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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Each of the texts and commentarial traditions known as the “Confucian” classics derives ultimately from Zhou dynasty models for speech and ritual behavior. Shijing (Classic of Poetry) includes both court liturgy and local popular song, Shangshu (Documents Classic) gathers speeches attributed to early rulers, Chunqiu (Spring and Autumn Anna ls) assembles historical accounts and interpretations, the Classics on ritual (li) addresses fine points of ceremony and political order, and Yijing (Classic of Changes) offers a guide to divination and the connections between the natural and human worlds. Conceived of as a set and linked over time to the teachings of Confucius, the canon was adopted during the Han dynasty as the prime expression of China’s ideals for morality, education, administrative practice, and governance. As a rich literary corpus that had implicit legitimacy, the classics offered models both for particular literary styles and for an enduring order of textual expression and interpretation.

Keywords: Classics, Confucius, Shijing, Shangshu, Chunqiu, Yijing

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