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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Witchcraft and the Rise of the First Confucian Empire 巫蠱之禍

Author:
Liang, Cai

Publisher:
SUNY Press

Publication Year:
2014




Abstract:

When did Confucianism become the reigning political ideology of imperial China? A pervasive narrative holds it was during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty (141–87 BCE). In this book, Liang Cai maintains that such a date would have been too early and provides a new account of this transformation. A hidden narrative in Sima Qian’s The Grand Scribe’s Records (Shi ji) shows that Confucians were a powerless minority in the political realm of this period. Cai argues that the notorious witchcraft scandal of 91–87 BCE reshuffled the power structure of the Western Han bureaucracy and provided Confucians an opportune moment to seize power, evolve into a new elite class, and set the tenor of political discourse for centuries to come.

Table of Contents:

List of Charts and Tables
Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. Minority as the Protagonists: Revisiting Ru 儒 (Confucians) and Their Colleagues under Emperor Wu (141–87 BCE) of the Han

Ru, a Minority Group
Sources of the Myth

2. A Class Merely on Paper: A Study of “The Collective Biographies of Ru” in The Grand Scribe’s Records (Shi ji 史記)

Ru Identity Suppressed by Conflicts
Transforming “Ru” into Confucians
Redefining the Principles of Hierarchy

3. An Archeology of Interpretive Schools of the Five Classics in the Western Han Dynasty

Fragmented Scholarly Lineages
Revising Sima Qian
The Emergence and Proliferation of Interpretive Schools
Continuity or Disruption
Locating the Turning Point

4. A Reshuffle of Power: Witchcraft Scandal and the Birth of a New Class

A Fundamental Disjunction
The Rise of Ru Officials
Witchcraft Scandal and the Birth of a New Class

5. Begin in the Middle: Who Entrusted Ru with Political Power?

Huo Guang’s Dictatorship and Ru Discourse
Techniques of the Classics (jingshu 經術) and Legitimacy of the Throne
Ru Officials under Huo Guang and Emperor Xuan
Who Entrusted Ru with Political Power?

Conclusion
Ru before the Rise of the Ru Empire
Recruitment System of the Han Empire Revisited

Appendix: Major Official Titles of the Western Han Dynasty
Notes
Bibliography
Index


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