Review of Kern's Text and Ritual in Early China [Book Review]

China Review International 14 (2):338-354 (2007)
In this full length review, I create a running parallel between Martin Kern's Text and Ritual in Early China and Mark Edward Lewis' Writing and Authority in Early China. Both books cover the nexus of texts and their sociopolitical milieu, with Kern's book acting as a sort of update to Lewis'. I group the articles in Kern's book under the following headings: Texts and Authority (Nylan, Falkenhausen, Brashier), Textual Emergence (Boltz, Kern), and Ritual in Literary Genres (Schaberg, Csikszentmihalyi, Gentz), summarizing the content of each article and relating it to Lewis' seminal work. Three further sections, under the heading of "Terminological Precision," are dedicated to issues raised by both books: the performative in ritual (gestures that presuppose a common set of cultural norms and that gain their efficacy from general community acceptance of such norms), the ritual (and performative) dimension of divination, and a functionalist perspective on ritual.
Keywords Text  Ritual  Performative  Natural nomology  Mark Edward Lewis
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