Volume 9, 2018
An Alternative Interpretation of Neo-Confucianism
An Analysis on Tang Yongtong’s Li Xue Zhan Yan
Tang Yongtong’s contribution is not directly related to the topic we discussed, that is the interpretation of classic works. However, his study on the history of the classical interpretaion has played a special role in this field, that’s why we should take him into the horizon of our discussion. Li Xue Zhan Yan is one of his early works, the theme of which is to interpret the thoughts of Neo-Confucianism. Therefore, through analyzing this article, this paper wants to disclose Tang’s unique concern on the thoughts of Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming, and elucidate his particular opinions on classic and interpretation, as well as his unique style of interpretaion. This job will be divided into four parts, and it will point out that, the way of Tang’s interpretation is neither traditional explaination of word, e.g. commentary sentence by sentence, nor pure theoretical construction, by exerting Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming’s thoughts freely. In contrast, Tang has his own concern. From his own understanding of Chinese culture and the faith that Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming’s thoughts can rescue man’s mind, moral and malady of his time, Tang convinces that in the classics of Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming, there is some special ‘meaning’. In his classical interpretation, Tang not only has some cultural conservative feelings, but also requires ‘content’ (An) and ‘practical’(Shi). However, actually, in his afterwards life, this kind of interpreting style is not persisted.