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This volume presents a comprehensive analysis of theConfucian thinker Xunzi and his work, which shares the same name. It features avariety of disciplinary perspectives and offers divergent interpretations. Thedisagreements reveal that, as with any other classic, the Xunzi provides fertile ground for readers. It is a source fromwhich they have drawn—and will continue to draw—different lessons.
In more than 15 essays, the contributors examine Xunzi’sviews on topics such as human nature, ritual, music, ethics, and politics. Theyalso look at his relations with other thinkers in early China and consider hisinfluence in East Asian intellectual history.
A number of important Chinese scholars in the Song dynasty(960–1279 CE) sought to censor the Xunzi.They thought that it offered a heretical and impure version of Confuciansim. Asa result, they directed study away from the Xunzi.This has diminished the popularity of the work.
However, the essays presented here help to change thissituation. They open the text’s riches to Western students and scholars. Thebook also highlights the substantial impact the Xunzi has had on thinkers throughout history, even on those whowere critical of it. Overall, readers will gain new insights and a deeperunderstanding of this important, but often neglected, thinker.