Warp, Weft, and Way

Chinese and Comparative Philosophy 中國哲學與比較哲學

Book of Interest: In Pursuit of the Great Peace: Han Dynasty Classicism and the Making of Early Medieval Literati Culture

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A new book by professor Zhao Lu from NYU has came out. For more details, please see the publisher page and below.

Summary

Examines the Great Peace (taiping), one of the first utopian visions in Chinese history, and its impact on literati lives in Han China. Through an examination of the Great Peace (taiping), one of the first utopian visions in Chinese history, Zhao Lu describes the transformation of literati culture that occurred during the Han Dynasty. Driven by anxiety over losing the mandate of Heaven, the imperial court encouraged classicism in order to establish the Great Peace and follow Heaven’s will. But instead of treating the literati as puppets of competing and imagined lineages, Zhao uses sociological methods to reconstruct their daily lives and to show how they created their own thought by adopting, modifying, and opposing the work of their contemporaries and predecessors. The literati who served as bureaucrats in the first century BCE gradually became classicists who depended on social networking as they traveled to study the classics. By the second century CE, classicism had dissolved in this traveling culture and the literati began to expand the corpus of knowledge beyond the accepted canon. Thus, far from being static, classicism in Han China was full of innovation, and ultimately gave birth to both literary writing and religious Daoism.

“Zhao’s study presents a model of intellectual history. Smartly written, it excels in connecting the analysis of specific texts and concepts with broader trends in the social-political realm. His work helps demythologize Chinese thought and makes it legible to scholars around the world.” — Miranda Brown, University of Michigan

Zhao Lu is Assistant Professor of Global China Studies, NYU Shanghai and Global Network Assistant Professor, NYU. He is the coauthor (with C. A. Cook) of Stalk Divination: A Newly Discovered Alternative to the I Ching.

One Comment

  1. Congratulations to Zhao Lu!

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