From Chronicle to Canon: The Hermeneutics of the Spring and Autumn according to Tung Chung-shu

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Every general account of the development of Chinese thought makes mention of Tung Chung-shu (ca. 195 - 105 B.C.E.) as one of the pivotal philosophers of the Han (206 B.C.E. - 220 C.E.). Tung's interpretations helped establish the first state-sponsored Confucian Canon, and created an ideal of the ruler and his role in government that was central to political discussion for two thousand years. The lengthy work attributed to him, the Luxuriant Gems of the Spring and Autumn (Ch'un-ch'iu fan-lu), has long been viewed as an important text for understanding the development of Chinese Confucianism. Professor Queen provides a new reading of this text and concludes that it was compiled several centuries after Tung's death, sometime between the third and sixth centuries C.E., from Tung's authentic writings and other materials not authored by him. By historizing the Luxuriant Gems of the Spring and Autumn, Queen allows a new view of Tung Chung-shu, one that sees his hermeneutics evolving not outside of history, but in relation to the political factors and doctrinal discourses that defined his day. Queen challenges the common assumption that Tung's purpose was to legitimate the political status quo. The author argues that Tung was a reformist, intent on persuading the emperor, whose power was institutionally unlimited, to accept voluntarily the role of sage-priest and become the ritual center of the realm, separated by his self-discipline from the business of governance for which his officials were responsible. From chronicle to canon also addresses Chinese religious phenomena. Approaching "scripture" not as a literary genre but as a religiohistorical phenomenon, Queen illuminates the nature of Confucian spirituality both in its own right and in relation to Western traditions of religiosity and textuality.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This study of Tung Chung-shu is welcomed and valuable to scholars of Chinese cosmological concerns and Han historical materials. For those interested in scripture debate, this volume furthers those issues in the Chinese context." Linda L. Lam-Easton, Religious Studies Review

"...this investigation describes him as a reformer and religious architect of the role of sage king in the Confucian system....[Queen] allows the reader to rethink much about the interrelation of politics and government....This book will prove valuable to scholars and students of culture because of its concise study of the way children are given an introduction and education into their religious and traditional background." Linda L. Lam-Easton, Religious Studies Review

"I would like to congratulate Sarah Queen upon her work in From Chronicle to Canon. It represents a solid achievement, upon which students of HAn will surely build." Michael Nylan, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies

"...From Chronicle to Canon provides a strong and definitive basis for further studies of both Dong and Han Dynasty uses of the Chunqiu in general." Mark Csikszentmihalyi, The Review of Politics

"This important book...adds to what we know and understand about Tung Chung-shu, and points the way to fruitful further investigations." John S. Major, Journal of Chinese Religions

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of tables
List of abbreviations
1 Introduction 1
2 A biography of Tung Chung-shu 13
3 A history of Tung Chung-shu's literary corpus 39
4 The authorship of the Ch'un-ch'iu fan-lu 69
5 The Spring and Autumn and Kung-yang tradition 115
6 Reforming the Ch'in laws 127
7 The wider circle of Han jurisprudence 163
8 Refashioning the imperial rites 182
9 Canon, cosmos, and court patronage 206
10 Conclusion 227
Appendix 1 The birth and death dates of Tung Chung-shu 241
Appendix 2 The dates of the Han-shu 56 memorials 249
Appendix 3 Han transmission of Kung-yang learning 255
Appendix 4 Han dynasty disciples of Tung Chung-shu 256
Appendix 5 Citations and titles attributed to Tung Chung-shu 259
Appendix 6 Transmission of Ch'un-ch'iu fan-lu editions 264
Selected bibliography 269
Index 279
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