Category Archives: Mothers

Confucianism as a Cult of "Mamas' Boys"

Guest post by Brian Griffith.

Brian Griffith is an independent historian, whose previous books are The Gardens of Their Dreams: Desertification and Culture in World History, and Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story. The Fall and Rise of Chinese Goddesses is due to be published in early 2012; the following is an excerpt from it. Brian Griffith lives in Toronto; his email is

Comments and questions are welcome! Brian will reply to them himself.


Confucianism is generally seen as China’s bastion of patriarchal tradition, with a virtually Arabian array of sanctified controls on women. But before it was a state-backed cult of obedience to superiors, Confucianism was a protest movement against warlords, and a defense of ancient village values. In a sense, the first Confucian teachers were men standing up for their mothers’ values. They were mamas’ boys—and I mean this in a good sense.

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