This book deals with the
ru, a word too often understood as a reference to ‘Confucian literati‘. The study consists of two parts. In the first part the author discusses the problem of the origins of the
ru and presents the main hypotheses offered by modern Chinese scholars in this respect. The second part examines the status and nature of a number of
ru at a very important period in their history, namely the Qin dynasty and the early Han dynasty (3rd to 2nd centuries B.C.), with the interpretation of famous episodes such as the ‘execution of literati’ in 212, and the so-called ‘victory of Confucianism’ one century later.
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt/M., New York, Oxford, Wien, 2003. 409 pp.
Contents: The ru - from early times to the beginning of the twentieth century – Hu Shi’s «Shuo ru» – Criticism of Hu
Shi’s «Shuo ru» – After Hu Shi: variations on the wang guan shuo – Other recent theories on the origins of the ru
– The Erudites (boshi) until the early Han dynasty – The execution of 212 B.C. – The ru during Emperor Gaozu’s
reign – The ru under Emperor Wu’s rule.