Crazy Ji is the one of the most colorful deities in the pantheon of late imperial and modern China. The author uses the evolution of his cult to address central questions regarding the Chinese religious tradition, its relation to social structure, and the role of vernacular fiction and popular media in shaping religious beliefs. Shahar demonstrates that vernacular novels and oral literature played a major role in the dissemination of knowledge about deities and the growth of cults and argues that the body of religious beliefs and practices we call "Chinese religion" is inseparable from the works of fiction and drama that have served as vehicles for its transmission.
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Meir Shahar is a lecturer in Chinese studies at Tel Aviv University.
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