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Ritendiskussionen am Hof der nördlichen Song-Dynastie (1034–1093): Zwischen Ritengelehrsamkeit, Machtkampf und intellektuellen Bewegungen (review)

Ritendiskussionen am Hof der nördlichen Song-Dynastie (1034–1093): Zwischen Ritengelehrsamkeit,... 218 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.2,2011 ChristianMeyer.Ritendiskussionen am Hof der nördlichen Song-Dynastie (1034­1093): Zwischen Ritengelehrsamkeit, Machtkampf und intellektuellen Bewegungen.MonumentaSericaMonographSeries,vol.58.Sankt Augustin:InstitutMonumentaSerica,2008.646pp.Hardcover65.00, isbn978-3-8050-0551-7. Thismonographisamultifacetedandin-depthstudyofthedebatesonritual practicesattheChinesecourtbetween1034and1093.Thisperiodisprimarily knownforitslivelydiscussionsonpoliticalreformsinitiatedbyFanZhongyanand WangAnshi,thedevelopmentofNeo-Confucianphilosophy,thegrowingimportanceoftheexaminationsystem,andtheriseoftheliterati.Yet,asMeyerrightly claims(pp.28­29),theritualdebates(Ritendiskussionen)ofthattime,theirrelation tosocialandpoliticalissues,andtheirplaceinthereflectionsofprominentNeoConfucianthinkershavenotreceivedmuchattention. Meyersplitshisexhaustivestudyintofourmainpartsandasummaryof results.Thefirstpartconsidersthemeaningofthetermli(rites,ritual,propriety) and,primarilydrawingonthefindingsoftheGermansinologistWernerEichhorn,sketchesoutthesystemofimperialcourtritualsoftheSongdynasty.This sectioncanbereadasageneralintroductiontothesubjectoflifromantiquity throughtheSongperiod,yetattimesonewishesformoreclaritywithregardto therelevanceofparticulardetailstotheoverallargumentofthisstudy. Inthesecondpart,Meyerturnstothecoretopicofhisbook,theNorthern Songdebatesonthecourtrituals.Hesinglesoutfourmajorissues:thedebateon thesacrificestoHeavenandEarth,includingthediscussionontheBrightHall (mingtang);thedebateonritualmusic;thedebateonthevenerationofPrincePu; andthedebateonthemourningritualforthedeceasedchancellorSimaGuang. Thesourcesonthesecontroversiesarescatteredandfragmentary,andsooneof Meyer'smajorachievementsishavingmeticulouslycompiledtheavailablematerialsandofferingcarefultranslationsanddetailedparaphrases.Inthisway,this sectionoffersaninformativeoverviewoftheparticularminutiaeconsideredin thesedebates--fromthecolorofthecurtainstothesoundofthebells.Moreover, thesectioneffectivelydemonstratesthatargumentsandeventuallydecisionswere oftensubjecttoalargearrayofconflictingconsiderations,fromexegesisofthe Confucianclassics,throughtheinterpretationofomens,tothepragmaticconcernsofeconomyandpowerstruggles.Despitethestrengthsofthissection,the authorsimplylistsalitanyofproposalsanddecreesinchronologicalorderwithout providingmuchanalyticalcontext,therebyrunningtheriskofoverburdeningthe reader.ParticularlywithrespecttotheexhaustivedebatesontheHeavenand Earthsacrificesandonritualmusic,theshortintroductionstothekeypointsof contentionhardlysufficetoguidethereaderthroughthesection'sextensive accountofthedeliberations. © 2012 by University of Hawai`i Press Reviews 219 Intheattempttoanalyzeandcontextualizethefourdebates,thethirdpart beginswithadescriptionofwhatMeyertermsthe"ritualidentityoftheshidafu"1 (scholar-officials)(p.306).Thissectionnolongerfocusesoncourtritualsbut explainswhatimplicationslihad,inabroadersense,fortheself-perceptionofthe shidafuduringtheNorthernSong.Theargumentclaimsthatengagingindiscoursesonlireassuredtheparticipantsoftheirsocialandpoliticalrelevanceand fosteredcohesionamongthem.Followingabriefintroductiontotheinstitutional frameworkofthedebatesattheSongcourt,Meyerreturnstohiscoresubject,the courtrituals,andanalyzestherolesofdifferentprotagonistssuchastheemperor, chancellorsandministers,censors,courtofficials,andexternalexperts. Shiftingthefocusoncemore,Meyerthenturnstosomeinterestingreflections ontheapplicabilityoftheHabermasiannotionofpublicspheretotheChinese context.HetherebyaddressesthecontentiousquestionofwhetherChinahas, or everhad,suchapublicsphere.Meyerconvincinglyconcludesthatneither Habermas'conceptof representativepublicspherenorthatofbourgeoispublic sphereiswellsuitedtodescribeNorthernSongsociety.Basedonhisanalysisof thecourtritualdebates,heproposesthenotionofadiscursivepublicsphere.This discursivepublicsphereiscourt-centered;however,incontrasttotherepresentativepublicsphere,itallowssubjectsoutsideofgovernmenttoengageincourt discussions. Attheendofthethirdpart,theauthorinvestigatestherelationbetweenthe debatesoncourtritualsandthefactionalismatthenorthernSongcourt.The analysisofthevariouspositionsonritualpracticesinlightofthefiercepolitical rivalriesofthisperiodtiesinnicelywithAriLevine'srecentstudyDivided by a Common Language: Factional Conflict in Late Northern Song China (Honolulu: UniversityofHawai`iPress,2008). Thefourthpartofthisbookassesseswhatimpactthecontroversiesover court rituals--inparticularthediscourseonthevenerationofPrincePu--hadon theemergenceofNeo-Confucianism.Forthispurpose,Meyerconcentrateson OuyangXiu,SimaGuang,andChengYi.Whileitisplausibletorestrictthesurvey tothesethreeeminentrepresentativesofNeo-Confucianthought,aconsideration ofsomeoftheirlessprominentandwell-studiedcontemporarieswouldhavebeen valuable.Nonetheless,Meyer'scarefulsurveyrevealsvariousremarkablediscrepanciesbetweenthepositionsofthethreethinkers.Mostnotably,Meyerarguesthat ChengYicanbeconsidered--andwouldhaveconsideredhimself--primarilyasa ritualexpert(pp.536­538),aviewthatbreaksawayfromthecommonscholarly perceptionofChengYiasaphilosopher. Overall,thestyleofwritingisratherheterogeneous.Oftenabruptly,it switchesfromhistoricalnarrativetotheoreticalreflections,fromsummariesof previousscholarshiptocomprehensivecompilationsortranslationsofdebate proceedings.Toadegree,theserupturesareaconsequenceofMeyer'squestionable decisiontoseparatethereconstructionofthediscourseontheritualsfromits 220 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.2,2011 contextualizationandanalysis.Thereby,almostinevitably,thestudysuffersfrom repetitivenessinsomesections.Atthesametime,thereaderisforcedtogoback andforthbetweensectionsinordertofindconcreteexamplesforgeneralobservationsandviceversa.Asaresult,thebookwastessomeofitsanalyticalandargumentativepotential.Inanefforttoguidethereaderthroughthisexhaustivestudy, theauthorbreaksitupintovarioussubsections,yetattimesthisexcessivefragmentationresultsinsubchaptersofnomorethantwoorthreesentences,which mayirritateratherthanassistthereader. Theeditingofthebookisnotalwayssatisfactory.Onemaywonder,forexample,whytheChinesecharactersaregiveninthemaintextfortwotranslationsof statementsbyChengYi(pp.532­533)whereasinallotherinstances,thecharacters areprovidedonlyforshortphrases,ifatall,andrelegatedtotheglossary.The usefulindexisnotincludedintheprintedversionofthebookbutonlyavailable online.2 Despitetheseshortcomings,thebreadthofissuesaddressedandthethoroughnesswithwhichtheauthortracesthedetailsofthedebatesoncourtrituals makethismonographatreasuretroveforspecialistswellbeyondSongstudies. Meyer'sapproachoflookingintothediscursiveratherthantheperformative dimensionoftheritualsprovesfruitfulasitopensuplinkstovariousrelatedfields. Iamconfidentthatexpertsinreligiousstudies,anthropology,andmusicology,as wellashistoriansofChinesephilosophyandpoliticaldiscourse,willfindthistobe aninstructivework. MartinHofmann Martin Hofmann is an assistant professor of Chinese intellectual history at the University of Heidelberg's Cluster Asia and Europe. Notes 1. Translationbytheauthor. 2. Availableat:http://www.monumenta-serica.de/www.steyler-missionare.de/svd/dcms/ sites/monumenta_serica/monumenta_english/orderforms/Ritendiskussionen%20Index.pdf. W.JohnMorganandBinWu,editors.Higher Education Reform in China: © 2012 by University of Hawai`i Press Beyond the Expansion.NewYork:Routledge,2011.174pp.Hardcover $128.00,isbn978-0-415-56413-7. Thiswell-roundedvolumeprovidesmanyimportantinsightsintoissuesofconcernintheaftermathofChina'sdramaticexpansiontoamasssystemofhigher http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

Ritendiskussionen am Hof der nördlichen Song-Dynastie (1034–1093): Zwischen Ritengelehrsamkeit, Machtkampf und intellektuellen Bewegungen (review)

China Review International , Volume 18 (2) – Sep 19, 2011

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218 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.2,2011 ChristianMeyer.Ritendiskussionen am Hof der nördlichen Song-Dynastie (1034­1093): Zwischen Ritengelehrsamkeit, Machtkampf und intellektuellen Bewegungen.MonumentaSericaMonographSeries,vol.58.Sankt Augustin:InstitutMonumentaSerica,2008.646pp.Hardcover65.00, isbn978-3-8050-0551-7. Thismonographisamultifacetedandin-depthstudyofthedebatesonritual practicesattheChinesecourtbetween1034and1093.Thisperiodisprimarily knownforitslivelydiscussionsonpoliticalreformsinitiatedbyFanZhongyanand WangAnshi,thedevelopmentofNeo-Confucianphilosophy,thegrowingimportanceoftheexaminationsystem,andtheriseoftheliterati.Yet,asMeyerrightly claims(pp.28­29),theritualdebates(Ritendiskussionen)ofthattime,theirrelation tosocialandpoliticalissues,andtheirplaceinthereflectionsofprominentNeoConfucianthinkershavenotreceivedmuchattention. Meyersplitshisexhaustivestudyintofourmainpartsandasummaryof results.Thefirstpartconsidersthemeaningofthetermli(rites,ritual,propriety) and,primarilydrawingonthefindingsoftheGermansinologistWernerEichhorn,sketchesoutthesystemofimperialcourtritualsoftheSongdynasty.This sectioncanbereadasageneralintroductiontothesubjectoflifromantiquity throughtheSongperiod,yetattimesonewishesformoreclaritywithregardto therelevanceofparticulardetailstotheoverallargumentofthisstudy. Inthesecondpart,Meyerturnstothecoretopicofhisbook,theNorthern Songdebatesonthecourtrituals.Hesinglesoutfourmajorissues:thedebateon thesacrificestoHeavenandEarth,includingthediscussionontheBrightHall (mingtang);thedebateonritualmusic;thedebateonthevenerationofPrincePu; andthedebateonthemourningritualforthedeceasedchancellorSimaGuang. Thesourcesonthesecontroversiesarescatteredandfragmentary,andsooneof Meyer'smajorachievementsishavingmeticulouslycompiledtheavailablematerialsandofferingcarefultranslationsanddetailedparaphrases.Inthisway,this sectionoffersaninformativeoverviewoftheparticularminutiaeconsideredin thesedebates--fromthecolorofthecurtainstothesoundofthebells.Moreover, thesectioneffectivelydemonstratesthatargumentsandeventuallydecisionswere oftensubjecttoalargearrayofconflictingconsiderations,fromexegesisofthe Confucianclassics,throughtheinterpretationofomens,tothepragmaticconcernsofeconomyandpowerstruggles.Despitethestrengthsofthissection,the authorsimplylistsalitanyofproposalsanddecreesinchronologicalorderwithout providingmuchanalyticalcontext,therebyrunningtheriskofoverburdeningthe reader.ParticularlywithrespecttotheexhaustivedebatesontheHeavenand Earthsacrificesandonritualmusic,theshortintroductionstothekeypointsof contentionhardlysufficetoguidethereaderthroughthesection'sextensive accountofthedeliberations. © 2012 by University of Hawai`i Press Reviews 219 Intheattempttoanalyzeandcontextualizethefourdebates,thethirdpart beginswithadescriptionofwhatMeyertermsthe"ritualidentityoftheshidafu"1 (scholar-officials)(p.306).Thissectionnolongerfocusesoncourtritualsbut explainswhatimplicationslihad,inabroadersense,fortheself-perceptionofthe shidafuduringtheNorthernSong.Theargumentclaimsthatengagingindiscoursesonlireassuredtheparticipantsoftheirsocialandpoliticalrelevanceand fosteredcohesionamongthem.Followingabriefintroductiontotheinstitutional frameworkofthedebatesattheSongcourt,Meyerreturnstohiscoresubject,the courtrituals,andanalyzestherolesofdifferentprotagonistssuchastheemperor, chancellorsandministers,censors,courtofficials,andexternalexperts. Shiftingthefocusoncemore,Meyerthenturnstosomeinterestingreflections ontheapplicabilityoftheHabermasiannotionofpublicspheretotheChinese context.HetherebyaddressesthecontentiousquestionofwhetherChinahas, or everhad,suchapublicsphere.Meyerconvincinglyconcludesthatneither Habermas'conceptof representativepublicspherenorthatofbourgeoispublic sphereiswellsuitedtodescribeNorthernSongsociety.Basedonhisanalysisof thecourtritualdebates,heproposesthenotionofadiscursivepublicsphere.This discursivepublicsphereiscourt-centered;however,incontrasttotherepresentativepublicsphere,itallowssubjectsoutsideofgovernmenttoengageincourt discussions. Attheendofthethirdpart,theauthorinvestigatestherelationbetweenthe debatesoncourtritualsandthefactionalismatthenorthernSongcourt.The analysisofthevariouspositionsonritualpracticesinlightofthefiercepolitical rivalriesofthisperiodtiesinnicelywithAriLevine'srecentstudyDivided by a Common Language: Factional Conflict in Late Northern Song China (Honolulu: UniversityofHawai`iPress,2008). Thefourthpartofthisbookassesseswhatimpactthecontroversiesover court rituals--inparticularthediscourseonthevenerationofPrincePu--hadon theemergenceofNeo-Confucianism.Forthispurpose,Meyerconcentrateson OuyangXiu,SimaGuang,andChengYi.Whileitisplausibletorestrictthesurvey tothesethreeeminentrepresentativesofNeo-Confucianthought,aconsideration ofsomeoftheirlessprominentandwell-studiedcontemporarieswouldhavebeen valuable.Nonetheless,Meyer'scarefulsurveyrevealsvariousremarkablediscrepanciesbetweenthepositionsofthethreethinkers.Mostnotably,Meyerarguesthat ChengYicanbeconsidered--andwouldhaveconsideredhimself--primarilyasa ritualexpert(pp.536­538),aviewthatbreaksawayfromthecommonscholarly perceptionofChengYiasaphilosopher. Overall,thestyleofwritingisratherheterogeneous.Oftenabruptly,it switchesfromhistoricalnarrativetotheoreticalreflections,fromsummariesof previousscholarshiptocomprehensivecompilationsortranslationsofdebate proceedings.Toadegree,theserupturesareaconsequenceofMeyer'squestionable decisiontoseparatethereconstructionofthediscourseontheritualsfromits 220 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.2,2011 contextualizationandanalysis.Thereby,almostinevitably,thestudysuffersfrom repetitivenessinsomesections.Atthesametime,thereaderisforcedtogoback andforthbetweensectionsinordertofindconcreteexamplesforgeneralobservationsandviceversa.Asaresult,thebookwastessomeofitsanalyticalandargumentativepotential.Inanefforttoguidethereaderthroughthisexhaustivestudy, theauthorbreaksitupintovarioussubsections,yetattimesthisexcessivefragmentationresultsinsubchaptersofnomorethantwoorthreesentences,which mayirritateratherthanassistthereader. Theeditingofthebookisnotalwayssatisfactory.Onemaywonder,forexample,whytheChinesecharactersaregiveninthemaintextfortwotranslationsof statementsbyChengYi(pp.532­533)whereasinallotherinstances,thecharacters areprovidedonlyforshortphrases,ifatall,andrelegatedtotheglossary.The usefulindexisnotincludedintheprintedversionofthebookbutonlyavailable online.2 Despitetheseshortcomings,thebreadthofissuesaddressedandthethoroughnesswithwhichtheauthortracesthedetailsofthedebatesoncourtrituals makethismonographatreasuretroveforspecialistswellbeyondSongstudies. Meyer'sapproachoflookingintothediscursiveratherthantheperformative dimensionoftheritualsprovesfruitfulasitopensuplinkstovariousrelatedfields. Iamconfidentthatexpertsinreligiousstudies,anthropology,andmusicology,as wellashistoriansofChinesephilosophyandpoliticaldiscourse,willfindthistobe aninstructivework. MartinHofmann Martin Hofmann is an assistant professor of Chinese intellectual history at the University of Heidelberg's Cluster Asia and Europe. Notes 1. Translationbytheauthor. 2. Availableat:http://www.monumenta-serica.de/www.steyler-missionare.de/svd/dcms/ sites/monumenta_serica/monumenta_english/orderforms/Ritendiskussionen%20Index.pdf. W.JohnMorganandBinWu,editors.Higher Education Reform in China: © 2012 by University of Hawai`i Press Beyond the Expansion.NewYork:Routledge,2011.174pp.Hardcover $128.00,isbn978-0-415-56413-7. Thiswell-roundedvolumeprovidesmanyimportantinsightsintoissuesofconcernintheaftermathofChina'sdramaticexpansiontoamasssystemofhigher

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China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Sep 19, 2011

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