Du You

chancellor of Tang Dynasty and historian

735   -   812

country of citizenship: Tang dynasty
occupation: historian, politician
position held: Chancellor of the Tang Dynasty

Ebooks: on Wikisource

Du You (Chinese: 杜佑; pinyin: Dù Yòu; Wade–Giles: Tu Yu) (735 – December 23, 812), courtesy name Junqing (君卿), formally Duke Anjian of Qi (岐安簡公), was a Chinese scholar, historian and chancellor of the Tang Dynasty. Du was born to an eminent aristocratic family in what is now Xi'an, Shaanxi, almost eighteen years before the abrupt rebellion of An Lushan, and received office for the privilege as administrator of Chi-nan commandery (modernly Licheng District). Robert G. Hoyland considers him a "political thinker on a grand scale," comparable to Ibn Khaldun, but he is most often remembered for his thirty-six year compilation of the Tongdian, a historical encyclopedia of 200 sections (volumes) collecting laws, regulations, and general events from ancient times to his own.While considering Confucian teachings on the relationship between father and son essential, Du stated that he didn't believe that they provided relevant information for government policy. A legal specialist and authority over state finances, he became Commissioner for Public Revenue and Salt and Iron, and has been called a "Legalist" for his appreciation of political planners, dismissal of antiquity and concepts like fate, and strong interest in the Xunzi. John Keay calls him "enamored" of Shang Yang. However, despite expending little effort on rectifying Imperial conduct, along the lines of Xun Kuang he still believed in the possibility of moral transformation, and considers rites essential to government (which in Xun Kuang's view encompass all government regulations and institutions). Du favored the light taxation system of the Confucians and the recommendation system of the Han dynasty as a replacement for the examination system. As a character he has often been regarded as antithetical to the more Confucian Lu Zhi, but in reality they seemed to agree on a number of points and Lu didn't have any problem recommending Du for his abilities.
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