An Intellectual History of China, Volume One

Knowledge, Thought, and Belief before the Seventh Century CE

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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.
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Biographical Note

Ge Zhaoguang is a Professor of History at Fudan University, Shanghai. He was the founder of Fudan’s National Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies and served as its Director for six years. He is well known for his studies of Chinese history and the religious and intellectual history of ancient China. He has been a visiting professor at Kyoto University in Japan, City University of Hong Kong, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium and National Taiwan University. He was also appointed Princeton University Global Scholar for 2009-2010. Among his many Chinese publications are Zen Buddhism and Chinese Culture (1986), Taoism and Chinese Culture (1987), Ten Chinese Classic Canons (1993), Chinese Intellectual History, 2 volumes (1998 and 2000), Dwelling Here in China (2011).

Michael S. Duke is Professor Emeritus of Chinese and Comparative Literature from the Asian Studies Department of the University of British Columbia. He is the author of several books including Blooming and Contending (1985). He has also translated many modern Chinese works of fiction such as Raise the Red Lantern (1993), The Fat Years (2011) and most recently co-translated, with Timothy D. Baker, Cho-yun Hsu, China: A New Cultural History (2012).

Josephine Chiu-Duke is an Associate Professor of Chinese Intellectual History in the Asian Studies Department of the University of British Columbia. She is the author of To Rebuild the Empire: Lu Chih’s Confucian Pragmatist Approach to the Mid-T'ang Predicament (2000) and the editor of a Chinese work entitled Liberalism and the Humanistic Tradition – Essays in Honor of Professor Lin Yü-sheng (2005). She has also published many articles in both English and Chinese on traditional Chinese women and contemporary Chinese thought.

Review Quote

"This is a coherent, erudite, undogmatic, thoughtful account of a vast and complex subject by a distinguished and
widely read senior professor of history at Fudan, one of China's premier universities."
C. Schirokauer, Columbia University, Choice (September 2014)

"Professor Ge’s wide-ranging study is a rare effort, standing alongside earlier landmarks of Chinese intellectual history such as Fung Youlan 馮友蘭’s History of Chinese Philosophy and Kung-chuan Hsiao 蕭公權’s History of Chinese Political Thought...the book is an accomplished translation into English of Ge’s original Chinese text, with all its citations and complexities of language, among them the use of various philosophical and religious terms whose rendition into English has to be both consistent and readable."
Peter Harris, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies (June 2017)

Table of contents

Introduction: Chinese Intellectual History Writing
Brief Prologue: The History of Chinese Intellectual History Itself
Part One: The History of General Knowledge, Thought and Belief
Part Two: Between the History of Knowledge and the History of Thought
Part Three: the Foundational Presupposition of Chinese Thought: “Dao” or the “Way of Heaven”
Part Four: The Continuity of Intellectual History Emerges
Part Five: Historical Memory, Intellectual Resources and Reinterpretation
Part Six: Pictures Where There Are No Pictures: How to Deal With Empty Spaces in Intellectual History
Part Seven: Addition and Subtraction Methods in Intellectual History Research
Part Eight: What Can Be A Resource Material for Intellectual History?

Chapter One: Tracing the Origins of Chinese Intellectual History in the Three Dynasties (Ancient Times to ca. 6th Century BCE)
Brief Prologue: Remote Antiquity
Part One: Reconstructing the World of Ancient Thought: Traditional Written Documents, Modern Theory, and Archeological Discoveries
Part Two: The Shang Conceptual System as Recorded in the Oracle Bone Inscriptions
Part Three: Evolution of Thought as Recorded in the Written Documents and Bronze Inscriptions of the Western Zhou
Part Four: Chinese Script and Chinese Intellectual History
Part Five: Ceremonies, Symbols and A Numerological World Order as the Background of Later Intellectual History

Chapter Two: Hundred Schools of the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods, I (ca. 6th to 3rd Century BCE)
Brief Prologue: China’s “Axial Age”
Part One: General Knowledge and Thought in the Spring and Autumn Period
Part Two: Continuation and Renewal of the Intellectual Tradition I: Ru or the Confucians
Part Three: Continuation and Renewal of the Intellectual Tradition II: Mo or the Moists
Part Four: Continuation and Renewal of the Intellectual Tradition III: Dao or the Daoists
Part Five: Elite Thought and General Knowledge: Implications of Mantic and Medical Arts in Intellectual History

Chapter Three: Hundred Schools of the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods, II (ca. 6th to 3rd Century BCE)
Part One: Warring States Hundred Schools Contend, I: Cosmic Space and Time
Part Two: Warring States Hundred Schools Contend, II: Social Order
Part Three: Warring States Hundred Schools Contend, III: Life of the Individual
Part Four: Language and Reality: the Warring States Period Disputations on Names

Chapter Four: Intellectual Convergence in the Qin and Han Dynasties, from ca. the 3rd Century BCE to ca. the Mid-2nd Century CE
Prologue: Coda to the “Hundred Schools of Thought Contending”
Part One: General Knowledge Background and Intellectual Achievement in the Qin and Han dynasties
Part Two: Toward A Synthesis of Knowledge and Philosophy: from the Luxuriant Dew of the Spring and Autumn Annals to the Huainanzi
Part Three: Establishment of A State Ideology: from the Luxuriant Dew of the Spring and Autumn Annals to the Discourses in the White Tiger Hall
Part Four: Classics and Apocrypha: the Consequences of Mutual Interaction between General Knowledge and Elite Thought

Chapter Five: Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism from the End of the Eastern Han to the Early Tang Dynasty, I (ca. Mid-2nd to Mid-7th Centuries)
Prologue: Foreign Influence Enters China
Part One: Evolution of Autochthonous Chinese Thought and Learning from Han to Jin
Part Two: The Mysterious and Profound: A Turning Point of Intellectual History in the Third Century CE
Part Three: Purification of Daoist Teachings: the Religionization of Daoist Thought, Knowledge and Techniques

Chapter Six: Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism from the Eastern Han to the Tang Dynasty II
Part One: the Transmission of Buddhism to China and Its Significance in Intellectual History, I
Part Two: the Transmission of Buddhism to China and Its Significance in Intellectual History, II
Part Three: Buddhist Conquest of China?
Part Four: Basic Outline of the Mainstream World of Knowledge and Thought in the Seventh Century

Bibliography

Readership

All interested in the history of pre-modern Chinese thought based on the latest textual and archaeological historical materials, including specialist scholars, graduate and undergraduate students, academic and public libraries, educated laymen.

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