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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Chinese Politics

Tradition and Modernity by Chen Lai, translated by Edmund Ryden (Brill's Humanities in China Library Volume 3: Brill Academic Publishers) The question for twentieth-century China has been the integration of tradition and modernity. In this collection of essays written over a period of twenty years (1987-2006), Chen Lai reflects on the question in an informative and original way. He reads behind the political slogans and engages with the thought both of Max Weber, Talcott Parsons, and western sociology, and representative Chinese thinkers, notably Feng Youlan and Liang Shuming. While the focus is on China, the book also appeals to anyone interested in this fascinating question of how to modernize whilst retaining the positive values of tradition. Chen Lai's unique and balanced grasp of society marks him out as the foremost thinker in China on this topic today. More

Ritual and Deference: Extending Chinese Philosophy in a Comparative Context by Robert Cummings Neville (SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture: State University of New York Press) develops the author's thesis that contemporary philosophy has much to gain by shaping itself through important themes of the Chinese philosophical traditions, especially the themes of ritual and deference. Neville here offers a broad and detailed interpretation of the relevance of Confucianism and Daoism to contemporary issues. The discussion includes analyses of classical Confucian and Daoist texts, especially those of Xunzi and Laozi, and of the current scene of English-speaking philosophy advancing Chinese themes. The book also reflects on the nature of comparative philosophy as such, and the role that comparative philosophy has in the ongoing contemporary engagement with globalization, the clash of cultures, and scientific transformations of the worldviews of diverse civilizations. Neville stresses the importance of deferring to the integrity of cultures while still submitting them to normative analysis and criticism.

"Neville addresses an important methodological issue in contemporary Asian and comparative thought by surveying, drawing on, and adding to recent scholarship. Moreover, he has taken the next step by enthusiastically implementing concrete projects relating to Chinese wisdom for the benefit of contemporary life throughout the globe. It is rare to read an academic work that can elicit joyous laughter in response to the author's sage yet delightfully presented thoughts." — Sandra A. Wawrytko, San Diego State University

Excerpt: This book is intended for thinkers who have, or ought to have, an interest in comparative philosophy embracing Chinese and Western traditions. My own formal education was strictly in Western philosophy, religion, and culture. Introduced to Chinese philosophy (and Indian philosophy) by Thomas Berry at Fordham University, I could not easily understand my enthusiasm for the Chinese traditions. Indian philosophy was interesting to me, as was a range of other "non-Western" traditions, but none held the degree of fascination China did. Comparative philosophy has helped me see how my particular enthusiasms within Chinese philosophy connect with my enthusiasms in Western thinking.p>

Unlike most Western thinkers, I have been unable to make any intellectually satisfactory or practically helpful distinction between philosophy and religion. To put the matter more precisely, I have been unable to distinguish between the living practice of philosophy and the practice of religion by intellectually curious people. So I think of myself as a philosopher, or theologian, or philosophical theologian, or philosopher of religion, or religious philosopher, who draws constructively from Chinese as well as Western sources, and from others.

Primarily what I do with these sources is to construct a philosophy with which to engage the issues of our time, including the perennial ones. This philosophy is a complex hypothesis, or a set of hypotheses, or a bunch of hypotheses, that are tested for coherence and consistency, applicability to our world, adequacy in representing the things of importance within it, and fruitfulness in advancing the global conversation about what to be and do. The cases to be made for the various points in my philosophy are of many different sorts, but rarely of the sort that says my hypothesis is strictly true and everyone else's is mistaken. Rather, I usually want to call attention to points that other philosophies neglect, and to criticize that neglect while making my own hypotheses vulnerable to correction. The chapters in this book collectively represent a partial reading of Chinese philosophy, often in explicit comparison with philosophies from other traditions, and as making a contribution to the larger world philosophic dialogue.

I write as a constructive and systematic philosopher (although my own system is not much expressed directly in this volume), not as a Sinologist. Most English-speakers writing about Chinese philosophy are Sinologists, and will immediately see the failures in these chapters to exhibit the discipline and perspective of Sinology. The virtues I hope they see instead are the particular insights that come from engaging the Chinese tradition as a living philosophy. The reception of my Boston Confucianism: Portable Tradition in the Late-Modern World encourages me to stake out a place as a Confucian philosopher and practitioner.' I hope readers will overlook the hubris involved in suggesting that one of the many interesting ways in which Confucianism is being developed in our time is the way my philosophy does so. Although I share the Confucian tradition's emphasis on ethics, self-cultivation, and social philosophy, I also have devoted much time to metaphysical issues. The metaphysical system I have been developing derives many of its terms and issues from Western philosophy. Nevertheless, it gives contemporary representation to fundamental Confucian metaphysical themes such as process, organic connection, the pervasiveness of value, a continuum of immanent and relatively transcendent principles, and the conviction that metaphysics is pragmatically necessary for living well. Systematic thinking is for the sake of deepening practice to make it more attentive to the truly important things in the world. All these themes are Platonic as well as Confucian, and all comport with certain traditions within Christian theology. So I admit to being a Platonist and Christian, as well as a Confucian. In modern terms, I am an heir and extender of pragmatism as well.

Some thinkers are deeply concerned with "membership," that is, with whether one is truly and wholehearted committed to one's tradition. In Chinese philosophy this concern manifests itself in disputes about the "true lineage" of Confucianism. For instance, Zhu Xi read Xunzi out of the lineage when he edited the classics, and, more recently, Mou Zhongsan suggested that Wang Yangming rather than Zhu Xi is the authentic transmitter of the Mencian tradition. Western philosophy has had a myriad of schools of Platonism, not only Ancient, Middle, and Neo. Christianity, of course, is rife with divisions. Many Christians believe that salvation depends on whether one belongs to their particular sect, and not to the others, surely not to a non-Christian group. For thinkers concerned with membership, it often seems impossible to be a Confucian, Platonist, and Christian at once.

I do not share this deep concern for membership. In each of the sources commended for contemporary life, we should emphasize some strains and not others. Given the contradictions, even violent contradictions, between kinds of Christianity, only some can be affirmed. I have a particular reading of Platonism quite different from the readings popularized by Aristotelians (who tend to treat him as a dualist who believed in independent existence for sep arate forms). In contrast to several of my close Confucian colleagues, for instance, Tu Weiming, Cheng Chungying, and Liu Shu-hsien, all of whom take their agenda from an extension of Neo-Confucianism, I take mine from ancient Confucianism, particularly from Xunzi's reading of Confucius. In this I join with Roger Ames and David Hall, although we differ on other issues. The point is, a constructive philosophy draws affirmatively from a highly select reading of its sources. The corollary is that a large part of the defense of a philosophy comes from dialogue about why these strains are the ones to affirm and others to suppress.

The chapters in this volume all originated as invited lectures or essays solicited for particular occasions or projects. Although they have been edited to cohere in this book, with cross-references and the elimination of some repetition, their different tones reflect the differences in their origins. Originally stand-alone presentations, they have accessibility rare in my usually oh-so-serious, turgid, monographic prose. The first two chapters express my most general assessment of what is valuable in Confucianism for the contemporary age and articulate the development of these themes as projects. Chapter 1 began as the Daxia Lecture for 2005, delivered at the East China Normal University in Shanghai, under the original title "The Expanding Family of Contemporary Confucian Thought." It was translated into Chinese and I understand has circulated widely over the Internet in China. The chapter, as an introduction to this volume, claims that the Confucian tradition has worthy themes to develop in metaphysics, cosmology, the understanding of human nature and experience, and in social theory. But those themes need to be restated in ways that connect with the larger philosophical discussion for Confucianism to be a vital participant in the dialogue.

Chapter 2 originated as "The Contemporary Significance of Confucian Values," a lecture at a conference in Seoul, Korea, honoring Yulgok on the general theme "From Chaos to Order," in February 2005; it was published in English, Korean, and Chinese, in the Journal of Yulgok Studies 1:1 (Fall 2005). A briefer version of the lecture was delivered at the 2004 meeting of the American Philosophical Association. Its principal thesis is that Confucian values can be rearticulated to express a conception of the "good life" in a global, multicultural context in which basic values in life are disputed; the chief Confucian contribution is its theory of ritual for how one can negotiate fundamental differences about the good life.

Chapter 3 is an analysis of ritual and desire in Xunzi, the great ancient theoretician of Confucian ritual themes. It expands on the remarks about Xunzi's ritual theory in chapter 2 and argues that Charles Peirce's pragmatic semiotic theory is well suited to bring ritual theory into the present discussion. Then it analyzes the role of ritual in the formation of desire, according to Xunzi, and the role of desire in forming great civilizational values such as the "good life." The competition among desires, and the martial and psychic forces required for their integration in ritual, together constitute a conception of the inner self as filled with explosive contradictions, under pressure, that relates far more closely to post-Freudian and zschean thinking than to the relatively simpler idealism of Mencius. An earlier version of this chapter is forthcoming in a volume of essays on Xunzi edited by T. C. Kline III.

Chapter 4 continues the exploration of the ancient Chinese tradition with a focus on Daoist ethics, and some comparisons with the Confucian. Whereas metaphysics has often been an assumed subtheme in Confucianism, in philosophical Daoism the vision of nature and its fundamental characters is an immediate and important source for ethics. The chapter explores Daoist metaphysics in the Daodejing and in Wangbi. A critical difference between Daoist and Confucian approaches to ethics derives from their different senses of timing. Whereas for the classical philosophical Daoists the continuities and spontaneous changes in nature set the time, for the Confucians time is kept by the scale of human projects, administering the yearly changes, raising a family, getting through the semester. The first three sections of this chapter began with a version published with the same title in the Journal of Chinese Philosophy 29:1 (March 2002), pp. 5-20.

Chapters 5 and 6 deal with the reception and use of Chinese philosophy in the contemporary situation. Chapter 5 classifies and surveys influences of Chinese philosophy in the English-speaking world, from translations to working philosophers. Several of our contemporary thinkers, in English, about Chinese philosophy are discussed at length. The chapter began as an article called "Chinese Philosophy in English-Speaking Countries," published in Chinese in a volume entitled The Map of Contemporary British and American Philosophy, edited by Kang Ouyang and Steve Fuller (Beijing: People's Press, 2005); more material from that article is in chapter 12. Chapter 6, which in an early draft was published with the title "Methodology, Practices, and Discipline in Chinese and Western Philosophy" in Two Roads to Wisdom?, edited by Bo Mou (LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 2001), discusses at length what the practice of philosophy means when based on Chinese models.

Chapter 7 expands the discussion of metaphysics broached in chapter 1 by arguing, first, that there is a legitimate need for metaphysics, Kantian refutations notwithstanding, and, second, that China as well as the West need to adapt their metaphysical ideas to the new world of science. Some of these ideas are spelled out, and directions for their development are indicated. This chapter began as a contribution for the special thirtieth anniversary edition of the Journal of Chinese Philosophy 30:3, 4 (September/December 2003), pp. 313-326.

Herbert Fingarette was one of the first Western trained philosophers to take Confucianism seriously, and his Confucius: The Secular as Sacred made the classic argument that the twin themes of humaneness (ren) and ritual propri ety (li) get to the heart of Confucianism as a contemporary viable philosophy. His thesis is discussed at several places in this volume. Chapter 8 asks a Western question about humaneness and ritual propriety. How do they stand with respect to unconscious motivation and value? A Freudian reading and a Marxist reading are developed. The overall point of the argument is that those Confucian values (and much else in Chinese thought) need to lose the "first naiveté" of mere cultural transmission and be rethought through the masters of suspicion. This chapter continues the development of a modern Confucian theory of interiority. One early version of this chapter was presented as part of a Festschrift to Mikhail L. Titarenko in China in the Dialogue of Civilizations: For the 70-Year Jubilee of Academician Mikhail L. Titarenko (Moscow: Russian Academy of Sciences/Institute of Far Eastern Studies/Pamyatniki Istoricheskoy Mysli, 2004), pp. 653-660. Another early version was published in Confucianism in Dialogue Today: West, Christianity, and Judaism, edited by Liu Shu-hsien, John H. Berthrong, and Leonard Swidler (Philadelphia, PA: Ecumenical Press, 2004), pp. 48-58.

Chapter 9 is the first of three that focus explicitly on comparative issues. It takes up the question of the relation between Confucianism and Christianity and originated as a keynote address for a conference honoring the late Julia Ching. Professor Ching was probably our greatest student of the ongoing historical connections between those two religious traditions and collaborated in several works with the Roman Catholic theologian Hans Kung, who also delivered a keynote address. The focus of the chapter is on how the two traditions contribute to one another now, a topic of obvious importance to people who admit to be practicing both. The argument is about practical politics, putting forward a Confucian/Christian alternative to the preemptive war practice of the American government and Al Qaeda. The original lecture was published in Wisdom in China and the West: Chinese Philosophical Studies XXII, edited by Vincent Shen and Willard Oxtoby, Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change Series III, Asia, Volume 22,2004, general editor George F. McLean.

Chapter 10 deals with the question of whether the ultimate is to be conceived in personal or impersonal terms, according to Chinese and Western traditions, and I argue that every tradition has a spectrum of issues that cause it to deal with both personal and impersonal representations. An early draft was presented at a session 'on Field-Being at the American Academy of Religion in 1999.

Chapter 11 is devoted to issues of comparison per se. It first discusses issues in comparative theology, where concerns for the ultimate are uppermost and the nagging meta-issue is whether a thinker needs to belong to several traditions in order to compare them; what is the relation of comparative theology to religious practice? Then it distinguishes two forms of comparative philosophy (and the forms apply as well to comparative theology), namely, descriptive or objective comparison and normative comparison that attempts to say what is true and valuable in the traditions compared. Finally it defends a move beyond comparison, even normative comparison, to integrative philosophy. Integrative philosophy is constructive, and so this argument is crucial for my own project, and that of those contemporary thinkers whom I hope to inspire to take Chinese philosophy as a major resource. Part of this chapter appeared in the inaugural edition of Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 1:1 (Winter 2001), pp. 1-13; other parts were published in the American Philosophical Association special newsletter on comparative philosophy, edited by henyang Li, in 2001-2002.

Chapter 12 summarizes the main themes of the previous chapters, presenting them as tasks for future work developing the Confucian tradition in its relations with others.

Statecraft and Classical Learning: The Rituals of Zhou in East Asian History edited by Benjamin A. Elman (Editor), Martin A. Kern  (Studies in the History of Chinese Texts: Brill Academic Publishers)  Statecraft and Classical Learning is devoted to the Rituals of Zhou, one of the ancient Chinese Classics. In addition to its canonical stature in classical learning, the massive text was of unique significance to the pre-modern statecraft of China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam where it served as the classical paradigm for government structure and was often invoked in movements of political reform. The present volume, with contributions from twelve leading North American, European, and East Asian scholars, is the first in any language to illuminate the Rituals in both dimensions. It presents a multifaceted and fascinating picture of the life of the text from its inception some two millennia ago to its modern political and scholarly discourse.

Benjamin A. ELMAN, Ph.D. (1980) in Oriental Studies, University of Pennsylvania, is Professor of East Asian Studies and History at Princeton University. He has published widely on Chinese intellectual history, the history of education, and the history of science in China.

Martin KERN, Ph.D. (1996) in Chinese Studies, Cologne University (Germany), is Professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton University. He has published extensively in the fields of ancient Chinese literature, history, and religion.

Excerpt from INTRODUCTION by Benjamin A. Elman and Martin Kern

The Rituals of Zhou (Zhouli, hereafter Rituals) became one of the nine (later thirteen) Confucian Classics during the Tang dynasty (618-907). A late Warring States (480-221 BCE) or very possibly imperial Qin dynasty (221-206 BCE) text, it had reached its final form by the time of Zheng Xuan's (127-200) commentary. Written in early classical Chinese, the text is divided into six sections, the "offices" (guan) of Heaven, Earth, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, corresponding to the government Ministries of State, Education, Ritual, War, Justice, and Works, respectively. Its listings of 366 offices in these sections are arranged hierarchically, specifying the duties and staff members of each position and altogether presenting the structure of a six-part government with clearly divided responsibilities. While the first five sections of the received text are likely of pre-Han origin, the sixth, the "Artificer's Record" ("Kaogong ji"), is a Western Han (202 BCE-9 CE) substitution for a purportedly lost earlier chapter (see chapter 11 in the present volume). The Rituals is an idealized blueprint for government organization that appears to include very ancient—indeed, Western Zhou (ca. 1046-771 BCE) knowledge side by side with Warring States/early imperial political thought and government organization.

In Han times (202 BCE-220 CE), the text was known as Zhouguan, a title possibly better understood not as Offices of Zhou but as Comprehensive Offices, with the word zhou used in its meaning of "comprehensive" rather than referring to the earlier dynasty (see chapter 1 in the present volume). The Rituals was special among the Classics in that the text at no point alludes to any particular historical frame of reference. The line that opens each of the six divisions of the text, wei Wang jian guo DJ, is most likely to be taken as a generic and timeless formulation that "it is the king who establishes the state" rather than "it was the (Zhou) king who established the state." Moreover, it was apparently only with the appearance of Zheng Xuan's commentary that scholars attributed the text to the sagely regent of the early Western Zhou, the Duke of Zhou (Zhou gong) as regent 1042-1036 BCE). Like no other text among the Chinese Classics, the Rituals enjoyed a dual reception, first in imperial China and then across East Asia: on the one hand, it was cherished as a work of canonical learning; on the other hand, it was on several occasions applied to the actual administration of the state.

The text is said to have been first employed for political ends by the Han minister Liu Xin (46 BCE-23 CE) in an effort to legitimize the short-lived Xin C dynasty (9-23) that Wang Mang (45 BCE-23 CE) had established in a coup. While the full extent to which Wang Mang used the Rituals is difficult to pinpoint (see chapter 4), the text did become a blueprint for the structure of government when the Northern Wei dynasty RN, (386-534) designed their administration following the listings of offices in the Rituals and, in 398, constructed their new capital at Pingcheng J (modern Datong )c , Shanxi Province) according to the precepts of the "Artificer's Record," the sixth and final section of the Rituals. Between 491 and 495, in a series of somewhat symbolic moves, the royal ancestral temple and at least some of the palace halls, along with the official measures of length and capacity, were brought into accordance with the Rituals.

Beginning in 546, the subsequent Western Wei dynasty (534557) created its own government layout on the basis of the Rituals, with Yuwen Tai S& (506-556), a military general who had become the highest official at court, being the driving force. In 556—a year before the official end of the dynasty the central administration was reorganized according to the six ministries outlined in the classical text. In 557, following an act of usurpation, Yuwen Tai's son Yu-wen Jue W (542-557) established his new dynasty now programmatically named the Northern Zhou (557-581) and inherited the administrative system initiated by his father. In the process, he declared himself the new "Duke of Zhou" and elevated his father with the title of "King Wen" (Wen wang) in imitation of the revered progenitor of the ancient Zhou, King Wen (who likewise had passed away shortly before his son founded the Zhou dynasty).

It must be noted that the Northern Wei Jon, (386-533), Western Wei, and Northern Zhou were all non-Chinese dynasties, with their royal clans coming from the northern Xianbei people (the Northern Wei was founded by the Tuoba clan; the Western Wei and Northern Zhou by the Yuwen '47 34..). In contrast to their appropriation of the Rituals, outlined below, the Northern Zhou rulers highlighted Indian motifs in the Buddhist sculptures they sponsored in northwest China to augment their religious identities as a non-Han people.

Yet their leaders also invoked the Rituals, and with it the founding heroes and purported institutional framework of the Zhou dynasty, to provide their non-Chinese dynasties, now ruling over key parts of northern China that in high antiquity had been the heartland of the Zhou dynasty, with classical precedent and Confucian legitimacy. Their attempts to put the idealized bureaucracy of the Rituals into actual political practice were embedded in a larger program of classical learning—complete with a royal academy (taixue) and officially appointed "erudites" (boshi)—which was focused on the ritual canons and strived to exploit the perennial ideal of "antiquity."

It was perhaps because of the use of the Rituals first by the "usurper" Wang Mang and then by non-Chinese clans that neither the Sui (581-618) nor the Tang dynasties followed suit. Although classical scholarship on the Rituals continued (see chapter 6), the actual political use of the text declined. It was only during the Northern Song (960-1127) period that literati scholars such as Cheng Yi (1033-1107) argued once again that fathoming the Classics empowered rulers and officials to legislate according to the institutional model provided in the Offices of Zhou. Thereafter, Wang Anshi (1021-1086), as chief minister under Emperor Shenzong (r. 1068-1085), used the Rituals to authorize the ill-fated New Policies of 1069—undoubtedly the most infamous attempt throughout Chinese imperial history to put the text directly into governmental practice.

Many later literati accused Wang Anshi of having politically exploited the Rituals in a manner that reminded them of its alleged earlier manipulations by Liu Xin and Wang Mang. As a result, Wang Anshi's unprecedented statecraft repertoires were thought to have harmed the empire and impaired the clear fathoming of the Classics. For the state examinations of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties, official examiners frequently asked the candidates for the civil service to manifest the Rituals ideal in tangible ways or to critique its earlier misuses by Wang Mang, Wang Anshi, and others.

In addition, the transmission of Chinese classical learning and statecraft to Japan, Korea, and Vietnam meant that the Rituals was also part of the repertoires of world-ordering techniques that East Asian kingdoms gleaned from the larger Chinese empire in their midst. The appropriations of the Rituals by Japanese, Koreans, and Vietnamese actually disputed the centrality of "China" and its heritage of "Confucianism" when non-Chinese such as the Mongols and Manchus militarily conquered and ruled China. During times of "barbarian" rule (by Chinese standards), the dragon throne in Beijing and the classical learning of Chinese officials were often gainsaid outside the empire, when first Korea and then Japan and Vietnam could legitimately claim they were the "second Rome" in East Asia.

The present volume is the result of a series of three workshops, capped by a final conference in December 2006. When we began with our first workshop at UCLA in the fall of 2003, it was remarkable how little we knew about the Rituals as a classical text or its long-term historical role in the discourses of ideal government in premodern China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Except for a few noteworthy studies that had focused on the Wang Mang era and Wang Anshi's reform program, we knew little about much of its longer history of uses as a political paradigm for classical governance in China. We knew next to nothing about its significance in Japan, Korea, or Vietnam.

During our meetings, we sought to present a more nuanced and balanced understanding of the Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese appropriations of the Chinese statecraft repertoire enunciated in the Rituals. In reality, many disputed the centrality of "China" and its heritage of "Confucianism." To clarify these conflicting views, we—to paraphrase John Duncan's comments at the first workshop—explored the various polar tensions that inform social science and cultural history when approaching textual and historical sources: between the reductive theory that depicts texts as mere representations of social or economic reality and the equally reductive approach that sees all social or economic relations as culturally transparent, and between the urge to find unity of intellectual meaning in the Rituals and the drive to uncover only social, political, and economic differences in practice.

Our goal was to show how an apparently common Confucian statecraft discourse in Asia was appropriated differently in various regions and among various social groups as the consequence of divergent and historically contingent social, economic, and political circumstances.

This volume, then, is a description of the diverse modes of appropriation over the centuries and across the East Asian region, which loosely define the Rituals of Zhou in light of the uses made of it. We do not attempt to ask, or answer, the essentializing question: What is the Rituals? Partly as a reflection of these multiple perspectives, we as editors do not think the volume requires a single, unified perspective in this "Introduction"; nor does it require a definitive "Conclusion" for such a deliberately wide-ranging conference volume. Instead, we want the richness of the Rituals to appear without conflating the different forms of its reception in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. We realized at the final conference that we are not twelve actors in search of a single author who could encompass all our points of view. Taking into account the comments of our workshop and conference commentators, especially those of our consummate insider Willard Peterson, we as editors are, however, assuming a more authorial voice when in the following we are summarizing the key arguments from the collected articles.

In this volume, every author attempts to identify how the Rituals entered into each era's debates about premodern East Asian statecraft, which we define broadly as the concern for establishing sociopolitical, economic, and cultural order in the world. We also explore what those debates were about and how the Rituals related rhetorically to competing arguments from other texts concerning how such order could be best achieved. For all the authors, what unifies their distinct accounts of the various receptions of the Rituals across history and beyond China is how its codified vision of government offices was embraced and implemented, always with imperfect results, in a setting of political conflict requiring rhetorical debate. Thus, we also try to address scholars outside Asian studies who, like two of our outside commentators, Christopher Minkowski (Oxford) and Michael Cook (Princeton), are interested in ritual in India and Islam, in the history of law (especially the diffusion of Roman law but also the adaptations of Mosaic law), and in institutional history (Rome again but also Islam and India). The parallels we draw below to Rome are limited to the early period because of Rome's precipitous fall when compared with the longevity of the Chinese empire, but the comparisons still have heuristic value. The medieval period from the Tang is better compared with the contemporary Abbasid Caliphate centered in Bagdad until the Mongol conquest of the Islamic world.

Imperial China, like imperial Rome, represented the climax of ancient empire building. How did these new states of an unprecedented scale emerge at the end of the first millennium BCE? Their synchronicity as non-contiguous empires remains a historical puzzle, but they can be nonetheless compared in light of each other as empires of scale because each sought to unify huge landmasses and extraordinarily diverse populations. These new states were the first empires in the sense that we usually think of superstates of enormous size that became the dominant powers in their own world. Using our template based on the Rituals, we will note how imperial ideologies in China, although different from Rome's, for example, enhanced their ability to extract resources via tribute from subject populations. Even if dissimilar in origins, the expansionist aims of these states and their agrarian economies, political cultures, and social organization were remarkably similar.

In East Asia, contending states and armies constructed their political ideals and goals according to the models of past empires from an allegedly golden age. "What is an empire?" the Chinese asked themselves during the Warring States era, a time of turmoil when political unity seemed a far-off dream. Following the Qin unification, new rulers and subjects perceived Zhou ancient imperial culture as an ideal to be emulated. The Rituals represented that ideal for two millennia, a process that we trace in this volume. Looking to tradition, the Chinese tried to combine the earlier ideals of the Three Dynasties of Antiquity—Xia (not dated), Shang (ca. 1600-1046 BCE), and Western Zhou—with the kind of state power left to them by the discredited First Emperor of Qin (ruled as emperor 221-210 BCE).

If empires were the ideal, then the bigger the better in both China and Rome. Size and scale were not just ideological ideals in the Rituals. Unlike rulers of more localized states in the Aegean who made a virtue out of decentralization, the Han Chinese and the Romans simply assumed that large empires brought more wealth, more power, more prestige, more of almost everything under their aegis, including colossal headaches when things went wrong. If any one characteristic set China and Rome as world empires apart from their predecessors, it was the scale of their operations and control mechanisms, although the scope of Alexander the Great's empire provided a unique precedent in the Hellenistic world. Rome and the Han each became the single great power that dominated many different peoples and places. At roughly the same point in time, they were able to integrate more people and more productive, and destructive, force than any other human community before.

A fascination with the past made earlier imperial models, particularly the early Zhou dynasty, compelling to the Chinese, a concern transmitted to their neighbors as well. Since the Han dynasty, they not only emulated the great Zhou that preceded them but also literally built their palaces right next to the previous or ancient capitals (not so much directly upon them as in Rome). They believed that the conquests of Han Wudi m (r. 141-87 BCE) would mark the climax of the ancient world. The Romans, on the other hand, although traditional, were less fascinated with earlier great powers in the Mediterranean. One obvious and important difference was that Rome's predecessors were not Roman, while in China, they were Chinese. Thus, the Romans had to build their own new empire while the Chinese could claim to continue an earlier, if temporarily lost, cultural and political realm. Both empires created clear and indelible concepts of what it was to be an empire and to behave imperially. For China, that blueprint would often but not always be the Rituals, and occasionally also the "Grand Plan" ("Hong fan" 'MO model of nested domains presented in the Classic of Documents (Shangshu).

When the Han fell in the early third century and the Western Roman Empire disintegrated in the fifth, they both survived as model empires. While Rome replaced the Hellenistic model of Alexander in the Mediterranean, the Han overcame the legacy of the Qin in the name of restoring the ancient Zhou as the empire par excellence in East Asia, a claim that was arguably more important to the Eastern than to the Western Han. Successor states in the Mediterranean sought to become the "second Rome," and after the Han dynasty fell, the Chinese continuously called themselves as a people and their language "the Han." But the ideological underpinnings of empire in China and its institutional bulk were often traced back to Western Zhou times and were seen as having been articulated by the author(s) of the Rituals during the late Warring States and, possibly, Qin and Han times.

David Schaberg and others contend in this volume that the Rituals originated in the Qin context after the immense power of oratory, scheming, and strategic thought had become widely recognized and, in some quarters, feared during the preceding Warring States era. Such oratorical claims can be somewhat compared to the discussions in fifth century BCE Athens, viz. Socrates and Plato versus the sophists. By then, the Rituals' careful guidelines for channeling political speech for a unified realm were clearly preferred over the alternative an uncontrolled flow of speakers and schemes among competing polities, which they could not have known prevailed in ancient Greece, for example. This was only one aspect of the rationale for the existence of the Rituals as a statecraft text, but the dangers of disruptive pluralism provided the historical context against which the idealization of a centralized state—as espoused in the Rituals—was written and cited during the early empire and thereafter.

The political reading of the Rituals was not a Chinese monopoly, however, and the historical association of the Rituals with the Duke of Zhou, and hence with the early Zhou dynasty, during the early and middle empires of Han and Tang did not preclude its emulation beyond China's borders. JaHyun Haboush (chapter 10) and Kate Nakai (chapter 9) contend that even though the Rituals had been officially part of the Confucian canon since Tang times, we cannot assume that it was drawn upon in identical ways throughout East Asia. Thus, Haboush and Nakai problematize the relationship between the distinctive nature of the Confucian canon and the cultural histories of the East Asian region, especially for those outside China who appropriated the Rituals for different purposes. What was distinct about the Confucian canon was that the Classics were simultaneously political and social, unlike the core text(s) in post-Roman Europe or the Middle East, which were primarily religious or sacral.

Because the text was fundamentally open to appropriations beyond the Chinese political realm proper, one way to study the Rituals in its full historical complexity is to reimagine how the different states in East Asia, especially Korea and Japan, applied the canon to their uniquely different circumstances. Studying the various ways in which the Rituals was appropriated and reappropriated allows us to unpack the distinctive ways in which different East Asian societies imagined themselves as states at different moments in history. The later chapters in this volume take this perspective to heart and explore how the geopolitical spatial imaginaries of different societies and of later dynasties in China played out. When did a society conceive of itself as a state or as an empire? Since our goal is to think about the Rituals in the larger East Asian context, these issues force us to fully acknowledge the different ways in which the text was used in different East Asian coun tries that did not share the Chinese conception of its own geopolitical spatial imaginary and neither did the later imperial dynasties within China reproduce exactly the same statecraft policies.

Why should we focus on the Rituals? Rather than another study of one of the Confucian Classics, the most persuasive answer we have given, and we hope our readers will share, is that this project is a step toward a better understanding of the statecraft terms in which premodern East Asian political thought, and with it the theory and practice of legitimacy, operated. Each of us seeks to clarify in our periods why the Rituals was a central, constitutionalizing text, especially but not only in the political-governmental sphere; and each of us has made it his or her task to thoroughly historicize the specific uses of the text. Based on the questions that came up during our meetings about relating actual historical rulers, courtiers, officials, and scholars with the Rituals, we have learned that we cannot just assume the text's association with politics for example, with Wang Mang's troubled reign—without knowing the history of the text itself and its widely divergent uses. Hence we draw a distinction between the text itself and the uses made of it in different contexts within China proper by both Han Chinese such as Wang Mang and non-Chinese such as the northern Xianbei rulers of the Northern Zhou.

As a group, the authors all recognized the need to render benign the tendency to polarize pragmatic versus rhetorical uses of the Rituals. The text, after all, was not merely an ideological smokescreen wielded by those who opportunistically appealed to ancient models and precedents. At the same time, the Rituals was endowed with great classical prestige since the Han dynasty (when it was probably completed), and it was rhetorically exploited for this reason. Since Tang times, it was classified as one of the Nine Confucian Classics because it described the ideal government established by the ancient sage- kings. Soon thereafter, the Rituals was famously appropriated by Wang Anshi in his activist reforms called the New Policies (1070s-1120s). For these, Wang interpreted the text as the ideal of a centralized bureaucratic system of government that prioritized interventionist strategies for social equity and welfare. Evidently, the Rituals did invite such vicarious co-option, since the time of Wang Mang, but such adaptations outside of China in Japan, Korea, or Vietnam were not always totalistic or based on the entire textual corpus as we have it now. While none of us has been so positivistic as to believe the Rituals was an actual blueprint for casting bronzes or creating political institutions, the legitimacy that the champions of the text tried to invoke encompassed political, social, and technical aspects of ideal statecraft.

We have also discovered that, in addition to enunciating the statecraft uses of the Rituals, East Asian commentators over time found in it the ways in which the Zhou dynasty had bequeathed ancient civilizing processes through prescribed rituals and, furthermore, large-scale dynastic craft production that employed hundreds of artisans in court-sponsored mines and factories. Given these multiple perspectives and uses of the text, it has been our goal to be explicit in our diverse analyses of the statecraft, civilizational, or artisanal uses of the Rituals.

In terms of statecraft, for example, we discussed at least three somewhat overlapping but also mutually exclusive views of the fundamental political differences enunciated in the text: Michael Nylan (chapter 3) stresses that, when seen as a Han dynasty composite text, the Rituals presents us with a statecraft discourse that sees states in light of "direct versus indirect" rule, not "central" versus "feudal." Jaeyoon Song (chapter 8), on the other hand, maintains that the key division in Song times was that of a "centralized" versus "decentralized" administration.

The usual concepts of "absolutist" versus "authoritarian" or "autocratic," which have been used to understand the Rituals in the past, are problematized in this volume. We do not expect our authors or our readers to agree on which terminology might be best, but we think all of us are now explicit about why we use the terms we do. Overall, we think it worthwhile to try to show that the role of the "Classics" (jing, lit., "warp" hence the image of guidance, coherence, and continuity) in premodern Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese politics was analogous to that of charters and constitutions in Western political culture. Premodern East Asian governments legitimated the constitutionality of their royal states (Korea and Vietnam) and empires (China and Japan) through classical political discourse. Political reform and classical debate went hand in hand. Imposing themselves on the interpretation of the Classics such as the Rituals allowed rulers and ministers to think they could limit the discourse regarding their own justifications for holding state power—even though the Classics were never actually controlled by those rulers and ministers.

We must admit that, in the end, our volume has turned out to be more sinocentric than initially envisioned. Unfortunately, several participants in an earlier project entitled Rethinking Confucianism: Past and Present in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam (Los Angeles: UCLA Asian Pacific Monograph Series, 2002), including John Duncan, were unable to join us at the final conference. Martina Deuchler attended the conference and offered us some introductory notes about statecraft in premodern Korea, which inform our comments in this introduction. Meanwhile, we are all the more delighted that the two chapters on Japanese and Korean uses of Rituals statecraft help us to continue the larger intellectual project of rethinking the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese uses of the Confucian Classics in East Asia.

We hope that readers will sympathize with our efforts to be more ecumenical about East Asia and not just assume that the editors' sinological predilections took easy precedence in this volume. The fact that classical scholars in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam could see themselves as representatives of "second Romes" when compared to China should caution us about a merely sinocentric view of the Rituals. When Korean yangban (the two strata of literary and military elites) found in it the justification for the enslavement of criminals, and hence the raison d'être for slavery altogether, their way of appropriating the ancient text was as relevant as that of any Chinese official. Of course, the notion of a "second Rome" only takes us so far; after all, unlike Rome in 410 CE, the Chinese empire never really fell—continuing even after the onslaught of the Mongols in the thirteenth century and Manchu bannermen in the seventeenth. Moreover, the role of religion in the formation of imperial power and legitimation played out quite differently in the two contexts. After 410 CE, the Abbasid Arabian empire replaced the eastern and southern parts of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire; and by the eighth century, it represented a medieval Islamic polity as powerful as the Tang in China. However, the latter withstood the universalizing claims of religion via Buddhism and Islam that swept across the region after the rise of Arab power in Arabia and Central Asia. While certainly open to the flourishing of Buddhism and the influx of new religions, the Tang dynasty remained committed to its past political traditions and classical rituals in its quest for political legitimacy.

In East Asia, it was particularly with the overthrow of the Ming dynasty by the Manchu Qing state in 1644 that Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese elites felt increasingly encouraged to appropriate the Rituals for themselves. The Japanese in the eighteenth century claimed they were the true successors of the ancient Chinese sages.

The Tokugawa regime, a sort of "centralized feudalism" from the seventeenth century on, refused to recognize the Qing as the "Central State" in East Asia. Annan (from a Chinese perspective literally the Pacified South") and Korea (similarly the "Pacified East") "barbarized" the Qing and valorized themselves as the remaining land of the sage-kings; to scholars of these regions, the periphery had become the center. Hence, another perspective we pursue with the present volume is one of comparative classicism with regard to a text that was meaningful in different ways to different societies at different times.

In imperial China, Japan, and Korea, classical and historical studies provided frameworks for the habits, interests, and values inherited by Confucian scholar-officials. Each classical text accumulated a history of its effects and interpretations, which then became a constituent part

of the state's raison d'être. As state ideology, the Classics and particularly the ritual texts among them represented the institutionalization of transhistorical truth. Although for the longest time the imperial state routinely tolerated, and indeed sponsored, competing interpretations of the Classics, steering clear of a narrowly defined orthodoxy, it remained deeply invested in their learning on the whole. Thus, at no point were the universalist truth claims advanced by Buddhism and Daoism able to replace the traditional Confucian canon. It was only in the aftermath of Song Dao Learning (daoxue, i.e., what others today call "Neo-Confucianism") that scholars and state authorities marked out clear and distinct formations of classical orthodoxy, leading the Yuan and Ming governments to successfully institutionalize selected commentaries on the Classics and Dynastic Histories that they hoped would help to consolidate state authority. Seeing themselves as late successors of the sage-kings and Confucius, who had derived from the Classics the guidelines for both political authority and dissent, scholars of the Ming and Qing dynasties comfortably stepped into their own roles as interpreters and transmitters of these precepts.

The centrality of classical studies for the political discourse in premodern East Asia cannot be overemphasized. After rulers formally sanctioned classical learning during the early Han dynasty, political arguments were commonly expressed through the language of Classics such as the Rituals or through references to the Dynastic Histories. Scholar-statesmen, political opportunists, and even autocrats articulated their political views through the controlling medium of state rit- ual, classical sanction, and historical precedent. The ongoing connec tion between the sages' Classics of antiquity and later imperial Chinese political discourse (reactionary, moderate, or radical) suggests the power that some of these texts had over political behavior and expression in imperial China. Yet even in this general context of classical learning, we find the Rituals unique: like charters and constitutions in modern Western political culture, its model of statecraft legitimized the constitutionality of the imperial and royal states across East Asia.

Among the Confucian Classics, the Rituals was exceptional due to its remarkable focus on statecraft to the exclusion of most other topics. Even when the larger set of the Thirteen Classics was replaced in relative importance by the more readable Four Books after the Song dynasties (960-1279), the Rituals retained its place as the supreme repository of statecraft models. Its repeated uses and abuses the most notorious cases of the latter being those of Wang Mang in the early empire and of Wang Anshi in the Song—did not disqualify the text from remaining an integral part of the Classics. As such, and despite the late imperial emphasis on the Four Books, it belonged to the core curriculum for all those who would participate actively in the political arena.

Throughout East Asia, century after century, the Classics—a set of abstruse and archaic texts that were translated into Japanese and Korean readings and glosses—preserved the orthodox teachings and political institutions of the sage-kings. In late imperial China, their mastery remained a key to advancement, fame, and power in the political arena. Classical erudition provided officials, scholars, and students in East Asia with a set of assumptions about good and evil in government and society; it also allowed them to manipulate the political machinery through historical references to the origins of those ideals on which the imperial state was founded. The Classics filled a simple need: if the ideals of the sage-kings were to be realized, the past—its ideas and institutions—had to be studied and cherished. While the Classics in general were called upon to provide the most acceptable justification for a dynasty's rule, the Rituals at times "captured politics" in the name of restoring ancient governance and statecraft.

The first three parts of this volume cover the remarkable historical ebb and flow of the Rituals' place in classical discourse and imperial statecraft. With the fourth part, we turn to more modern issues in the mid–nineteenth century, when classical statecraft was increasingly challenged. Criticism accelerated after 1865, and a tug-of-war ensued among classical scholars over the proper evaluation of the Classics in general and the Rituals in particular. The source for the legitimation of political power remained located in the Classics; yet what it meant to be a classicist was called into question. The Classics were still inviolate, and they had always been reinterpreted according to the changing times. Now they were read and interpreted with new eyes and new strategies drawn from China's increasing exposure to Western studies of state, society, and government. However, as the final chapters by Rudolf Wagner in this volume show, the Rituals remained a classical repository in which even modern reformers could locate native precedents for new styles of Western political institutions.





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