Zhu Xi and his Contemporaries: Zhang Shi, Lü Zuqian, Chen Liang, and Lu Jiuyuan

  • Hoyt Cleveland TillmanEmail author
Part of the Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy book series (DCCP, volume 13)


Traditional and twentieth-century scholarship about ZHU Xi’s contemporaries generally followed Zhu’s views on Confucians with whom he disagreed to varying degrees; moreover, such scholarship tended to portray Zhu as the unique systematic philosopher of the twelfth century and to pay tribute to his singular genius. Among Zhu’s contemporaries, ZHANG Shi, LU Zuqian, CHEN Liang, and LU Jiuyuan had particularly influential roles not only in contributing ideas to Zhu’s ultimate synthesis, but also in either inspiring or provoking Zhu to develop his viewpoints further in response to their ideas. By highlighting the importance of Zhu’s contemporaries, Hoyt Tillman’s publications since the late 1970s have increasingly developed a case for seeing a sharp contrasts in how Zhu interacted with his contemporaries over time and how Zhu asserted his own singular authority. Reading recent research publications to write this topical overview, it became increasingly evident that the early 1990s marked a significant “turn” toward more balanced and positive evaluations of Zhu’s contemporaries. Scholarship since 1990 has largely continued the turn toward highlighting the contributions of Zhu’s contemporaries and their shared commitments to moral cultivation and fundamental reforms of their sociopolitical world.



While writing this chapter, I benefited from discussions with Margaret Mih Tillman and two 2017 visiting scholars about recent scholarship in the PRC: Liu Yumin of Zhejiang Normal University, and Ren Renren of East China Normal University.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yuelu AcademyHunan UniversityChangshaPeople’s Republic of China

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