Chou Ju-teng (1547-1629) at Nanking: Reassessing a Confucian scholar in the late Ming intellectual world

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Chou Ju-teng (1547-1629) at Nanking: Reassessing a Confucian scholar in the late Ming intellectual world

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Document Type

Dissertation

Description

Chou Ju-teng, an influential Confucian thinker of the late Ming, has remained a neglected and marginal figure in Ming studies. Knowledge of him is mainly drawn from the brief description in Huang Tsung-hsi's (1610-1695) Ming-ju hsueh-an (Intellectual biography of the Ming thinkers). This dissertation is an attempt to reassess Chou Ju-teng's position in the late Ming intellectual world, and then to use it as a means to re-evaluate Huang Tsung-hsi's characterization of late Ming thought.

My dissertation deals with two different intellectual settings that are ultimately interconnected. One is the early Ch'ing period, where I have investigated why and how Huang Tsung-hsi came to choose Chou Ju-teng to carry out his agenda; the other is the late Ming, where I have investigated the intellectual growth of Chou Ju-teng and the people with whom he was associated. I try to explore the connections between their education, their social background and their official careers, and to identify their teachers, their associates and the literati circles they frequented. I seek to analyze the tensions and contentions that created divisions among them, and that sometimes led to heated debates. I also pay close attention to where they and their colleagues stood in relation to the power struggles going on in the central bureaucracy. This revisit to the late Ming intellectual world provides me with a basis upon which I am able to offer my critical assessment of Huang Tsung-hsi's views of late Ming thought.

In this dissertation, Chou Ju-teng serves as a key figure who connects the intellectual setting of his day with that of Huang Tsung-hsi's. Reassessing his place in the late Ming intellectual world requires me to carefully examine the strategies Huang used to justify his interpretation of late Ming thought. My study shows that Huang's treatment of Chou reveals his attempt to remap late Ming thought in such a way as to spare Wang Yang-ming's (1472-1528) teachings from the harsh criticism by Huang's own early Ch'ing intellectual rivals.

Publication Date

1995

Publisher

Princeton University

City

Princeton, New Jersey

Chou Ju-teng (1547-1629) at Nanking: Reassessing a Confucian scholar in the late Ming intellectual world

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