For many people, orthodoxy in late imperial China means Confucianism, or more precisely, Neo-Confucianism. Unlike most studies of Chinese values, which approach the subject as a philosophical and religious system, this book focuses on the interaction between Neo-Confucianism that stood for far more than more benevolent government, individual morality, and scholarly cultivation. In the essays presented here, Confucian idealism and transcendence become part of a system of sacred obligations and loyalties operating in the context of the imperial state and the family. These careful case studies examine many facets of the late imperial society to create a complex picture of Chinese life. Among other things, they provide a look at the official worship system, mid Ch'ing scholarly academies, the special status of tenant/servants, and the lineage feuds that were rampant on the southeast coast. The authors bring out the cultural significance of state and family rituals. They depict worried patriarchs composing instructions for the guidance of their children and country magistrates prescribing punishments according to the ritual of the culprit. A debate between two viewpoints develops: was orthodoxy a "mode of statecraft," or was it one of the ultimate concerns of not only the Confucian schools but mainstream Taoism and Buddhism as well? The authors argue argue that ?Chinese civilization was characterized by religious and philosophical pluralism and moral orthodoxy. The implications they see for a socioethical doctrine supported by and in support of political authority will be of interest to students of comparative history and civilization.