Witchcraft and the Rise of the First Confucian Empire (SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture)

Witchcraft and the Rise of the First Confucian Empire (SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture)

Liang Cai


Contests long-standing claims that Confucianism got here to prominence below China’s Emperor Wu.

while did Confucianism develop into the reigning political ideology of imperial China? A pervasive narrative holds it used to be in the course of the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty (141–87 BCE). during this ebook, Liang Cai keeps that this kind of date may were too early and presents a brand new account of this variation. A hidden narrative in Sima Qian’s The Grand Scribe’s files (Shi ji) shows that Confucians have been a powerless minority within the political realm of this era. Cai argues that the infamous witchcraft scandal of 91–87 BCE reshuffled the facility constitution of the Western Han paperwork and supplied Confucians an opportune second to grab energy, evolve right into a new elite category, and set the tenor of political discourse for hundreds of years to come.

“Through a close research of the surviving textual proof, Witchcraft and the increase of the 1st Confucian Empire presents a robust picture of the destruction of 1 order within the final years of the reign of Emperor Wu and the construction of a brand new elite less than Huo Guang. even though those occasions have already been the topic of at the very least one distinct English-language examine … the narrower time frame and extra centred narrative in Liang Cai’s learn offers a fair extra strong photo of the long-lasting aftermath of Emperor Wu’s witchcraft trials.” — Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

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