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BOOK REVIEWS JOSEPH A. ADLER, Reconstructing the Confucian Dao: Zhu Xi’s Appropriation of Zhou Dunyi. SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2014. x, 331 pp. US$95 (hb). ISBN 978-1-4384-5157-2 Joseph A. Adler’s contribution to Confucian studies aims to clarify the problematic relationship that unites Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130–1200) with Zhou Dunyi 周敦頤 (1017– 1073). Indeed, why did Zhu Xi choose a minor figure with Daoist connections as the founder of “Neo-Confucianism”? In order to clarify this “appropriation” from one thinker to another, Adler proposes an answer in two parts (argumentation and translations ), divided into eight chapters. The introduction, especially useful to non-specialist readers, recounts the emergence of Song Confucianism and its masters. Unsatisfied with the conventional philosophical explanation for Zhu Xi’s choice of Zhou Dunyi, Adler argues that one must inquire into Zhu Xi’s life and religious practice to understand his thought. Through a well-justified explanation of Confucianism as a religious tradition, Adler asserts that Zhu Xi’s articulation of the difference between belief and action is fundamental to explain “the peculiar shape taken by the Cheng-Zhu school” (p. 7) and, therefore, to analyze the issue of the succession of the Way or daotong 道統. Through the exposition of biographical, historical, and political elements (chapter 1), Adler shows that Zhu Xi’s vision of the Dao 道 is grounded in the differentiation between Buddhist (Chan) and Confucian metaphysical interpretations, as well as in their concrete applications within society. Zhu Xi aims to find the way to cultivate oneself and to practice the Confucian Dao at a governmental level. Regarding the transmission of the Dao, Adler examines its discontinuous structure through the figures of Confucius, Mencius, Han Yu 韓愈, and the Cheng brothers 二程. He then turns to Zhou Dunyi’s life, and to Hu Hong’s 胡宏 (1105–1155) first assertion that Zhou was the one who carried on the Confucian lineage (see Zhu Xi’s Preface to Master Zhou’s Tongshu, translated by Adler on pp. 32–34). For his part, Zhu Xi discovered Zhou Dunyi’s writings in 1152, but only developed a true interest for his thought under the leadership of his teacher, Li Tong 李侗 (1093–1163), beginning in the 1160s. In chapter 2, Adler pertinently considers Zhu Xi’s discursive strategy and campaign with Zhang Shi 張栻 (1133–1180), through pilgrimages and commemorations (some of which are translated by Adler), to establish Zhou Dunyi’s legitimacy. For Zhu Xi, the parallels between the figures of Fuxi 伏羲 and Zhou Dunyi as well as their expressive styles (trigrams and diagram) prove that Confucianism is the sole authentic Dao, and that only these two sages received it directly from Heaven. Thanks to Zhu Xi’s disciples, the idea of Zhou Dunyi being the first sage of the Song dynasty had become orthodox by the Yuan dynasty (1259–1368). Journal of Chinese Religions, 43. 2, 194–219, November 2015© Society for the Study of Chinese Religions 2015 DOI 10.1179/0737769X15Z.00000000024 But Adler points out that this “scenario” has weaknesses, since Zhu Xi’s 1190 prefaces to the Daxue 大學 and to the Zhongyong 中庸 clearly omit Zhou Dunyi in the transmission of the Way to the benefit of Cheng Hao 程顥 (1032–1085). To solve this contradiction, Adler argues that, in this case, Zhu Xi does not consider the transmission of the Way in general, but only the transmission of these two texts in particular that are further linked to the Cheng brothers’ concerns. One may reply that the issue of authenticity or cheng 誠 is nevertheless fundamental to these two texts and to Zhou Dunyi’s Penetrating the Scripture of Change (Tongshu 通書). For Adler, Zhu Xi’s choice in favor of Zhou Dunyi is a reevaluation of his opinion, and he detects three types of issues—sectarian, philosophical, and historical —that would explain the difficulty of including Zhou Dunyi within the Learning of the Way or daoxue 道學. In chapter 3, Adler considers a central issue of Zhu Xi’s thought, that of unexpressed (weifa 未發) and expressed (yifa 已發) heart-mind (xin 心). He shows that Zhou Dunyi’s concept of “interpenetration of activity and stillness” (jing 靜 dong 動) is the key to the...


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pp. 194-195
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