The Info List - Han Learning

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HAN LEARNING (simplified Chinese : 汉学; traditional Chinese : 漢學; pinyin : Hànxué), or the Han school of classical philology , was an intellectual movement that reached its height in the middle of the Qing dynasty
Qing dynasty
(1644–1912) in China


* 1 Nature and origins * 2 Growth of influence * 3 Political activity * 4 Sundries * 5 References * 6 See also


Han learning began with the "evidential scholarship " (simplified Chinese : 考证; traditional Chinese : 考證; pinyin : kǎozhèng) movement of the late Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
, which was a reaction against the so-called "Song Learning", or Neo-Confucianism
, which had arisen during the Song dynasty
Song dynasty
(12th century). Neo-Confucianism
had incorporated Buddhist
and Daoist
influences into the Confucianist tradition, introducing a new cosmology emphasising the moral nature of the cosmos. Neo-Confucianism
was adopted as Confucian orthodoxy under the Song dynasty
Song dynasty
and formed the basis of the imperial examination until nearly the end of the Qing dynasty.

Evidential scholars reacted to the innovations of Neo-Confucianism
by turning back to the original classics, employing philological techniques to try to authenticate the real words of Confucius. This involved the comparison of different texts in great detail. This school of learning came to be called “Han Learning” because it sought out Han dynasty
Han dynasty
commentaries as being closer to the original texts.


The fall of the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
and the rise of the Qing dynasty
Qing dynasty
was a watershed in the development of this trend of philological thought. Scholars in the evidential scholarship tradition attacked the heterodox and subjective ideals of "Song learning" as having betrayed the true teachings of Confucius, resulting in decadence, individualism, and factionalism in the Ming court. This was blamed for bringing about the fall of the Ming dynasty.

The Han Learning scholars played an important role in many intellectual works sponsored by the Qing court. They were involved in the Siku Quanshu
Siku Quanshu
, a monumental encyclopaedic project commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor
Qianlong Emperor
which involved the collection of the entire Chinese canon of studies on the mind, nature, government and humanity. While this work was firmly grounded in Neo-Confucian orthodoxy, the philological expertise of evidential scholars was drawn on to ensure the authenticity of the canon. Han Learning played a major role in providing annotations and evidential scholarship on regulations and edicts, together with works of philosophers.

By the mid-eighteenth century, Han learning ( Yan Ruoqu , Hui Dong ) had proved that various parts of the sacred classics were in fact later forgeries of the Han dynasty.

While it may appear to be concerned with philological minutiae, the debate between the Neo-Confucianists and the adherents of Han learning had considerable repercussions, weakening the cosmological underpinnings of the imperial state, although not its political dominance. Han Learning and Song Learning were eventually blended into a new school of thought during the late Qing.

Scholars involved included Wang Fuzhi
Wang Fuzhi
, Gu Yanwu
Gu Yanwu
, Yan Yuan , Li Gong , Dai Zhen
Dai Zhen
, Duan Yucai
Duan Yucai
, Ji Yun , Zhang Xuecheng , Ruan Yuan , and Liao Ping . In the late Qing period, Han Learning appealed to many reformers and revolutionaries such as Kang Youwei
Kang Youwei
, who eventually became a monarchist; Tan Sitong
Tan Sitong
a fervent anti-Manchu polemicist; and Liu Shipei a devout nationalist who was first an revolutionary and an anarchist then a supporter of Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai
. Cui Shu went further and rejected Han learning in an attempt to recover pre-Han Confucianism.


According to B. Elman, many Han Learning proponents were involved in opposition to Heshen
's clique (1746-99), thus suggesting that typical portrayal of this group as apolitical should be reconsidered.


* A remarkable parallel to the revival of Han learning in the late imperial period is provided by development of the Han medicine (Kampo in Japan). Same as Han learning stood in the opposition to the intellectual trend of the three previous dynasties, Han medicine was a reaction against the standard of Song-Ming medicine (the so-called "neo-Confucianization of the body").


* ^ Confucianism-Neo-Confucianism * ^ Elman, Benjamin A. Classicism, politics, and kingship: the Chang-chou school of New Text Confucianism
in late imperial China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990:283-4.


* Old Texts
Old Texts
* Neo-Confucianism

* v * t * e

Chinese philosophy
Chinese philosophy


* Agriculturalism
* Confucianism
* Taoism
* Han learning * Huang-Lao * Legalism * Mohism * Neo-Confucianism
* Neo- Taoism
* New Confucianism
* Chinese Marxist Philosophy * School of Diplomacy * School of Names * School of Naturalists * Yangism

See also: Hundred Schools of Thought


* Confucius
* Gaozi * Gongsun Long * Han Feizi
Han Feizi
* Huan Tan * Huang Zongxi
Huang Zongxi
* Jin Yuelin * Laozi
* Li Si * Lu Jiuyuan * Mencius
* Mozi
* Shang Yang
Shang Yang
* Su Qin
Su Qin
* Sunzi * Tu Weiming * Wang Chong * Wang Fuzhi
Wang Fuzhi
* Wang Yangming
Wang Yangming
* Xu Xing * Xunzi * Yang Zhu * Zhang Yi * Zhu Xi
Zhu Xi
* Zhuangzi * Zou Yan


* Dào : Way * Dé : Virtue * Fǎ : Model * Jiān ài : Universal Love * Jing : Reverence * Jìngzuo : Meditation * Lĭ : Ritual propriety * Li : Law * Mìng : Mandate or fate * Qì : Energy * Qing : Essence * Rén : Humaneness * Shén : Spirit * Si : Reflection * Tǐ : Substance * Tiān : Divine force * Wú wéi : Nonaction * Xiào
: Filial piety * Xin : Disposition or intuition * Xing : Human nature * Yì : Righteousness * Yīnyáng : Interdependent opposites * Yòng : Function * Zhèngmíng : Rectification of names * Zhì : Intention or will; Wisdom or cleverness * Zìrán : Self-so or natural


* Aesthetics * Epistemology
* Ethics
( Role ethics