This article surveys the usages of the term de 德 in the Zuozhuan《左傳》. It demonstrates the term's hermeneutical richness: de could refer to charismatic power, to political potency, to proper decorum, to mildness and kindness in domestic or interstate affairs, to individual morality, and so forth. Behind this richness, though, we may discern a clear predominance of political usages of de and paucity of references to de as personal moral virtue. Notably, Zuozhuan never refers to de in the context of moral self-cultivation. The article discusses the reasons for this peculiarity.
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- Political thought