In the Late Qing and the Republic of China, scholars had developed different paths in transforming traditional academics and bridging SinoWestern and oldnew in the context of the evolution of Classical Studies and Historiography. Two distinct schools of Confucianism came into being in the Republic of China: one was the historical ″Guwen″ represented by Zhang Taiyan and his students, the other was the philosophic Jinwen represented by Liaoping and his students. With the aggravation of the National Calamity in the 1930s and revival of Confucianism, it was a common practice to promote Chinese culture and national spirits. Thus the transformation and practice of Confucianism became the focus in the discussion between the two different schools. During the dispute Meng Wentong and Li Yuancheng, Liao Pings students, argued with Zhang Taiyan and Huang Kan constantly about sinology and NeoConfucianism, ″Jinwen″ and ″Guwen,″ and ″Classical Studies″ and ″Historiography″ to clarify the origin and development of Confucian philosophy. After a careful study of Qings academic history and looking into the relations between Dai Zhens philosophy and Xun Zi, Zhang Taiyan emphasized the unique significance of Dai Zhen in Qings Academic history. On the contrary, Meng Wentong and Li Yuancheng resorted to traditional sinology and Confucian theories to question the construction of Dai Zhens theory. Based on the examination of Examine Goodness, Li Yuancheng criticized Dai Zhens doctrine of Ethics, Desire and Goodness as a misunderstanding of Mencius. Based on Guwen and centreing around the separation of Confucianism and Buddhism, Zhang Taiyan stressed the reliability of the historical account of the Six Classics to respond to the Skeptical School and illustrated the ideological and cultural tradition of China in the past two thousand years. Li Yuancheng had developed Liao Pings theory and discussed with Zhang Taiyan the Rites and Spring and Autumn aiming to link ″Jinwen″ and ″Guwen″ and to reiterate the Great Righteousness of Spring and Autumn. Meng Wentong, through his study of the development of Confucian philosophy in Zhou dynasty, Qin dynasty and the two Han dynasties, attempted to find the succession of Confucianism and Menciuss thoughts, to analyze the philosophy of ″humanity and destiny，″ to interpret the controversies over Mencius and Xun Zi, to clarify the origin of sinology， and to challenge Cheng Zhu Confucian Orthodoxy. In short, Liao Pings students had constructed a Confucian system based on the ″Goodness″ of Mencius, theoretically paving the way for for Jinwen and Confucian historiography. The school of Zhang Taiyan Huang Kan purported to explore the development of national cultures, focused on the language and history, and advocated the cultivation of mind and behavior. Thus, it had associated moral ethics with political and social pragmaticism and had started the practical academics of Classical Studies and Historiography. In contrast, Liao Pings students emphasized on constructing an dynamic interaction between the meanings of Classics, institution, and historical facts, carrying forward the ″New Confucianism of Qin and Han，″ and elucidating the revolutionary spirit of Jinwen and system design. Dispute of ″Jinwen″ and ″Guwen″ manifested the core difference of the academic interests between the schools of Zhang Taiyan Huang Kan and Liao Pings students. A clarification of their differences and disputes is of importance in interpreting the diversification of modern Confucianism and providing intellectual resources for the building of a nationstate or a civilizationstate.
张凯. 经今古文之争与国难之际儒学走向[J]. 浙江大学学报(人文社会科学版), 2013, 43(3): 103-115.
Zhang Kai. Dispute of ''Jinwen'' and ''Guwen'' and Orientation of Confucianism under the Background of ''National Calamity''. , 2013, 43(3): 103-115.