This book considers the ways in which religious beliefs and practices have contributed to the formation of Chinese legal culture. It does so by describing two forms of overlap between religion and the law: the ideology of justice and the performance of judicial rituals.
One of the most important conceptual underpinnings of the Chinese ideology of justice is the belief in the inevitability of retribution. Similar values permeate Chinese religious traditions, all of which contend that justice will prevail despite corruption and incompetence among judicial officials in this world and even the underworld, with all wrongdoers eventually suffering some form of punishment. The second form of overlap between religion and the law may be found in the realm of practice, and involves instances when men and women perform judicial rituals like oaths, chicken-beheadings, and underworld indictments in order to enhance the legitimacy of their positions, deal with cases of perceived injustice, and resolve disputes. These rites coexist with other forms of legal practice, including private mediation and the courts, comprising a wide-ranging spectrum of practices
Divine Justice will be of enormous interest to scholars of the Chinese legal system and the development of Chinese culture and society more generally.
Taylor and Francis; December 2008
- ISBN 9781134067879
- Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
- Title: Divine Justice
- Author: Paul R. Katz
In The Press
"Divine Justice remains a fascinating, stimulating and pioneering study. Its path-breaking approach opens new perspectives for legal specialists, and will surely contribute to the intensification of dialogue between legal studies and other disciplines." - Claude Chevaleyre, The China Journal, No.63
"The particular attraction of this book is not the conclusions, but the data, which has been gathered both extensively and intensively. Each chapter provides interest and challenge. I can confidently predict that the book will be well-cited, because future scholars in the field cannot avoid Katz’s work. Scholars may agree or disagree with his conclusions, but they will read the chapters with care, and then build on the work he has done." - Roderick O’Brien; Chinese Cross Currents
About The Author
Paul R. Katz is Research Fellow at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica in Taiwan.