Browse results

Author: Yong Chen
Confucianism as Religion tackles the perennially controversial question of whether Confucianism is a religion. After surveying the epistemological difficulties in both Chinese and Western scholarship in addressing the controversy over Confucian religiosity, Yong Chen convincingly reveals the sociopolitical and cultural stakes that are deeply entangled with the controversy. He brings the issue to the scrutiny of the latest theoretical constructions in religious studies and anthropology and, by defying Wilfred C. Smith’s claim that it is a question that the West has never been able to answer and China never been able to ask, proposes a holistic and contextual approach to the question about the religious status of Confucianism.
Establishing Textual Identity in Early Chinese Manuscripts
In The Embodied Text Matthias L. Richter offers an exemplary study of a 300 BCE Chinese manuscript, exploring significant differences between the Warring States manuscript text and its transmitted early imperial counterparts. These differences reveal the adaptation of the text to a changed political environment as well as general ideological developments. This study further demonstrates how the physical embodiment of the text in the manuscript reflects modes of textual formation and social uses of written texts.
Author: Young Kyun Oh
In Engraving Virtue, Young Kyun Oh investigates the publishing history of the Samgang Haengsil-to (Illustrated Guide to the Three Relations), a moral primer of Chosŏn (1392–1910), and traces the ways in which woodblock printed books contributed to shaping premodern Korea.
Originally conceived by the court as a book with which to instill in its society Confucian ethics encased in the stories of moral heroes and heroines as filial sons, loyal subjects, and devoted wives, the Samgang Haengsil-to embodies various aspects of Chosŏn society. With careful examinations of its various editions and historical documents, Oh presents how the life of this book reflected the complicated factors of the Chosŏn society and how it became more than just a reading material.
Mozi (ca. 479-381), known as the first outspoken critic of Confucius, is an important but neglected figure in early Chinese philosophy. The book Mozi, named after master Mo, was compiled in the course of the fifth - third centuries BCE. The seven studies included in the The Mozi as an Evolving Text take a fresh look at the Core Chapters, Dialogues, and Opening Chapters of the book Mozi. Rather than presenting a unified vision of Mohist thought, the contributions search for different voices in the text and for evolutions or tensions between its chapters. By analysing the Mozi as an evolving text, these studies not only contribute to the rejuvenation of Mozi studies, but also to the methodology of studying ancient Chinese texts.
In The Poet Zheng Zhen (1806-1864) and the Rise of Chinese Modernity, J. D. Schmidt provides the first detailed study in a Western language of one of China's greatest poets and explores the nineteenth-century background to Chinese modernity, challenging the widely held view that this is largely of Western origin. The volume contains a study of Zheng's life and times, an examination of his thought and literary theory, and four chapters studying his highly original contributions to poetry on the human realm, nature verse, narrative poetry, and the poetry of ideas, including his writings on science and technology. Over a hundred pages of translations of his verse conclude the work.
In Doing Good and Ridding Evil in Ming China: The Political Career of Wang Yangming, George Israel offers an account of this influential Neo-Confucian philosopher’s official career and military campaigns. While his contribution to China’s intellectual history and the outlines of his political life are well known, the relation between his thought and what he did in his capacity as a Ming official has been given less attention.
Prior writing on Wang Yangming has passed judgment on his ideas by either idealizing or condemning him for how he treated those he was assigned to govern. Through a detailed reconstruction of his career in the context of issues of empire, ethnicity, and violence, George Israel demonstrates that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Knowledge, Thought, and Belief before the Seventh Century CE
Author: Zhaoguang Ge
Winner of the 2014 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award
In An Intellectual History of China, Professor Ge Zhaoguang presents a history of traditional Chinese knowledge, thought and belief to the late six century CE with a new approach offering a new perspective. It appropriates a wide range of source materials and emphasizes the necessity of understanding ideas and thought in their proper historical contexts. Its analytical narrative focuses on the dialectical interaction between historical background and intellectual thought. While discussing the complex dynamics of interaction among the intellectual thought of elite Chinese scholars, their historical conditions, their canonical texts and the “worlds of general knowledge, thought and belief,” it also illuminates the significance of key issues such as the formation of the Chinese world order and its underlying value system, the origins of Chinese cultural identity and foreign influences.
Selected Essays on Chinese Philosophy
Editor: Jason Clower
In Late Works of Mou Zongsan, Jason Clower publishes English translations of this most famous and influential of modern Chinese philosophers for the first time. In essays chosen for their clarity and approachability, this leading contemporary Confucian speaks on the topics that best define his career: the future of Chinese culture and philosophy, the unique achievements of Confucianism, the place of Buddhism and Daoism in Chinese culture, and the possibility of a new partnership between Chinese and Western thought.
Wang Tong (ca. 584–617) and the Zhongshuo in Medieval China’s Manuscript Culture
Transmitting Authority investigates the rise and fall of the cultural currency of the Confucian teacher Wang Tong (ca. 584–617), a.k.a. Master Wenzhong, in the five centuries following his death, by examining the textual and social history of the Zhongshuo, which purports to record Wang Tong’s teachings. Incorporating theories and methodologies from textual criticism, the history of the book, and cultural studies, Warner reveals evidence of the Zhongshuo’s textual fluidity during the Tang and early Song dynasties, and argues that this fluidity attended the shifting terms of the Zhongshuo’s cultural value for medieval China’s literati culture. In doing so, Warner offers scholars a model for the study of other works whose textual problems and historical significance have hitherto seemed inscrutable.

Ideology of Power and Power of Ideology in Early China explores ancient Chinese political thought during the centuries surrounding the formation of the empire in 221 BCE. The individual chapters examine the ideology and practices of legitimation, views of rulership, conceptualizations of ruler-minister relations, economic thought, and the bureaucratic administration of commoners.
The contributors analyze the formation of power relations from various angles, ranging from artistic expression to religious ideas, political rhetoric, and administrative action. They demonstrate the interrelatedness of historiography and political ideology and show how the same text served both to strengthen the ruler’s authority and moderate his excesses. Together, the chapters highlight the immense complexity of ancient Chinese political thought, and the deep tensions running within it.
Contributors include Scott Cook, Joachim Gentz, Paul R. Goldin, Romain Graziani, Martin Kern, Liu Zehua, Luo Xinhui, Yuri Pines, Roel Sterckx, and Charles Sanft.