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Chunqiu fanlu Buljan, Ivana


The text Chunqiu fanlu is a compendium of Chinese ethical and political thought traditionally ascribed to a pivotal scholar from the Former Han dynasty (206 BCE – 9 CE), Dong Zhongshu (c. 195 to 115 BCE.). Dong Zhongshu was a leading exegete of the Gongyang Zhuan (Gongyang Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals), an early Han commentary of the Spring and Autumn Annals (Chunqiu ). The Chinese tradition credits him with an important role in the formation of “Han Confucianism“ as the state ideology during the reign of Emperor Wu (140 – 134 BCE). But, this view is radically challenged by contemporary scholarship. This lengthy, rich and comprehensive work consisting of 82 chapters (pian), of which 79 have survived, has been commented upon in China throughout history as one of the most authoritative texts of Chinese ruism (Confucianism.) However, in terms of its authorship, dating and even in its textual preservation, the CQFL is a rather problematic text. While there is no certain answer on the question on what parts of the CQFL can be authentically traced to Dong Zhongshu, some chapters certainly originate from different sources. Most of the recent scholars agree that the CQFL is a collection of heterogeneous material from early Han and even post-Han scholarly work assembled by an anonymous compiler. The text contains a great diversity of subject matter. Sarah Queen and John Major persuasively argued that the text is arranged according to the principles that guided its anonymous compiler. They singled out five units. The first unit, Exegetical Principles“, consisting of the first seventeen chapters represents the earliest and most probably authentic part of the whole compilation. These chapters interpret the principles of the Spring and Autumn Annals based on the Gongyang commentary. The “Monarchical Principles” (chapters 18-22) focus on the techniques for maintaining the power and authority of the ruler. They establish a kind of naturalistic approach which seeks normativity in the realm of nature. The third group, “Regulatory Principles” (chapters 23 to 28) addresses the regulations the ruler should observe after receiving the Mandate of Heaven. The “Ethical Principles” (chapters 29 to 42) group discusses the fundamental virtues and ideas esteemed by ruist scholars, such as humaneness ren 仁, righteousness yi義, wisdom zhi 智, virtue de 德, the rectification of names zheng ming 正名, and filial piety xiao孝. The “Yin-Yang Principles” group focuses on the cosmology of yin-yang and the four seasons in relation to the ruler’s emotions, actions, and policies. “Five-Phase Principles” chapters develop the art of rulership based on Five Phase wu xing cosmology. “Ritual Principles” group, constituted of twelve thematically linked chapters, describes various aspects of ritual obligations and sacrifice from the perspective of the Gongyang commentary on the Spring and Autumn. The “Heavenly Principles” (chapters 77 to 82) contain some rather corrupted chapters grouped around the idea of Heaven as the source of political and moral principles. They correlate the way of Heaven with the physical cultivation and governing the country. Please note that all translations are taken from the ebook version of Sarah Queen and John Major's "Luxuriant Gems of the Spring and Autumn), Columbia University Press: 2015. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Luxuriant-Spring-Autumn-Translations-Classics-ebook/dp/B017QL99WU

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