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The Many Dukes Of Zhou In Early Sources

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Chapter Summary

This chapter traces the evolution of portraits of the Duke of Zhou in the period before the elevation of the Rituals of Zhou to secure it canonical status in late Eastern Han via the systematizing works of Zheng Xuan 鄭玄, which portray the duke as a moral exemplar second only to Confucius himself. The broader questions that the chapter raises include the following: What role did the figure of the Duke of Zhou play in rhetorical constructions, why, and for whom? What effect was conveyed by the various representations of the duke's performative speeches? Did the various portraits of the duke make some things happen while preventing others? Even at this remove, it is obvious that the words attributed to the duke were at least as important in the early centralizing states as any deeds the duke supposedly performed.

Keywords: Documents; Duke of Zhou; Rituals of Zhou; Yi Zhoushu; Zheng Xuan



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