2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Moving from Intellectual History to Cultural History:

A Critical Discussion of Peter K. Bol’s “This Culture of Ours”: Intellectual Transitions in T’ang and Sung China and Related Remarks

I-chun Yeh

Graduate Institute of History, National Tsing-hua University

This essay mainly reviews professor Peter K. Bol’s book entitled  “This Culture of Ours”: Intellectual Transitions in T’ang and Sung China, which was published in 1992, and also with discussion of some important works of the field as well as other articles written by professor Bol himself. It focuses on the studies of the intellectual history in T’ang-Sung period after a decade of reflection and criticism. The essay is divided into five parts. First, briefly introduce professor Bol’s background and his book. Second, summarize the content and structure of the book chapter by chapter. Third, based on previous book reviews made by some outstanding scholars like Hoyt Cleveland Tillman, Benjamin A. Elman etc., and with my own consideration of Chinese scholarship, I evaluate the contribution of the book by its approach, concept and methodology. Forth, by examine the argument of the book, I offer my critical assessment to suggest further questions. Fifth, in order to trace the influence of the book, I try to demonstrate some recent publications of revisional views and new directions of this field. The essay concludes with that professor Bol has provided us an ambitious effort from the writing of the intellectual history to the cultural one. However, whether it was accomplished or not still depends on the definition of what we call “cultural history.”


Keywords: Daoxue (True Way learning), Neo-Confucianism, T’ang-Sung transition