Five Classics

Five Classics

Five ancient Chinese books associated with Confucius.

For more than 2,000 years they were invoked as authorities on Chinese society, government, literature, and religion. Chinese students usually studied the shorter Four Books before attempting the Five Classics, which consist of the Yijing ("Classic of Changes"), the Shujing ("Classic of History"), the Classic of Poetry, the Collection of Rituals, and the Chunqiu ("Spring and Autumn Annals"). The Five Classics were taught from 136 BC (when Confucianism became the state ideology of China) until the early 20th century. Proficiency in the texts was required for any scholar applying for a post in the vast government bureaucracy. After 1950 only select texts were taught in public schools. See Chinese examination system.

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Universalium. 2010.

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