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Hanxue Shangdui : A case study on the contentions between the Han School and the Song School in the middle Qing dynasty

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During the Jiaqing and Daoguang periods of the Qing dynasty, Fang Dongshu published the Hanxue Shangdui, which launched a fierce attack on the Han School and marked the open contentions between the Han and the Song schools. While defending the Song Learning, Fang attacked the shortcomings of the Han School, mainly in four aspects: the Han School’s methods of scholarship, various concepts of philosophy proposed by the Han-Learning scholars, the trivial and piecemeal character, and the heterodoxy of the Han School. Fang Dongshu criticized the Han-Learning scholars who paid attention only to the books and neglected the social affairs. Sharp and reasonable as it was, his criticism however seemed less objective, especially when he tried to use the emperor’s authority to threaten the Han School, which was beyond the range of the normal academic debates.


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