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Appendix II. The Victory of Han Confucianism

Since the victory of Confucianism as the official government teaching was completed in the reign of Emperor Yüan, it may be worth while here to summarize that development, although this matter has been discussed in detail in the introductions to various preceding chapters.

During the Former Han period, Confucianism developed from being the teaching of a few pedants in semi-retirement, as it was at the end of the Chou period, to become the official philosophy of the government, which had to be adopted by anyone who hoped to enter public life. This victory set Confucianism on its way to be the dominating feature of Chinese culture and to affect profoundly a large portion of humanity. It is consequently interesting to determine just how and why this victory came about.

It is sometimes supposed that this victory came about at the beginning of Emperor Wu's reign. HS 56: 20b, 21a says, "When Emperor Wu had newly ascended [the throne], the Marquises of Wei-ch'i [Tou Ying] and of Wu-an [T'ien Fen] became his [Lieutenant] Chancellors, and made Confucianism flourish. When moreover [Tung] Chung-shu wrote [his famous] replies to the [examination] questions [set by Emperor Wu, he advocated] promoting and making glorious [the teaching of] Confucius and of repressing and degrading [the advocates of] the hundred [other schools of] philosophy. The establishment of offices for a [government] university and schools and the recommendation of [persons with] Abundant Talents and of Filially Pious and Incorrupt [persons to the imperial government] by the provinces and commanderies all arose from the proposal of [Tung] Chung-shu." The Confucian victory cannot however be fixed at any one particular date, nor did it occur in the reign of Emperor Wu. Rather it was a slow process of increasing completeness, which began with Emperor Kao and was not complete until the time of Emperor Yüan, more than a century and a half later. The History of the Former Han Dynasty, with its detailed reports concerning the intellectual and political life of the period, gives us a fairly complete account of the way this victory was achieved.

Emperor Kao began with a violent prejudice against Confucians. Yet he had an intimate younger half-brother who had had a thorough Confucian education. The Confucians had opposed and critized the First Emperor of the Ch'in dynasty, and the latter had repressed them violently, burning the Books of Odes and of History and driving outstanding Confucians into flight or retirement. Because of the Ch'in dynasty's attitude, Confucians naturally assisted Emperor Kao. The Ch'in dynasty maintained seventy learned men at court, giving them the title of Erudits. One of them, Shu-sun T'ung, was captured and surrendered in turn to Hsiang Yü and to Emperor Kao. He later arranged Emperor Kao's court ceremonies. In his conflict with Hsiang Yü, Emperor Kao received valuable advice from Confucians, who pointed out to him the great advantage of employing the Confucian doctrine of Heaven's Mandate against the tyranny of the Ch'in ruler. Emperor Kao, at the instance of his Chancellor of State, Hsiao Ho, seems to have been the first to ask his Administrators in the provinces to recommend persons with excellent reputations and manifest virtue to the imperial government for positions in the bureaucracy, which procedure initiated the examination system, so influential in promoting Confucianism.

Li Yi-chi and Lu Chia, two of Emperor Kao's paladins, were sincere Confucians. The latter wrote a thoroughly Confucian book at the Emperor's request, and was highly praised and rewarded for it. Thus Emperor Kao, beginning with an antipathy to Confucians, ended by giving them high position and favoring them.

Under the next two rulers, Emperor Kao's son and wife, Emperor Hui and the Empress Dowager nee Lü, Confucianism suffered a set-back. Ts'ao Ts'an, the outstanding Lieutenant Chancellor during this period, was a Taoist; the Confucians opposed the Empress Dowager's usurpation of the imperial power and went into retirement.

With the Empress Dowager's death and the accession of Emperor Wen, Confucians again became influential. Lu Chia played an important part in enthroning this Emperor. The new Emperor encouraged learning and continued many Confucian practises. But he felt that he must be impartial towards all the various philosophies current at the time, hence he established Erudits to be specialists upon these various philosophies, until he is said to have had seventy Erudits. Yet Emperor Wen was probably more influenced by Confucianism than by any other single teaching. Later Confucians have considered him a saint. Chia Yi, who was more a Confucian than a Taoist, influenced Emperor Wen greatly. Emperor Wen moreover extended the examination system by having the commanderies send capable persons to the imperial court, among whom the Emperor selected officials by setting examinations for them at the capital. In his questions, the Emperor invited the candidates to give him advice upon governmental policies. Thus Confucianism was nerely one of the most influential of the many tendencies in Emperor Wen's government.

In the imperial examination of 165 B.C., Ch'ao Ts'o, a favorite of the Heir-apparent, the future Emperor Ching, took the first place. Ch'ao Ts'o had become his Household Steward, and was known as the "bag of wisdom." In his youth he had studied the legalist philosophy and that of names and circumstances; when someone was needed to receive from the aged Master Fu the Confucian tradition concerning the Book of History, Ch'ao Ts'o was sent. Like Chia Yi, he was thus conversant with several philosophies, in this respect perhaps typical of the age. The future Emperor Ching favored Ch'ao Ts'o greatly, and, when he came to the throne, gave Ch'ao Ts'o high office. As a whole, Emperor Ching, however, was not as favorable to Confucianism as his father had been.

In 141 B.C., the youthful Emperor Wu came to the throne. He was only in his sixteenth year, and had been given a good classical education, which had naturally included a study of Chinese literature, the Confucian classics. His Junior Tutor had been Wang Tsang, a disciple of Shen P'ei, the famous Confucian authority on the Book of Odes. The Emperor was greatly interested in learning, literature, and poetry; he himself later wrote some very creditable poetry. He was somewhat imperious and very ambitious. After having been given such an education, he was naturally much impressed by Confucianism, so much so that at first, at the suggestion of Tung Chung-shu, he seems to have wanted to make Confucianism the sole philosophy of the government. In this resolve, he was probably swayed very largely by his advisors, especially by Wang Tsang, for in later years the Emperor altered his attitude to Confucianism greatly. The most serious obstacle to this plan was the fact that the Emperor's grandmother, the Grand Empress Dowager nee Tou, was a devotee of Lao-tzu. Because of the current exaltation of filial piety, her influence at the court was quite as strong as that of the Emperor. The Confucian party hence compromised by attacking only the philosophy they considered most dangerous and most opposed to the Confucian tradition, namely the Legalist school, which had been that espoused by the Ch'in dynasty, from whose institutions the Han dynasty had taken its governmental organization. Hence they induced the aged and faithful but incompetent Lieutenant Chancellor, Wei Wan, to memorialize the throne that all those officials and candidates should be dismissed who had specialized in the lore of Shen Pu-hai, Shang Yang, Han Fei, Su Ch'in, and Chang Yi, who were mostly Legalists. Emperor Wu naturally ratified and enacted this proposal. 1 Pan Ku says that the intention of this edict was to eliminate all non-Confucians from the government service. 2

Half a year later, Emperor Wu dismissed Wei Wan for incompetence and appointed in his place Tou Ying, a son of a first cousin of the Grand Empress Dowager, who had distinguished himself by putting down a serious rebellion in the preceding reign, but had not previously been given high civil office because of his outspokenness and pride. The Emperor's maternal half-uncle, T'ien Fen, was made Grand Commandant, a position only inferior in power to that of the Lieutenant Chancellor. The Grand Empress Dowager was induced to suggest this arrangement. 3

Tou Ying favored Confucianism highly; T'ien Fen had in his youth studied the works of a certain P'an Yü, an eclectic philosopher who combined the doctrines of the Confucians, the Mohists, Legalists, and the school of names. The greatest ministers thus all favored Confucianism. They made a clean sweep of the previous officials, and selected for the third most influential court position, that of Grandee Secretary, Chao Wan, another disciple of the Confucian authority Shen P'ei. Wang Tsang was a Chief of the Gentlemen-at-the-Palace, a position that enabled him to come into intimate contact with Emperor Wu. Thus Confucians controlled the government.

They proceeded to introduce Confucian practises, and proposed the establishment of a Ming-t'ang, a ceremonial building said to have been used in Chou times for sacrifices and court receptions. Emperor Wu liked ceremonies and pomp; Confucianism emphasized such ceremonials. Chao Wan and Wang Tsang needed expert aid in this project, so they persuaded Emperor Wu to send for their teacher, Shen P'ei. A messenger was sent with presents of silk and jade circlets (pi), and with a comfortable carriage with seats, with its wheels bound with rushes, and a quadriga of horses, to invite the eighty-odd year old Confucian authority to court. His two outstanding disciples followed him in one-horse carriages. When he arrived at court, Emperor Wu asked him to state the source of good and bad government. The old man replied, "The person who governs well should not speak much, and should merely pay attention and strive hard at what he does." The young emperor thought highly of his own literary ability, so that he was much displeased by the old man's reproof. The Emperor had however summoned Shen P'ei, so made him a Grand Palace Grandee, a high honorary position, and installed him in the Lodge at the capital for the King of Lu, then ordered the discussion of a Ming-t'ang.

Meanwhile the Confucian clique at the court had found itself hampered by the influence of the nobles at the capital. The Confucians accordingly revived a law enacted by Emperor Wen under Confucian influence to the effect that nobles, especially marquises, should reside at their estates in order to guide and care for their people. Most of the nobles had hcapital, did not wish to leave it, and concerned themselves only with receiving the taxes from their estates. On account of fear of rebellion, the administrators of noble estatact with their people. Emperor Ching had consequently rescinded Emperor Wen's law. Many of the marquises had moreover married imperial princesses, hence they took their cause to their relative, the Grand Empress Dowager nee Tou, and slandered Tou Ying to her. Tou Ying also offended his own clan by discriminating among its members, erasing from the family record the names of those who were not upright.

In order to check the influence of the Grand Empress Dowager, the Confucians now asked for the enactment of a law to the effect that government affairs should not be brought to the attention of. Thus the issue was joined. Tou Ying and his party were trying to exalt Confucianism and suppress Taoism as well as Legalism; the Grand Empress Dowager was an ardent Taoist. When the Grand Empress Dowager heard of the Confucians' request, she was furious; Emperor Wu, who had probably become somewhat tired of the Confucians, sent Wang Tsang and Chao Wan to jail, where they were compelled to commit suicide; Tou Ying and T'ien Fen were dismissed. The Confucians would not withstand the Emperor's grandmother. 4

A few months after her death in 135 B.C., Emperor Wu, possibly at the suggestion of T'ien Fen, who had again become influential, established Erudits who specialized in each of the five Confucian classics. The same year, T'ien Fen became Lieutenant Chancellor. He appointed several hundred Confucians to office and degraded Taoists. 5 Yet there continued to be Taoists in the court, for there had been no ban put upon them---Chi Yen, a Taoist, was promoted by Emperor Wu to the position of Chief Commandant in Charge of Noble Ranks, one of the high ministers (50: 9b), and continued by his frank criticism to inspire the Emperor with respect and even with fear. Szu-ma T'an and his son, the historian Szu-ma Ch'ien, were both Taoists and kept their post as the successive Grand Astrologers. The Mohist school seems to have exercised little influence, if it still existed, which is doubtful, for no adherent of this school is mentioned among Emperor Wu's officials, although it is mentioned by Szu-ma T'an in his survey and comparison of the six philosophical schools. 6

Through his liking for scholarship and literary men, Emperor Wu came into touch with the Confucian Kung-sun Hung(1). The latter was a poor boy who had studied the various commentaries on the Spring and Autumn, and was recommended to the imperial court by his native state. His examination paper was placed in the lowest class by the Grand Master of Ceremonies; when Emperor Wu reread the papers, he was much struck by the literary quality of Kung-sun Hung's paper, promoted it to the first paper of the first class, and summoned him to an audience. He proved to be a Confucian who knew how to clothe displeasing speech in tactful language, hence secured Emperor Wu's favor. Tung Chung-shu called him a flatterer. He was gradually advanced until Emperor Wu made him a marquis and Lieutenant Chancellor.

Tung Chung-shu had previously suggested to Emperor Wu the establishment of a government university; in the summer of 124 B.C., while Kung-sun Hung(1) was Lieutenant Chancellor (6: 11b), the latter renewed the suggestion and drafted the memorial which was approved by the Emperor and became the charter of the Imperial University (HS 88: 3b-6a). This institution was located seven li northwest of the capital. The masters were the Erudits; they or their Disciples did the teaching. 7 The Grand Master of Ceremonies was ordered to select fifty persons who were in their eighteenth year or over, in good health and upright in character. They were entitled the Disciples of the Erudits and were exempted from taxes and service. The Administrators of Commanderies and Chancellors of Kingdoms were ordered to select suitable students who showed a love of learning and good character and to send them to the Grand Master of Ceremonies at the imperial capital with the persons who brought the yearly accounts to the capital; these students were to study at the Imperial University for one year with the Disciples, whereupon they were to be examined. Those who thereupon showed themselves expert in one classic or more were entitled Literary Scholars or Authorities upon Ancient Matters. Those who did not attain such a high rank might be made Gentlemen-of-the-Palace, who were imperial attendants and might be selected for office. The name of a person who was graded as an Accomplished Talent of Unusual Degree might be reported to the throne for a substantial office. Those who had not applied themselves to studying or had shown themselves of such small ability that they could not even become expert in one Classic were immediately dismissedin the official bureaucracy. 8

There was thus established in the capital an institution for the training of officials, capable graduates of which automatically entered the government service. The curriculum and teachers of this institution were all Confucians, so that, as Szu-ma Ch'ien says, "From this time on, most of the minor officials in the offices of the ministers and officials at the capital were Literary Scholars." Confucian learning thus became the means whereby most of the lower positions in the bureaucracy were filled, and so in time permeated the government.

Emperor Wu was far from being a thoroughgoing Confucian. Indeed, in many respects he acted contrary to Confucian ideals. His widespread military expeditions were un-Confucian. His heavy taxes and legal oppression of the people were un-Confucian. His establishment of the salt and iron government monopolies, the monopoly on fermented liquors, and the Bureau of Equalization and Standards, whereby the government speculated in goods, were specifically Legalist measures. His cultivation of magicians, his seeking for supernatural beings, his erection of buildings for magical purposes, such as Fei-lien Lodge, Yi-yen-shou Lodge, and T'ung-t'ien T'ai (the Terrace that Communicates with Heaven) and his indulgence in superstitious sacrifices were Taoist measures. 9 His elaborate development of laws was a measure stressed by the school of names and circumstances. In many ways, in his conquest, in his tours of the empire, in his ascent of Mt. T'ai, and in his severe government, he seems deliberately to have imitated the First Emperor of the Ch'in dynasty, who was a legalist. In 110 B.C., when the fifty-odd Confucians he had summoned could not agree on what should be the ceremonies and utensils for the sacrifices feng and shan, chiefly because these Confucians restrained themselves by historical principles and were unwilling to go beyond what ancient texts declared, Emperor Wu dismissed them all and himself fixed the rites for these sacrifices. 10 Thus Emperor Wu was in reality influenced by all the current doctrines, and did not hesitate to depart from Confucian principles. While his reign marks the beginning of strong Confucian influence in the government, that influence was far from being victorious at this time.

The next step towards the Confucian victory occurred in the reign of Emperor Hsüan, who came to the throne almost by accident in 74 B.C., thirteen years after Emperor Wu died. This boy had been disinherited because of his grandfather's rebellion against Emperor Wu, and had been brought up by some faithful officials. He had been given a good education, which naturally included a study of Chinese literature, so that he had studied the Analects, the Classic of Filial Piety, and the Book of Odes. Thus he had been indoctrinated with Confucianism, because Confucians had taken to themselves the exposition of the best Chinese literary treasures and had made those treasures into Confucian books. After he began to rule, he chose Confucians for his officials and advisors. Each of his Lieutenant Chancellors had made a special study of some Classic, although they were not primarily scholars. When calamities, such as earthquakes, occurred, he did the typically Confucian thing of sending for those Confucians who professed to be able to interpret such visitations as indicating the will of Heaven. Because his grandfather had been interested in the Ku-liang Commentary on the Spring and Autumn, Emperor Hsüan revived its study and summoned its teachers to the Imperial Palace, where he ordered ten of his gentlemen to study it, which they did consecutively for more than ten years. Comparison of it with the then authoritative Kung-yang Commentary (the Tso-chuan had not yet become popular), led to a realization of the discrepancies between different interpretations of the various classics. Emperor Hsüan accordingly summoned to the capital all the outstanding authorities upon the Confucian classics to discuss the meaning of these classics in the imperial presence. The discussions began in the Palace Hall and were transferred to the Shih-ch'ü Pavillion, under the presidency of the Grand Tutor to the Heir-Apparent, Hsiao Wang-chih, who was famous for hions are mentioned in various places as having participated as authorities in this famous discussion. In cases of otherwise irreconcilable disputes, Emperor Hsüan seems himself to have decided upon the correct interpretation. The decisions of this Confucian council were memorialized to the Emperor and were ratified by him in 51 B.C. They are listed among the books in Imperial Private Library. In this way an official interpretation for the classics was reached. Other interpretations were not proscribed, but the official interpretation was doubtless taught in the Imperial University and learned by all candidates for official position, for use in the examinations. Consequently it monopolized men's minds in the same way that Chu Hsi's interpretation became dominant in the medieval period. At the same time, the number of Erudits and Disciples, i.e. the teachers in the Imperial tain classics. 11

Thus at the end of Emperor Hsüan's reign, the occupants of the high government posts had all had a Confucian training, the Imperial University was continuing to fill the bureaucracy with Confucian scholars, and a Confucian council had fixed the official interpretation of the Classics which became authoritative for the government. Yet Emperor Hsüan was not a thoroughgoing Confucian and did not wholeheartedly approve of this doctrine. He was primarily a practical man who had lived among the common people before he came to the throne, and knew the danger of idealistic impracticality inherent in Confucian teaching. Hence he took as his own ideal of government, not merely Confucian principles, but also the conduct of the very un-Confucian practical statesmen during Spring and Autumn times. He was interested in the penological terminology discussed by the legalist school of names and circumstances, and most of his high officials used these legalist principles as well as Confucian principles in their government. Pan Ku represents him as telling his Heir-apparent that the institutes and laws of the Han dynasty had been taken from both non-Confucian and Confucian teachings and that the Confucian principle of using merely moral suasion to bring about conformity to right principles is utterly impracticable; the Confucian love of the ancient and disapproval of the present results in confusion. 12 This drastic criticism of Confucianism, found today in the writings of a Confucian historian, indicates well the attitude practical men then took towards Confucianism.

Yet Emperor Hsüan had so well prepared the way for the victory of of Confucianism that this victory could hardly have been avoided. He had given his son and Heir Confucian tutors. This Emperor Yüan had been brought up in the Palace and had had little contact with the outer world, so that Confucianism did not appear impractical to him. When he came to the throne, he proposed immediately to make Confucian reforms. The influence of the Emperor's maternal relatives, who were in control of the army, and of the Emperor's favorite eunuch was able to check the Confucian influence for a time. Emperor Yüan knew little of government, so depended upon this eunuch to decide government matters, and spent most of his time enjoying himself in the imperial harem. This eunuch was even able to trick the Emperor into sending the outstanding Confucian, Hsiao Wang-chih, to his death. The criticism that resulted however led this eunuch to favor other famous Confucians, and so, during most of Emperor Yüan's reign, Confucian influence was allowed to make important reforms in the government. In this period it became the practise for the Superintendant of the Imperial Household yearly to rank the various members of the imperial retinue according to a set of four Confucian virtues. Since the commonest way of entering government service was by spending a period as a member of the large imperial retinue, in order that the emperor might have a personal acquaintance with his officials, it was natural, when the bureaucracy and conseq all the prospective candidates (it included as many as a thousand persons) that a second and moral test should have been added after the first and literary examination. 13 In the next reign, that of Emperor Ch'eng, Confucian influence was equally important. His cousin, Wang Mang, who sought to usurp the throne, found it advisable to adopt all sorts of Confucian practises. He indeed endeavored to secure public approval by being more Confucian than even the Han emperors had been, and kept reforming the imperial administration to give it more and more Confucian features. His outstanding reforms were merely Confucian ideals translated into governmental practises. In thus attracting the approval of educated men, Wang Mang was so successful that the leaders of the Later Han dynasty largely followed his example. The rulers of that dynasty were even more Confucian than the last emperors of the Former Han dynasty and Confucian influence dominated the whole Later Han period.

Thus the victory of Confucianism was a gradual process. It began when Emperor Kao found Confucians assisting him in overthrowing the anti-Confucian Ch'in dynasty. The early Han emperors encouraged all the various philosophies of the time. Emperor Wu had a Confucian education, and, in a fit of youthful enthusiasm, endeavored to make Confucianism the philosophy of the government. This attempt was however frustrated by the Emperor's grandmother, while the Emperor himself lost his first enthusiasm for Confucianism and became influenced by various other doctrines. His love for literature and literary men however continued to attract him to Confucians, and Kung-sun Hung induced the Emperor to establish a Confucian Imperial University, which gradually distributed Confucian literati among the minor offices in the government. Emperor Hsüan likewise had a Confucian education; he favored Confucianism highly, enlarged the Imperial University, and fixed upon an official interpretation to the Confucian Classics. But he considered Confucian principles as impractical for government, so checked their influence by legalist principles. The final victory of Confucianism did not come until the reign of his son, Emperor Yüan. Thereafter Confucian doctrines became the sole guide for princes, except during the brief reign of Emperor Ai. The usurper Wang Mang and the revived Later Han Dynasty both honored these doctrines, and they continued to dominate the government until the end of that dynasty.

We can now see the causes that brought about the victory of Confucianism. In the first place, Confucianism was admirably adapted to be the official philosophy of an imperial government. Confucius was himself a government official and his pupils were people whose future lay mostly in official life. Consequently he stressed and taught ideals of good government. His ethics were aristocratic, that of the ruler who should be kind (jen) to his people, and of the subject who should be filial (hsiao), loyal (chung), and decorous (li) to his ruler.

In the second place, Confucius, as a good teacher, was himself a learned man, and those of his disciples who did not enter political life became the teachers of China. Confucius taught the literature of his people; the Confucians made themselves the scholarly authorities and teachers of that literature. Thus ancient Chinese literature, especially the best of it, became the literature of Confucianism, and was interpreted to teach Confucian lessons. Hence anyone who became interested in literature or scholarship naturally gravitated to the Confucians, for they possessed the scholarly traditions of the country, and anyone who acquired a scholarly education was inevitably given a Confucian indoctrination. In times of warfare, such as that towards the end of the period of Contending States, scholarship was unimportant, and Confucianism declined; but when peace was restored, so that scholarship became useful, Confucianism revived. Because Confucians inevitably became the tutors of the Heirs to the throne, rulers became indoctrinated in Confucian ideals. Even though a particular ruler might not be altogether Confucian, his son, who was affected by both his father's example and the influence of his Confucian tutor, was likely to be more Confucian, until the dynasty became wholly Confucian.

In the third place, certain governmental institutions put a premium upon Confucianism. In the time of Emperor Wen, it became the practise for the Emperor periodically to invite the provinces to send to him able persons; he selected among them by requiring to write essays on various subjects connected with government. The examination system, even in this early form, thus put a high premium upon literary ability, and hence upon a Confucian training. It was thus natural that the government should have been led to establish schools, in particular the Imperial University, graduates from which filled the bureaucracy with learned Confucians. Since Confucians were learned men, they naturally graded the examinations, hence kept non-Confucians out of the bureaucracy, not by any proscription, but by the simple device of ploughing non-Confucians.

In the fourth place, after its advantages were recognized, the advantage of unifying the country intellectually by making one system of thought current among all educated men led to the elevation of Confucianism. Shortly after Emperor Wu ascended the throne, in 141 B.C., Tung Chung-shu, in his reply to the imperial examination, presented his famous memorials concerning statecraft. One of the principles he therein advocated was that there should be an intellectual unification of the country by destroying all the non-Confucian philosophies. 14 These memorials seem to have made a deep impression upon Emperor Wu, for he immediately acted upon them, proscribing Legalism and elevating Confucians to be his highest officials. An intellectual unification had been previously attempted by Li Szu, the famous minister of the First Emperor, when in 213 B.C. he recommended the burning of the books and punishment of any one who criticized the Ch'in regime. The Confucians had roundly condemned this procedure. Emperor Wu was ambitious to equal the First Emperor in greatness; he was probably not loath similarly to unify the thought of his own time. While Emperor Wu later became lukewarm towards Confucianism, Emperor Hsüan was undoubtedly reminded of Tung Chung-shu's proposal and certainly recognized the advantages of this policy.

These four factors first demonstrated their effectiveness in Former Han times. They have undoubtedly continued to operate throughout Chinese history. At the end of the Later Han period, there seems to have been a collapse of Confucianism because sincere and long-continued attempts to put it into practise had failed to prevent the collapse of the dynasty; the ensuing long period of disorder naturally also brought about decay of Confucianism. When peace was restored in the T'ang period, these four factors again brought Confucianism to the front, although the dynasty's supposed descent from Lao-tzu kept it from becoming Confucian. In the next great dynasty, the Sung, there was naturally another peak of Confucian influence. That ascendency continued as long as peace enabled scholarship to be prized. Only in the modern period, when literature and learning have ceased to be synonymous with Confucian teaching and China has ceased to be an empire, has there been a marked break in the influence of Confucianism. In China, as in Europe, not until the advent of modern science put into man's hands another tool for reaching truth, has the power of the ancient authoritarian world-view been broken. (Reproduced, with permission and with modifications, from JOAS, Sept. 1938, vol. 58, no. 3, pp. 435-449.)


1. HS 6: 1b.

2. HS 6: 39a.

3. HS 52: 4a.

4. HS 52: 1a-4b.

5. Cf. HS 88: 3b.

6. Cf. SC 130: 8; HS 62: 6a-7a. Mohists are however referred to in the Huainan-tzu, which is a Former Han document.

7. It is quite likely that there were only five Erudits at this time, namely those for the five Confucian classics. It was customary for a great scholar to do most of his teaching through his more advanced disciples; Tung Chung-shu is said to have shut himself up to study and to have helped only his more advanced disciples; his more recent disciples could only get help from the more advanced ones, so that some of his disciples did not even see his face. Cf. HS 56: 1a.

8. Cf. HS 88: 3b-6a.

9. Taoism in the time of Emperor Wu was already taking over many superstitious practices, which Confucianism rejected, under the influence of Hsün-tzu's naturalism.

10. Cf. Mh III, 498; HS 25 A: 35b; 58: 12a, b, 13a.

11. Cf. HS 8: 23a; 88: 23b, 24a; 36: 7a; 73: 8a; 30: 7a, 12b, 17a, 20a, 21b. HHS, Mem. 38: 7a.

12. Cf. HS 9: 1b.

13. Cf. HS 9: 7a and n.7.5; also 5: n.9.9.

14. Cf. Fung Yu-lan, History of Chinese Philosophy, trans. D. Bodde, p. 16 f; W. Seufert in Mitteil. d. Seminar f. Orient. Sprache, 1922, pp. 1-50.

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