Details

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by Chan, Chi-ming

Abstract (Summary)
(Uncorrected OCR) Abstract of thesis entitled tlThe Ideal Confucian

and

Pure

Confucianism:

Canonization

of

Confucianism in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth

Centuries"

submitted by Chan Chi Ming for the

Degree of Master of Philosophy at the University

of Hong Kong in April, 1992.

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are

one of the most prosperous periods in the

intellectual history of China. Issues in this

period have attracted much scholarly attention

from time to time. Generally speaking, the focus

of the attention is on the reasons that caused the

transition

of Confucianism from a moralistic

oriented style to an academic oriented style, or

in other words, from philosophy to philology, and

it is still one of the most important topics and

well worth studying.

This thesis attempts to discuss two phenomena

which happened at the same time as the transition

occurred. The first phenomenon was a change of

Confucian image and the second was the discussion

of pure Confucianism.

Most Ming Confucians believed that an ideal

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Confucian should be a moral man. To become a

Confucian one should take up moral pursuits and

live strictly according to the norms laid down by

Confucius. Thus,

the learning of moral knowledge

became the primary purpose of their studies.

This image of the ideal Confucian lasted until

the mid-seventeenth century. With political

participatioill and objective knowledge learning

became more important at that time, and a new

image of ideal Confucian was formed. As a result,

proficiency

in

statecraft,

familiarity with

Confucian canons and entire devotion in moral

practice became the criteria by which to judge

whether

a

person

could be qualified as a

Confucian.

Another phenomenon that draws our attention

is the search for pure Confucianism. It began as

a dispute over the rights and wrongs in the Lu-Wang

Neo-Confucian

school

which

made

use

of

"heretical concepts" (mostly Buddhist and Taoist

concepts) to interpret Confucianism. Later in

the mid-seventeenth century,

it turned into a

thorough inspection of the heretical nature of

the Neo-Confucian tradition. I use the term "the

movement of purification of Confucian canons and

concepts" to label this event.

These two movements happened simultaneously

2

with the transition of Confucianism. Thus, this

thesis examines the degree of continuity and

discontinuity between Ming and early Qing styles

of learning, and determine~ the relationship

between the intellectual trends of this period

and the transition of Confucianism.

This

thesis is divided into six chapters.

The first chapter gives an overview of the

intellectual

atmosphere

at the dawn of the

sixteenth century. Chapters two and three discuss the images of the ideal Confucian in the sixteenth

and seventeenth centuries, and the issues that

were closely related to the movements mentioned

above.

Chapters

four

and five examine the

awareness

of

the

scholars

in

these

two

centuries, how

they interpreted the corrution

of Confucianism by "heretical ideas~ and their

reactions to these problems. Chapter six is a

supplement of the thesis which discusses the

growth of textual study in this period.

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Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:The University of Hong Kong

School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:confucianism china history

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/1992

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