[Vol. 21 No.2] NEW TRENDS IN COMMENTARY ON THE CONFUCIAN CLASSICS: CHARACTERISTICS, DIFFERENCES, AND SIGNIFICANCE OF RHETORICALLY ORIENTED EXEGESES OF THE MENGZI

Title
Title New Trends in Commentary on the Confucian Classics: Characteristics, Differences, and Significance of
Rhetorically Oriented Exegeses of the Mengzi
Author
Author

You Minjung

Volume

Vol. 21 No. 2

Pages

pp. 503~524 (all 22 pages) 

Publication Date

2018.12.15

Keyword

East Asia, the Confucian Classics, rhetorical commentaries, Mengzi, exegesis

Abstract

Originally, East Asian intellectuals focused their attention on the philosophy of the Confucian Classics, rarely commenting on their literary aspects. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, however, there were three exegetical works that proposed a different approach to the Mengzi: Maengja ch’aŭi (Notes on the meanings of the Mengzi) written by Wi Paekkyu (1727–1798), a Chosŏn scholar, Mengzi lunwen written by Niu Yunzhen (1706–1758) from China, and Doku Mōshi written by Hirose Tansō (1782–1856) in Japan. These exegeses approached the Mengzi through its literary style, and commented on many literary points: rhetorical strategy, grammar, and wording. In this article, these exegetical works are referred to as “rhetorical commentaries” since they emphasized rhetoric to a much greater extent than previous commentaries.
The purpose of this article is to show how the rhetorical commentaries are different from ordinary or standard commentaries, such as the works of Zhu Xi and Jiao Xun, but also to point out some differences among the three rhetorical commentaries. In addition, this study evaluates the significance of the appearance in East Asia of rhetorical commentaries in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. This will be done by placing them in the context of relevant historical events and changes in literati culture from the middle ages to the early-modern period of East Asia. Thus, this article will be a first step towards an understanding of rhetorically oriented exegeses in East Asia and the relationship between these commentaries, their historical change and their intellectual history.

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