JIANG Yonglin, The Mandate of Heaven and The Great Ming Code. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011. Cloth, xiv + 245 pp. $ 65.00. ISBN: 9780295990651

  • Hang LIN


Challenging the Western scholarship’s conventional assumption that law in imperial China was used as an arm of the state to serve the ends of social control and as a secular instrument for exercising despotic power, JIANG Yonglin, an established expert on legal culture in imperial China, seeks to contextualize that culture through a China-centered history offering new insight into the Ming Code. The present volume is the product of the author’s extensive research on The Great Ming Code, yet it would not be fair to consider this work a mere “companion volume” to his erudite translation of the same. In The Mandate of Heaven and The Great Ming Code, JIANG analyzes the underlying spirit of the Ming Code and endeavors to show that the text embodies a unique cosmological and in some way religious world view. He further argues that the Ming Code served as an instrument to manifest the Mandate of Heaven, to educate the people and to transform the society.