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Confucian Commentary and Chinese Intellectual History

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 March 2010

Extract

As early as the han dynasty, exegetes of the texts in the Confucian canon were preparing written commentary on them, and by the dynasty's end they were interspersing their glosses in the body of these texts as interlinear, running commentary. From this time on, few Chinese would have read any classic from the canon without commentarial companion. And, as Confucianism came to be identified over the course of the imperial period with the Chinese cultural tradition par excellence, the writing of interlinear commentary on the canon of texts became a standard, even dominant, mode of scholarly and philosophical discourse for Chinese literati. It was in commentary that these men would offer their reflections on the meaning of Confucian doctrine as it had evolved through the centuries and attempt to construct a philosophical or moral vision meaningful in a world far removed from that of the classical age.

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Articles
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Copyright © The Association for Asian Studies, Inc. 1998

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