of Chinese religion is the ritual dyad of divination and sacrifice practiced by the rulers of the Shang Dynasty (fourteenth to eleventh centuries b.c.e.). This chapter explores how teachers can highlight the continuity of the Confucian tradition with this central core of Chinese religiosity. Sacrificial offerings to ancestors and sages, on the one hand, and divination using the Yijing (Scripture of Change), on the other, have been the major forms of these rituals practiced by Confucians. Introducing the theories and practices of Yijing divination of some of the leading Confucians of the Song Dynasty (960–1279 c.e.)—scholars whose philosophical re‐creation of the tradition is much better known today than their religious practices—can help students grasp the religious character of Confucianism.


Teaching Confucianism

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