The Bureaucratic Model: A Speculation

Robert Hymes

in Way and Byway

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780520207585
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935136 | DOI:
The Bureaucratic Model: A Speculation

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This chapter argues that the “feudal” model of relations between center and god articulated by the enfeoffment process differed sharply from a bureaucratic model precisely by minimizing the assertion of imperial authority over the gods and in recognizing gods' authority as something that existed before enfeoffment. It also suggests that part of the point of the bureaucratic model for Taoists lies in their interaction with laymen who may not share it. The Taoists' claims to authority were separate from the state's claims and derived from a separate source. Taoists offer mediated access to divine aid in place of the direct access that was widely available. The bureaucratic model of Taoism was an ideal conceptual language for a burgeoning stratum of commercial purveyors of religious aid to a new greater-than-local market: it was, as it were, preadapted to this new situation and ready to thrive in it.

Keywords: bureaucratic model; Taoism; feudal model; enfeoffment; imperial authority; Taoists

Chapter.  15314 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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