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Language Of Heaven, Exegetical Skepticism And The Re-Insertion Of Religious Concepts In The Gongyang Tradition

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that the Gongyang zhuan in its strict exegetical methodology follows the highly skeptical Confucian attitude towards speculation in the historiographical as well as in the religious realm. And yet the exegesis was built on a series of clearly religious assumptions which seem to reflect the general framework of skeptical secular thinking in the late Warring States period. In the early Han two movements within the Gongyang tradition can be discerned, both of which are associated with the person of Dong Zhongshu (ca. 195-115): on the one hand, a step towards further secularization of Annals exegesis in the juridical realm, following and responding to Qin legal practices, and a re-insertion of religious concepts in the realm of political theory on the other. The chapter discusses the religiosity of these further developments in relation to the earlier religious context of the Annals.

Keywords: Annals; exegetical methodology; Gongyang zhuan; religious concepts; skeptical Confucian attitude



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