To Rebuild the Empire provides the first complete critical study in any language of Lu Chih (Lu Hsuan-kung, 754-805), one of traditional China's most important prime ministers and a pivitol figure in T'ang dynasty China's struggle for survival toward the end of the eighth century. The work also provides an intellectual history of an era, beginning about the middle of the T'ang Dynasty (618-907), that was influential in the revival and transformation of Confucianism. Josephine Chiu-Duke reconstructs and examines both Lu Chih's intellectual commitments, as shown in his efforts to rebuild the T'ang empire, and his significance for the Confucian tradition.
This book is important for its assertion of the need to look at the political dimension of the mid-T'ang Confucian revival; its presentation of a more subtle and nuanced understanding of the reconciliation of Confucian commitments and practical considerations; and its discriminating employment of more accurate concepts that help move the field of T'ang intellectual history beyond the usual moralist/pragmatist dichotomy. The work represents a welcome advance over the existing literature in any language.
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