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Doctrine of the Mean
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Doctrine of the Mean: Biography


Originally a chapter in the Li chi (Book of Rites), evidently it existed in the early Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) independently. Moreover, commentaries in the Han and Liang (502-557) times were written on it as an independent work, although these commentaries are no longer extant. As in the case of the Great learning, great interest in it arose in the Sung period (960-1279). Both Ssu-ma Kuang (1019-1086) and Ch'eng Hao (Ch'eng Ming-tao, 1032-1085) wrote commentaries on it. But it was Chu Hsi who brought it into prominence. He redivided the old text, the one used in Cheng Hsuan's (127-200) commentary, the Li chi cheng-i or Correct Meanings of the Book of Rites (in the Thirteen Classics Series), into thirty-three sections without altering the order of the text. Thus the text became much clearer. He accepted the account in Ssu-ma Ch'ien's Shih-chi (Record of the Historian), ch. 47., that Confucius' grandson Tzu-ssu (492-431 B.C.) was the author. Many modern scholars refuse to accept the theory; some have dated it around 200 B.C. The work is not consistent either in style or in thought. It may be a work of more than one person over a considerable period in the fifth or fourth century B.C.





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