Q) how can Taoist texts can help deepen our understanding of early Chinese history?
Ancient texts tells us who these people were when they were living, what they believed, and how they acted.
Using the Taoist texts, we could create a history of early chinese history.
The article tells us that, “But the early history of Taoism is different. It’s a theocracy based around “tianshi” [celestial masters]. The celestial master was supposed to establish a new political structure, the “Great Peace,” in which every individual would be treated justly. This provided an important alternative to the norm of Confucianism.”
They’ve stated that long ago the Chinese did not have any other models other than the emperor. But this religion was usually lead by a religious leader. These leaders would have to make everyone treated equality.
While doing this, they did not rivaled against the emperor.
The Taoist texts used to not have any specific dates.
However the article states,
“you can’t date anything and so it’s not worth considering if you are writing a history of China. But this has changed. We now have for example the work of Kristofer Schipper and Franciscus Verellen that gives a date for every document.”
Now since we have dates, we are able to estimate when each texts were created.
Overall, the texts are able to show us who they followed, what they believed, and how long it was created