The development of the concept Datong in Chinese history

Begin - Einde 
2022 - 2026 (lopend)
Vakgroep Talen en Culturen



The Datong Thought derived from the Book of Rites, which refers to the Datong ideal of the world as one community, the Xiaokang ideal of a prosperous society, and the Dashun ideal of seeking common ground while reserving differences. This ideal state describes people living in a harmonious, equal, just, and free society, pursuing common interests and happiness. The idea of Datong has always held an important position in ancient Chinese philosophy, was widely discussed and studied, and can be traced back to classics such as the Book of Changes and the Shangshu. In subsequent history, many scholars in the fields of Confucianism, Mohism, Taoism, and Buddhism conducted in-depth research and exploration of the Great Harmony Thought. With the development of history, the idea of Great Harmony reached its peak in the Song Dynasty, and Zhu Xi believed that the essence of Chinese Confucianism lies in the idea of Datong. After the Qing Dynasty, the study of Datong Thought experienced a new stage of development. During this period, Datong Thought was not only a philosophical theory, but also a political and social concept that was applied to practical work. For example, Kang Youwei tried to combine the thought of Datong Thought with modern western democratic thought. The “people’s livelihood doctrine” in Sun Yat-Sen’s “Three Principles of the People” is a social concept based on the thought of Datong.

The purpose of this research is to sort out the development and evolution of the Datong Thought in China’s past dynasties. It not only studies the evolution and replacement process of the Datong Thought from ancient times to the present from the perspective of historical inheritance and internal logic, but also makes a detailed analysis of the theoretical sources, historical contexts and backgrounds, as well as the purpose of the times that formed its Datong Thought, showing the Datong thought under the multi-dimensional interpretation space, between ancient and modern times, and the fusion of Chinese and Western perspectives in the process of historical development, highlighting the different characteristics and internal reasons for the development of the Datong Thought in different periods.