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Daxue and Zhongyong

Bilingual Edition

Translated and annotated by Ian Johnston and Wang Ping

Publication Year: 2012

For the past eight hundred years, the study of Confucian doctrine has been largely dominated by the crucial works known as the “Four Books”: the Analects, the Mencius, the Daxue and the Zhongyong. In their original forms, the Daxue and Zhongyong were two of the more than forty chapters of the larger Li ji (Book of Rites), only gaining prominence thanks to the Song Neo-Confucian scholar Zhu Xi. In this groundbreaking text, Ian Johnston and Wang Ping have translated both of these versions of the Daxue and Zhongyong. One version as chapters of the Li Ji that contain the influential commentary and notes of Zheng Xuan and Kong Yingda, and the second after they were reorganized into standalone works and reinterpreted by Zhu Xi. Johnston and Wang also include extensive explanatory and supplemental materials to help contextualize and familiarize readers with these supremely influential works.

Published by: Chinese University Press

Half Title Page

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pp. 1-2

Title Page

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pp. 3-3


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pp. 4-4


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pp. v-6


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pp. vii-7

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General Introduction

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pp. 1-15

The Daxue 大學 and the Zhongyong 中庸 are two short texts of particular and enduring importance in Confucian philosophy. Despite the vicissitudes of social upheaval and philosophical fashion, they have retained their relevance for almost two millennia and remain, arguably, no less relevant today than when...

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1. Introduction: The Daxue

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pp. 19-40

The Taixue or Daxue 大學 is the shorter and simpler of the two texts taken from the Li ji 禮記 by the Song Neo-Confucian, Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130–1200) to complete the Four Books. In their original, extant form in the Li ji, the Taixue/Daxue follows the Zhongyong 中庸; they are chapters 42 and 31 respectively...

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2. Taixue 太學: The Highest Learning

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pp. 41-123

Commentary (Kong Yingda): The Zhengyi states that Zheng’s Mulu says: “What is called the Taixue, through its recording of wide learning, can be used to conduct government. In the Bielu, this is included in the ‘Tonglun.’”1 This work, the Taixue, discusses the matters of bringing learning to completion, of being able to bring good order to one’s state, of...

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3. Daxue 大學: The Greater Learning

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pp. 125-177

The book, the Daxue, was the method by which men were instructed in the greater learning in ancient times. Now, from the time Heaven first created people, there was nobody to whom it did not give a nature of ren 仁, yi 義, li 禮, and zhi 智.4 Nevertheless, the endowment of temperament in individuals...

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4. Introduction: The Zhongyong

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pp. 181-209

The Zhongyong 中庸 is the longer and more complex of the two chapters taken from the Li ji 禮記 to join with the Lunyu 論語 of Confucius and the Mencius 孟子 in the Four Books. It constitutes the end point for scholars embracing the Confucian canon as defined by Zhu Xi. Wing-tsit Chan has...

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5. Zhongyong 中庸: Using the Centre

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pp. 211-397

Comment: Both early commentators here quoted endorse Zheng Xuan’s initial reading of yong 庸 as yong 用 in the sense of “to use” or “to apply,” which is the Shuowen definition. Appropriate English renderings could be “Using the Centre,” “Using the Middle Way” or “Using the Mean.”2 We have chosen the first as being most in keeping with the comments...

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6. Zhongyong 中庸: Central and Constant

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pp. 399-493

Why was the Zhongyong written? Master Zisi, distressed lest the transmission of the learning of the Way be lost, wrote it. Now, from remote antiquity, sages and spiritual men continued the perfection established by Heaven and the transmission of the body of orthodox teachings came from this. What is seen...


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pp. 495-548


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pp. 549-554


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pp. 555-567

E-ISBN-13: 9789629969011
Print-ISBN-13: 9789629964450

Page Count: 576
Illustrations: N
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 868220724
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Daxue and Zhongyong

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Philosophy, Confucian -- Early works to 1800.
  • Philosophy, Chinese.
  • Da xue -- Commentaries.
  • Zhong yong -- Commentaries.
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