Tung Chung-Shu

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tung Chung-Shu


Born c. 179 B.C.; died 104 B.C. Chinese philosopher, on whose suggestion Confucianism was proclaimed the official ideology in 136 B.C.

In his work Ch’un-ch’iu Fan-lu (The Luxuriant Dew of the Spring and Autumn Annals), Tung Chung-shu endowed heaven (tien) with the attributes of a god possessing moral consciousness who punishes for criminal administration by causing natural disasters and who points out improprieties in the conduct of the ruler and his associates with the aid of unusual natural phenomena that upset the natural order. Confucian officials tried to make use of this theory to limit the emperor’s despotism. The cosmological speculations of Tung Chung-shu combine Confucianism with the theories of yin-yang and the five primal elements.


Franke, O. Studien zur Geschichte des Konfuzianischen Dogmas und der chinesischen Staatsreligion: Das Problem des Tsch’unts’iu und Tung Tschung-schu’s “Tsch’un-ts’iufan lu.” Hamburg, 1920.
Shryock, J. K. The Origin and Development of the State Cult of Confucius. New York, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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