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Imagery and Forms of Creation by the Sages: A Chinese Version of the Theory of the Origins of Society

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No. 6, 2022

 

Imagery and Forms of Creation by the Sages: A Chinese Version of the Theory of the Origins of Society

(Abstract)

 

Wang Zhongjiang

 

Throughout intellectual history, there have been different theories and interpretative patterns of the origin of human society and the state, such as the doctrine of creation by the Almighty, the divine right of kings, spontaneous evolution, the social contract, and so forth. In addition, there is a powerful version which can be called creation by the sage. This version was mainly constructed and shaped by Chinese zixue scholars; it can be clearly distinguished and forms a striking contrast with other versions. Compared with the exploration of the other versions, however, the exploration and pursuit of the theory of sagely creation falls short. The historical evolution of this theory has its own domain of discourse, while the whole of its imagery, forms, and characteristics constitute another. The discussion and verification of the latter features contain interconnected issues, including who were the creators of human society and how; the primitive state of scarcity, power, and chaos; how were civilizations, governments and the state created; and the distinguishable features of sagely creation theory compared with other versions.