The Glyphomancy Factor: Observations on Chinese Conversion

Robert W. Hefner

in Conversion to Christianity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 1993 | ISBN: 9780520078352
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912564 | DOI:
The Glyphomancy Factor: Observations on Chinese Conversion

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This chapter reports that religious conversion is a matter of belief and social structure, of faith and affiliation. It is also about voluntary religious conversion as it is occurred among Chinese in Taiwan. It specifically addresses the glyphomancy factor. Three characteristic (but not exclusive) features of Chinese conversion are explored: conditionality of belief upon other beliefs, the additive character of conversion, and the tendency to equate new beliefs isomorphically with earlier ones (pantheon interchangeability). Some aspects of traditional religion had been displaced by Catholicism. China has tamed conversion. Conversion is then seen as a shift from “traditionalism” to “rationalism” or the like.

Keywords: religious conversion; glyphomancy factor; Chinese conversion; Taiwan; Catholicism; China

Chapter.  8434 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology of Religion

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