Zhang Jiuling was a famous Prime Minister during the reign of emperor Xuanzong, and there has been no shortage of academic research into his life, the vast majority of which is concerned with his literary accomplishments. However, there has been almost no investigation of either his involvement in the governance of the empire, or of his legal philosophy. This paper uses the term “legal philosophy” to include his understanding of order, the establishment of administrative systems, the relationship between ceremonial and law, as well as his interpretation of laws, among other things. On the whole, we can see that Zhang Jiuling was profoundly influenced by his Confucian education, and that his understanding of order included the supervisory power of heaven, as well as role of human striving. He believed in the existence of a heavenly will which functioned as a judge to all worldly beings, with the power to reward righteousness and punish evil -- an master of the order of the world. As a response to the supervisory power of heaven, he advocated the use of systematization as a method to remedy the phenomenon of highly valuing the central government while despising the local officials among Tang dynasty officials, thus ensuring the quality of governance at the local government. With regards to maintaining social law and order, he believed that the Confucian ethics were far more useful than the law. And, while he valued the preservation of the legal system, he simultaneously believed that the law should be adjusted as society changed.
|Effective start/end date||2017/08/01 → 2020/07/31|
- Zhang Jiuling
- legal philosophy
- emperor Xuanzong
- Tang dynasty
- Confucian ethics
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