To Rebuild the Empire

Lu Chih's Confucian Pragmatist Approach to the Mid-T'ang Predicament

By Josephine Chiu-Duke

Subjects: Asian Studies
Series: SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
Paperback : 9780791445020, 324 pages, March 2000
Hardcover : 9780791445013, 324 pages, March 2000

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Table of contents





1 · A Bureaucratized Aristocratic Lineage

2 · Into the Limelight

3 · Untimely Exit

4 · A Confucian Pragmatist Approach

5 · Road to Reform

6 · A Lone Pursuit

7 · Mid-T'ang Comparisons

8 · Significance in the Mid-T'ang Confucian Revival


Appendix 1: A Note on Sources

Appendix 2: Lu Chih's Works Cited in the Text





Provides both a biography of the pivotal T'ang Dynasty figure Lu Chih and an intellectual history of his era, which is instrumental in the revival and transformation of Confucianism.


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.

Josephine Chiu-Duke is Senior Instructor, Asian Studies Department, University of British Columbia.


"This thoroughly researched book makes an important contribution to our understanding of the politics of the late eighth century T'ang court, providing new details on the family background and life of the elusive minister and imperial adviser Lu Chih, and his relationship with his imperial master Te-tsung. " -- Denis Twitchett, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University