Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The present work offers a critical analysis of Tao Qian’s political and religious thought from readings of his poetic works. Focused on Tao Qian’s writings about the “Way” and the crisis of the “Way”, I examine how he constructs his political utopia and religious utopia that stand out as his response to the multidimensional existential crisis. Chapter 1 provides a summary of Tao’s depictions of the “Way” and the crisis of the “Way”, which serves as the textual ground of this study. Chapter 2 introduces the interdisciplinary methods that I have adopted to read and understand Tao Qian. Basically this study is informed by ideas and insights from modern disciplines of political thought and religious studies. Chapter 3 focuses on Tao Qian’s political utopia and discloses the philosophical traditions and personal innovations of Tao's political thought. Chapter 4 introduces Tao Qian’s religious utopia, with focus on how he manifests the sacred world and how he proposes to get to the sacred.

First Advisor

David K Schneider