Reconstructing the Confucian Dao: Zhu Xi's Appropriation of Zhou Dunyi

SUNY Press
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Discusses how Zhou Dunyi’s thought became a cornerstone of neo-Confucianism.

Zhu Xi, the twelfth-century architect of the neo-Confucian canon, declared Zhou Dunyi to be the first true sage since Mencius. This was controversial, as many of Zhu Xi’s contemporaries were critical of Zhou Dunyi’s Daoist leanings, and other figures had clearly been more significant to the Song dynasty Confucian resurgence. Why was Zhou Dunyi accorded such importance? Joseph A. Adler finds that the earlier thinker provided an underpinning for Zhu Xi’s religious practice. Zhou Dunyi’s theory of the interpenetration of activity and stillness allowed Zhu Xi to proclaim that his own theory of mental and spiritual cultivation mirrored the fundamental principle immanent in the natural world. This book revives Zhu Xi as a religious thinker, challenging longstanding characterizations of him. Readers will appreciate the inclusion of complete translations of Zhou Dunyi’s major texts, Zhu Xi’s published commentaries, and other primary source material.
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About the author

Joseph A. Adler is Professor of Asian Studies and Religious Studies at Kenyon College. He is the author of Chinese Religious Traditions.
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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Jun 1, 2014
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781438451589
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Eastern
Religion / Confucianism
Religion / Eastern
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The I Ching, or Book of Changes, has been one of the two or three most influential books in the Chinese canon. It has been used by people on all levels of society, both as a method of divination and as a source of essential ideas about the nature of heaven, earth, and humankind. During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Sung dynasty literati turned to it for guidance in their fundamental reworking of the classical traditions. This book explores how four leading thinkers--Su Shih, Shao Yung, Ch'eng I, and Chu Hsi--applied the I Ching to these projects. These four men used the Book of Changes in strikingly different ways. Yet each claimed to find in it a sure foundation for human values. Their work established not only new meanings for the text but also new models for governance and moral philosophy that would be debated throughout the next thousand years of Chinese intellectual history. By focusing on their uses of the I Ching, this study casts a unique light on the complex continuity-within-change and rich diversity of Sung culture.

Originally published in 1990.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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