Stephen F. Teiser - "How Did Governors and Buddhist Monks Deal with Epidemics in Medieval China?"

Medieval Studies Spring 2024 Faculty Colloquium Series
Apr 9, 2024, 12:00 pm1:20 pm



Event Description

The Program in Medieval Studies is pleased to offer the Faculty Colloquium series for Spring 2024. Stephen F. Teiser, D.T. Suzuki Professor in Buddhist Studies, Department of Religion, will present this lunchtime talk on Tuesday, April 9.

In the spring of 902, hoping to end a three-year epidemic, the governor of a large province in northwest China commanded monks and nuns at more than one dozen Buddhist temples to perform rituals of chanting and confession twice each month. The bureaucrat’s autograph decree and the response of the Buddhist church survive by chance among the Dunhuang manuscripts, a unique trove of materials discovered in 1900. The cache also preserves six liturgies composed and performed by Buddhist monks for the curing of epidemics during the ninth and tenth centuries. Based largely on manuscript sources, this talk analyzes how rulers and clerics conceived the etiology of epidemics and what religious therapies they deployed to cure collective illness. Read more.

Program in Medieval Studies