Confucian Discourse and Chu Hsi's Ascendancy

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University of Hawaii Press, 1992 - Philosophy - 328 pages
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A major transformation in thought took place during the Southern Sung (1127-1279). A new version of Confucian teaching, Tao-hsueh Confucianism (what modern scholars sometimes refer to as Neo-Confucianism), became state orthodoxy, a privileged status which it retained until the twentieth century.
Existing studies of the new Confucianism generally depict a single line of development to and from Chu Hsi (1130-1200), the greatest theoretician of the tradition. In this study of unprecedented scope, however, Hoyt Cleveland Tillman offers an integrated intellectual history of the development of Tao-hsueh Confucianism which for the first time places Chu Hsi within the context of his contemporaries. Tillman's methodological strategy allows a rich, complex picture of the Tao-hsueh movement to emerge - one that is sure to transform the field of Sung Confucianism.
To reconstruct the evolution of the Tao-hsueh group, Tillman studies a number of Confucians from four distinct periods, reflecting the basic diversity that existed among them. His discussion is deeply grounded in political and philosophical history and in research on the social networks that joined the members of the Tao-hsueh group. Within this framework, he provides a vivid account of the changing scope of the movement, tracing its development into a "fellowship" and at times a political faction and demonstrating its movement from diversity to gradually increasing exclusiveness, particularly under the influence of Chu Hsi. Close attention is given to confrontational writings and debates within the group, which covered such issues as humaneness, the function of the mind, uses of the Book of Changes, social welfare programs, teaching methods, expediency, and the grounds for knowledge and authority.
A superbly erudite work, Confucian Discourse and Chu Hsi's Ascendancy is an invaluable contribution to the study of the history of Confucian thought in China.

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About the author (1992)

Hoyt Cleveland Tillman is Professor of Chinese Intellectual History at Arizona State University.

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