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Written by Super User Category: Article
Published on 26 June 2014 Hits: 9864

The Four Books already existed in early Qin Dynasty, but had a different name. Apart from “ The Analects of Confucius”, which records the word of Confucius, the Four Books includes “The Great Learning”, “The Doctrine of the Mean”, and “The Mencius”. “The Mencius” tells the political ideology of another important Confucian representative figure Mencius. “The Great Learning”, and “The Doctrine of the Mean”, originally two articles of “The Book of Rites”, mainly offer ideas on how to engage in scholarship and how to cultivate one’s moral character. In the Southern Song Dynasty, the famous scholar Zhu Xi drew them out and gave his explanations respectively, and published them together with “The Analects of Confucius”, and “The Mencius” as a set of Confucian classical text books for those beginners to study Confucian ideology, named “Collective Explanations of the sentences and Articles of the Four Books”. Later it was simplified as “The Four Books”. The Five Classics refer to “The Book Of Rites”, and “The Spring and Autumn Annals”, altogether five classics.
During both the Ming and Qing Dynasties, items of the imperial examinations were all taken from the Four Books and the Five Classics. The examines must give all their answers in accordance with Zhu Xi’s books, and in the stereotyped writing.
Thus, the Four Books and the Five Classics soon became the most important textbooks for the intellectuals, and also in this way the ideology expressed by them became principles of people conducting themselves in society. Furthermore, as one of the most primary sets of books of ancient China, the books and the profound Confucian ideology by them are still greatly influencing people today.