In the Qing dynasty, the dispute between Jinwen and Guwen was a part of the disputes of Sinology between Neo-Confucianism, and the dispute evolved into a pivot of political and academic transformation in the late Qing and early Republic of China. With a view to reforming the ritual system by returning to the ancient political system, the movement which systematized national cultural heritage and discussed ancient history focused on differentiating and analyzing classics documents in order to eliminate the rationality of the political and educational system in Confucian ethics and rites. In the modern time, the New Culture generation of scholars promoted the historiography of classics. However, it is necessary to further probe into the academic division within traditional Chinese scholarship, and to study how the academic methods, issues and ideas inherited by scholars of different schools were developed and transcended by scholars of the Republic of China, leading to a pluralistic path in response to the integration of Chinese and western civilizations. In the 1930s, the historiography of classics had become a foregone conclusion. How to transcend the dispute of Jinwen and Guwen and deal with the ideas, methods and materials of classics in the way of history became the focus of the academic circle, thus opening a new round of controversy between Jinwen and Guwen. Scholars such as Qian Xuantong, Gu Jiegang and Meng Wentong called it “Beyond the Jinwen”, and this transcendence and transformation became the starting point for scholars to practice new academic studies. In the academic circle of the Republic of China, there were different ways to inherit and surpass traditional Confucian classics. In the historical concept of the Guwen, the Six Classics were regarded as the ancient political documents, and the ancient history was separated from the spirit of Confucianism. The New Culture generation of scholars aimed to construct a course of internal cultural evolution course by means of historiography so as to change the study of classics into historiography, and construct the framework of Chinese cultural history without being limited by the Confucian re-creation of Chinese standard culture. The scholar Hu Shi put forward the idea of “returning to Liao Ping” to review the rationality of Liao Ping's division of Jinwen and Guwen by the system of rites. The scholar Qian Mu traced the academic evolution of Qin and Han dynasties by historical facts, solved the dispute between Jinwen and Guwen, and was opposed to forced similarities and differences in the classics. Qian Xuantong and Gu Jiegang took a perspective of explicatory and analytical study, further historicized the issue of Jinwen and Guwen, and advocated going beyond the dispute over Jinwen and Guwen. Gu Jiegang advocated that Beyond the Jinwen should absorb the criticism of Neo-Confucianism and the textual research of Sinology, so as to get rid of the old and bring forth the new, and clarify the evolution of Chinese history and culture. Based on Jinwen, Meng Wentong and Li Yuancheng emphasized the dynamic interaction of Classics, institution, and historical facts, and sort out Science with national cultural heritage. They attempted to carry forward the New Confucianism of Qin and Han dynasties to establish the core values of Chinese civilization and construct the dynamic relationship between Confucianism and historical evolution. They started the Confucianism-oriented historiography in the modern academic context. By examining the historical context in which various schools of thought have transcended the debate between Jinwen and Guwen, and by integrating methods and objectives, we can not only examine the complex connotation of the transformation of modern classics and history, but also reflect on and enrich the methods and significance of current historical studies, in order to turn historical studies into the source of the subjectivity of civilization.
张凯. “超今文学”与近现代经史转型[J]. 浙江大学学报(人文社会科学版), 2019, 5(2): 213-.
Zhang Kai. Beyond the Jinwen and the Transformation from Classics to Historiography in Modern China. JOURNAL OF ZHEJIANG UNIVERSITY, 2019, 5(2): 213-.