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Classics Without Canonization: Learning And Authority In Qin And Han

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Chapter Summary

This chapter advances one view of classical learning that is consistent with the sources now at hand: that there was no canonization of jing, if "canonization" mandates a stable text and a belief in the inerrancy of a particular jing or corpus of jing. It considers the terms jing and Ru during Qin and Han and then turns to the contexts and expectations for classical learning in general and Five Classics learning in particular. The chapter focuses on the pronouncements made by Yang Xiong in his Fayan. It then compares the revisionist and standard narratives about classical learning in Qin and Han, reiterating the unlikelihood, first, that the majority of classicists were "Confucians" rather than professionals touting their stock-in-trade; and, second, that the classicists routinely sought to be guided by models of the distant past, rather than by recent events.

Keywords: authority; canonization; classics learning; Confucians; Five Classics learning; Han; jing; Qin; Yang Xiong

10.1163/ej.9789004168350.i-1312.112
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