I didn’t make a big thing of it in class, and nobody seems to have noticed the discrepancy, but there’s something of a disparity between my World History textbook (Brummet, et al., Civilization: Past and Present, 11e) and my own understanding of the development of Neo-Confucianism. Now that the semester’s (almost) over, I’d like to throw it open for comment.
My understanding, based in no small part on the new editions of the Columbia Sourcebooks, is that Cheng Hao and Cheng Yi were largely in agreement on the matter of li [principle] and qi [essence, force, energy, etc.], but that Cheng Yi emphasized qi as the most important consideration in personal development while Cheng Hao emphasized jen [humaneness] as the key to education and moral understanding. Zhu Xi, then, while a student of both brothers, was more a follower of Cheng Yi, focusing on the function of qi; thus the term Cheng-Zhu Confucianism.
Cheng Hao, on the other hand, was the progenitor of the Cheng-Lu strain, emphasizing, along with Lu Xiangshan, the unity of xin [mind, soul, heart, etc] with the Ultimate substrate of existence and the li principle. This is important particularly because it’s the foundation for the development of Wang Yangming thought, which was very influential in Japan.
Civilization, though, puts the Cheng brothers together as developers of li-qi theory, and claims that Zhu Xi “differed from the Chengs by ascribing greater importance to li over qi and by positing the existence of a Supreme Ultimate to which all li was connected.” (304)
Am I splitting hairs to see the textbook as oversimplifying to the point of error? How do you teach the Song Renaissance?