26 November 2010
Neo-Confucian History and its Application to Government
Neo-Confucianism arose in China during the Song Dynasty as a vehicle to reapply Confucian teachings and morality to an era in which Buddhist and Daoist followers were all but competing with Confucianism. Such competition found Confucianism becoming more and more related to the state as an official religion, reducing the true existence of Confucianism as predicated by Kung T’zu’s own canonical texts. The revival of Confucian thought during this dynasty lead for replacement of a militaristically centered society academia and cultural achievements, changing the view of Chinese history and the historian as well as leadership in the government as both began to take on the characteristics of Confucian practices such as The Way.
The transformation of the view of history was radical at best. The overall essence of history was questioned as notable historians such as Lü Zuqian and Zhen Qiao professed the correct way of viewing history to be to view history as a continuous stream as opposed to solitary confined moments in time. Lü notes that history must be viewed as the continued record of organic growth and change in Lü Donglai wenji. Zheng Qiao claims that Confucius’ credibility as a notable sage lie in his ability to view history as an entirety and the stream that makes it up as opposed to Ban Gu who compartmentalized history by narrowing on one topic, or as he literally puts it in Tongzhi, “Ban Gu wrote the history of only one dynasty, this principle of continuity has been ignored.”
Another way that history became molded to the form of Confucianism was in its application. The application of history could be noted as a two- way process, one being the application of the past to see the present and thereby stimulating intellectual growth as well as practicability, and the other being that history provides morals of conducts for the historian. The latter has...