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Dong Zhongshu’s Life And Reputation

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Chapter Summary

Dong Zhongshu never held a high ranking position in imperial government that would have enabled him to see his ideas put into practice. He did not achieve a reputation that commanded respect during his lifetime; nor did he earn a high measure of praise in subsequent writings. A moralist rather than a statesman given to materialist aims or personal ambitions, and in no way a dreamer of the mysteries of the universe, Dong held views that ran counter to those of others, such as the Grand Empress Dou and other devotees of the sayings of Laozi and Huangdi. After citing from one of his responses of 134, Ban Gu points out that the government of the day had no leisure to attend to li and matters of culture that are inherent therein.

Keywords: Ban Gu; Dong Zhongshu; moralist; statesman



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