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The New Text School

Doctrines The New Text School, which is the earliest expression of Scholastic Confucianism (Ching Hsueh) , acquires its name from two sources: firstly, from the versions of the Confucian classics written in the new script which prevailed at the beginning of the Former Han Dynasty, and secondly, from a method of interpretation designed to elucidate the profundity and subtle language of the Confucian classics.
Its doctrines derive from the synthesis of the principles of yin-yang and the theory of the Five Elements with the teachings of Confucianism. Yin and yang are two forces which eternally interact with each other, and this interaction is the source of everything that is. Yin, the female principle, is negative, passive and weak, and yang, the male principle, is positive, active and strong. The theory of the Five Elements states that the basic components of the cosmos are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. In the course of change the Five Elements create and destroy each other. Like everything else, the Five Elements are regarded as the product of the interaction of yin and yang.
The synthesis is achieved through postulating the total interconnection and interaction between Heaven and humanity. Heaven is described in anthropomorphic terms as "the Great Ancestor of Humanity", who controls human affairs and rewards the good and punishes the evil. Heaven and humanity are interrelated to such an extent that what happens in one affects what happens in the other. Consequently, people - especially rulers and ministers - need to cultivate virtue in order to maintain the harmonious relations between the yin and yang both in the cosmos and in the human world. The Five Elements are incorporated into this image of the cosmos in that they are made to correspond to particular dynasties. As one element supersedes another so one dynasty replaces another.
The status of Confucius is changed in such a way that he is elevated from the position of a mere teacher to that of a superhuman being (the 'uncrowned king') who by the Mandate of Heaven came to correct the faults of the human world.

History The period dominated by the short-lived Ch'in dynasty (221-206 BCE) was one in which Confucian influence and scholarship was seriously disrupted. The decree in 213 BCE of the First Emperor of the Ch'in dynasty that all books of the ritual schools were to be burnt, combined with the disruption caused by the civil war following the collapse of the central government, meant that the Confucian classics were either destroyed or concealed. With the revival of Confucianism in the Han dynasty there emerged the problem of finding the authentic versions of these classics. By the first century BCE the first versions had come to light, some of which were written in the archaic and obsolete script of the Chou dynasty, while others were in the new script commonly used and recognised at that time. A number of Confucian scholars, of whom Tung Chung-shu (179?-104? BCE) is the best known, took the latter as the authentic classics, onto which a new type of Confucianism was moulded which incorporated the ideas of the yinyang, the theory of the Five Elements, Taoist metaphysics and supernatural beliefs. This school, and Tung Chung-shu in particular, has been credited with the elevation of Confucianism to the position of state ideology in 136 BCE.
The school acquired a central position in both government and Confucian scholarship during the two Han dynasties. Under the influence of this school, Confucianism became more eclectic: it deified, worshipped and made sacrifices to Confucius and his disciples; and it was transformed from simply being a major doctrine to the state cult. However, towards the end of the Han dynasty Scholastic Learning lost its appeal for Confucian scholars, and the distinction between the New Text School and the Old Text School became blurred. Only at the end of the Ching dynasty (1664-1911) was the New Text School briefly revived by some of the reform Confucianists.

Symbols The New Text School does not have a distinctive symbol system.

Adherents It is impossible to determine the numberical size of the New Text School.

Main Centre
 The New Text School does not have a headquarters or main centre.