The thought of Kang Youwei 康有為, who is revered as one of the most important Confucian politicians of modern China, has received considerable attention in recent decades. While many studies are devoted to Kang’s theory of Confucianism and his political visions underlying the theory, what is generally overlooked is that, to a large extent, his arguments are built upon his understanding of Mohism. This article argues that Kang Youwei employs the Mozi 墨子 and early narratives about Mozi and Mohism to support his claims that Kongzi 孔子 authored the New-Text versions of the Five Classics, that he was a reformer of political institutions, and that he was a religious leader. By shedding light on Kang Youwei’s discussions of Mohism, this article offers a reconstruction of his argument and an alternative perspective for investigating his New-Text interpretation of Confucianism.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Bell, Daniel A. 2010. China’s New Confucianism: Politics and Everyday Life in a Changing Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Elman, Benjamin A. 1984. From Philosophy to Philology: Intellectual and Social Aspects of Change in Late Imperial China. Cambridge, MA: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University.
Fairbank, John King, and Kwang-Ching Liu, eds. 1980. The Cambridge History of China, vol. 11: Late Ch’ing 1800–1911, Part 2. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Gan, Chunsong 干春松. 2003. Institutionalized Confucianism and Its Dissolution 制度化儒家及其解體. Beijing 北京: Zhongguo Renmin Daxue Chubanshe 中國人民大學出版社.
______. 2005. “The Practice of Confucian Religion Association and the Predicament of the Modernization of Confucianism 清末民初孔教會實踐與儒家現代轉化的困境.” Qilu Journal 齊魯學刊 3: 20–26.
______. 2015. Defending the Teaching and Establishing a Nation: KangYouwei’s Modern Measures and Stratagems 保教立國: 康有為的現代方略. Beijing 北京: Sanlian Shudian 三聯書店.
Hsiao, Kung-chuan. 1976. A Modern China and a New World: K’angYu-wei, Reformer and Utopian, 1858–1927. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Jiang, Guobao 蔣國保. 2012. “Retrieving the National Spirit with Mohism—On the Reasons Why Scholars Highly Revered Mohism at the Dawn of Xinhai Revolution 以墨學收回國魂——論辛亥革命前幾年學者何以高度崇墨學.” Qilu Journal 齊魯學刊 3: 10–14.
Jiang, Qing 蔣慶. 2003. Political Confucianism—The Transformation, Characteristics and Evolvement of Contemporary Confucianism 政治儒學——當代儒學的轉向、特質與發展. Beijing 北京: Sanlian Shudian 三聯書店.
Kang, Youwei 康有為. 2007a. Complete Works of KangYouwei 康有為全集, vol. 1. Beijing 北京: Zhongguo Renmin Daxue Chubanshe 中國人民大學出版社.
______. 2007b. Complete Works of KangYouwei 康有為全集, vol. 2. Beijing 北京: Zhongguo Renmin Daxue Chubanshe 中國人民大學出版社.
______. 2007c. Complete Works of KangYouwei 康有為全集, vol. 3. Beijing 北京: Zhongguo Renmin Daxue Chubanshe 中國人民大學出版社.
Lee, Ting-mien. 2014. “When ‘Ru-Mo’ May Not Be ‘Confucians and Mohists’—The Meaning of ‘Ru-Mo’ and Early Intellectual Taxonomy.” Oriens Extremus 53: 111–138.
Legge, James. 1970. The Works of Mencius. New York: Dover Books.
Levenson, Joseph Richmond. 1968. Confucian China and Its Modern Fate: A Trilogy. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Liang, Qichao 梁啟超. 2000. Introduction to the Learning of the Qing Dynasty 清代學術概論. Shanghai 上海: Shanghai Guji Chubanshe 上海古籍出版社.
Lloyd, Geoffrey Ernest Richard. 1996. Adversaries and Authorities: Investigations into Ancient Greek and Chinese Science. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Qian, Mu 錢穆. 1994. “Collected Annotations to Mozi, Huishi, Gongsun Long and Zhuangzi 墨子, 惠施公孫龍, 莊子纂箋.” In Complete Works of QianMu 錢賓四先生全集, no. 6. Taipei 台北: Lianjing 聯經.
______. 1997. Chinese Intellectual History of the Recent Three Hundred Years 中國近三百年學術史. Beijing 北京: Shangwu Yinshuguan 商務印書館.
______. 2001. “Chronological Biographies of Liu Xiang and His Son Liu Xin 劉向歆父子年譜.” In A Critical Discussion of the New-Text and Old-Text Classicism in Han Dynasty 兩漢經學今古文平議. Beijing 北京: Shangwu Yinshuguan 商務印書館.
Qian, Xuantong 錢玄同. 1999. Collected Works of Qian Xuantong 錢玄同文集, vol. 4. Beijing 北京: Zhongguo Renmin Daxue Chubanshe 中國人民大學出版社.
Wang, Jung-tzu 汪榮祖. 1988. A Comparative Study of KangYouwei and ZhangBinglin 康章合論. Taipei 台北: Lianjing 聯經.
Wang, Xianshen 王先慎. 2003. HanFeizi with Commentaries 韓非子集解. Beijing 北京: Zhonghua Shuju 中華書局.
Wei, Yuan 魏源. 2004 “The Ancient Esoteric Meaning of the Book of Documents 書古微.” In Complete Works of WeiYuan 魏源全集. Changsha 長沙: Yuelu Shushe 岳麓書社.
Ye, Dehui 葉德輝. 2002. “Postscript to the ‘Method of Reading Books of Western Learning’ 〈 讀西學書法〉 書後.” In A Compendium for the Defence of the Teaching 翼教叢編, edited by Su Yu 蘇輿. Shanghai 上海: Shanghai Shudian 上海書店.
Yu, Dahua 喻大華, and Jiang Hong 姜虹. 2009. “On the Year Numbering Systems of ‘Era of Confucius’ and ‘Era of Yellow Emperor’ in the Late Qing 論晚清 ‘孔子紀年’ 與 ‘黃帝紀年’.” Journal of Liaoning Normal University (Social Science Edition) 遼寧師範大學學報(社科版) 32.2: 120–123.
Zarrow, Peter. 2005. China in War and Revolution, 1895–1949. London: Routledge.
Zhou, Yutong 周予同. 1996. ZhouYutong’s Selected Works on the History of Classicism 周予同經學史論著選集, rev. ed. Shanghai 上海: Shanghai Renmin Chubanshe 上海人民出版社.
Zhu, Weizheng 朱維錚. 1995. A Tradition without a Definite Tone 音調未定的傳統. Shenyang 瀋陽: Liaoning Jiaoyu Chubanshe 遼寧教育出版社.
______. 1997. Seeking True Civilization: On Late Qing Scholarly History 求索真文明: 晚清學術史論. Shanghai 上海: Shanghai Guji Chubanshe 上海古籍出版社.
I am immensely indebted to Carine Defoort for her comments on various early versions of this essay and her support throughout the different stages of revision. I would also like to express my gratitude to Nicolas Standaert, Paul R. Goldin, and Wai-chun Leong for their generous intellectual contributions to this essay. I thank also the two anonymous reviewers for their incisive comments and useful suggestions. Any errors are my own and should not tarnish the professional advice and reputations of these esteemed scholars.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Lee, Tm. The Role of Mohism in Kang Youwei’s Arguments for His New-Text Theory of Confucianism. Dao 19, 461–477 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11712-020-09737-w
- Kang Youwei 康有為
- New-Text Classicism
- Five Classics