Mu-chou Poo received a B.A. in History from National Taiwan University in 1975 and Ph.D. in Egyptology from The Johns Hopkins University in 1984. He is a Professor of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include society and religion in ancient Egypt and China.
His major publications include Muzang yu Shengsi: Zhongguo gudai zongjiao zhi xingsi (Burial and the Idea of Life and Death: Essay on Ancient Chinese Religion) (Taipei, 1993); Wine and Wine Offering in the Religion of Ancient Egypt (London: Kegan Paul International, 1995); In Search of Personal Welfare: A View of Ancient Chinese Religion (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998); Enemies of Civilization: Attitudes toward Foreigners in Ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and China (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005); (Ed.) Rethinking Ghosts in World Religions (Leiden: Brill, 2009).
What is happiness? Did people ever reach happiness at certain point in history, and if so, how could we find out? We can read what people then had written about happiness, but that may not be enough. Since what people say may not be borne out by what people do, we need to look at what people did, and what did they left for us, as material evidence. Thus to tackle the nature and dynamics of an idea, such happiness, we need both reading and interpreting the texts and digging and reconstructing the material remains that might or might not have been shaped by the ideas in the texts. I shall use the examples of ancient Chinese texts and archaeological finds to demonstrate this point.