Buddhist Apocalyptic Saviors and Imperial Authority during the Reign of Empress Wu Zetian (690-705CE)
April D. Hughes - Assistant Professor of Religion, Boston University
April D. Hughes received her Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University in 2014, and is presently Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion, Boston University. Her research situates medieval Chinese religion within broader cultural and social contexts. She is especially interested in medieval Chinese Buddhist manuscripts and mural paintings discovered at Dunhuang (northwest China). Her current book Worldly Saviors and Imperial Authority in Medieval Chinese Buddhism, is accepted and in press with the University of Hawai‘i Press. The book traces worldly saviors, particularly Maitreya Buddha and Prince Moonlight, as they appeared in apocalyptic scriptures discovered at Dunhuang, claims made by rebel leaders, and textual interpretations and assertions supported by Yang Jian (Wen of Sui, r. 581-604) and Wu Zhao (Wu Zetian, r. 690-705). The book highlights the centrality of apocalypticism to Chinese imperial sovereignty, which continued to echo long after the close of the medieval period.
Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies, the Glorisun Network for Buddhist Studies, and the Council on East Asian Studies