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Dong Zhongshu (Tung Chung-shu)

Roger T. A

Dong Zhongshu (c. 195-105 B.C.E.; traditionally 179-104 B.C.E.) is generally regarded not only as an early champion of Confucianism during the Han dynasty but as the prime mover in establishing Confucianism as a state ideology-an ideology that would endure through the two millennia of imperial China until its end with the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911. Perhaps his most remarkable contribution was to provide imperial authority with a cosmic context, locating the ruler as axis mundi between the social and political worlds of the human being and the divinely driven processes of cosmic change. He has traditionally been regarded as the author of the Chunqiu fanlu (Luxuriant Dew of the Spring and Autumn Annals), although current scholarship has brought this attribution into question. What is not in question is that he was one of the foremost interpreters of the Gongyang Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals, so that he was empowered intellectually as a direct transmitter of Confucian wisdom.