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p. 705. The reorientation of the Confucian tradition after 1000 CE: The teachings of Neo-Confucianismlocked

  • Daniel K. Gardner


‘The reorientation of the Confucian tradition after 1000 ce’ discusses the “school” of Confucianism referred to as Neo-Confucianism, which came to dominate Chinese intellectual and political life from the eleventh century and that guided the Chinese imperial government and the foundation of the civil service examination systems until the early twentieth century. Neo-Confucianism upholds the values and ethics of classical Confucianism, but reorients it in two important ways: (1) it grounds the values and ethics of classical Confucianism in an elaborate system of metaphysics generated over the eleventh and twelfth centuries; and (2) it creates a structured program of self-cultivation, a step-by-step template for “becoming a sage.” But why did Neo-Confucianism emerge at this particular time?

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