Examining Confucian and Taoist Thoughts through the Lens of Qunshu Zhiyao: an Interpretation Based on Zhenguan Zhengyao

Project: Research project

Project Details


Compiled by a group of officials following the lead of Wei Zheng, Qunshu Zhiyao is a political encyclopedia created in the fifth year of the Zhenguan era to assist Emperor Taizong of Tang in governing the nation. This compilation includes 68 primary sources from various classics, historical records and philosophical writings, spanning from the era of the Five Emperors to the Jin dynasty. Therefore, Qunshu Zhiyao inherits a profound cultural nature demonstrating keen intention to deal with societal issues. Nonetheless, contemporary academia follows the tradition of Qian-Jia’s scholarship and emphasizes the study of bibliography. While achievements of such study are tremendous, the fact that the core values of Qunshu Zhiyao can serve as a bridge towards other classical texts, is overlooked. By examining the societal nature of Qunshu Zhiyao, one is able to see how Qunshu Zhiyao reflects its time and hence understand by what means the Zhenguan era introduced traditional culture. To ensure a new perspective is developed effectively, this project aims to identify the thoughts manifested in Qunshu Zhiyao by incorporating an investigation in Zhenguan Zhengyao. Closely related with Qunshu Zhiyao, Zhenguan Zhengyao records anecdotes about Emperor Taizong and his officials, which will encourage interpretations of the thoughts in Qunshu Zhiyao based on factual evidence. Considering the rich contents involved in Qunshu Zhiyao, this project will focus on discussions related to Confucian and Taoist thoughts in the Tang dynasty – an aspect that has long been neglected in the history of thoughts. Additionally, there are 17 Confucian texts and 6 Taoist texts in the compilation. The ample amount of written materials will allow a credible analysis and reconstruction of thoughts in the Zhenguan era.
Effective start/end date20-08-0121-07-31


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