2012 New History
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”Our Way”: Confucianism Among the Three Religions during the Jin Dynasty

Yi-hao Qiu

Department of History, Fudan University

During the late period of the Jin Dynasty, the renaissance of Confucianism depended on the awakening of the Confucians. It occurred before the northern tour of Zhao Fu, and was not the direct result of the influence of the Neo-Confucianism (lixue) of the Southern Song. On the contrary, the renaissance can be seen as the effort of the Confucians who lived under the rule of the Jurchen and had struggled against the constant pressure of Neo-Daoism and Buddhism for a long time. This article examines the internal logic of the Jin Confucian renaissance. Because of the influence of the culture of the Northern Song Dynasty, the term “Dao” (Way) did not mean Neo-Confucianism in Jin Dynasty intellectual discourse but rather referred to Daoism, especially the Quanzhen School, a major sect of Daoism that originated in northern China in the twelfth century. Up to the first decade of the thirteenth century, Neo-Daoism dominated the scholarly discourse of northern China. The Confucians of the Jin Dynasty thus turned to cooperation with Buddhists to act as a counterbalance to the Quanzhen School, and seek foster own development. Therefore, they could not identify with the Confucians of the Lixue School, who strictly excluded both Buddhism and Daoism. As the domination of the Jurchen weakened, the Confucians of northern China constructed a kind of cultural identify based on Confucianism. “Our Way” (wu Dao) was the terminology they used to definite their doctrine, and to distinguish themselves from Lixue followers. The process of acceptance of so-called Daoxue (that is, Neo-Confucianism) of the Southern Song by the Confucians of the Jin Dynasty thus ran through many twists and turns, from outright cultural confrontation to final identification with Song Confucianism.


Keywords: Daoxue, wu Dao, Xinxue, culture of Jin Dynasty, Neo-Daoism, Li Chunfu, Hao Jin