, Zhang Zai, Shao Yong, Cheng Yi, and Cheng Hao were known as the "five scholars of the Northern Song Dynasty." They resumed and developed the 1,000 -year old Confucius tradition, and placed Confucianism into the everyday lives of Chinese again. They formed a set of theoretical systems to counteract the highly sophisticated and abstract theoretical systems of Buddhism and Taoism. Besides influences of the encouragement of the government as well as the long-time tradition, Confucianism also took a very important position in the Chinese culture and thought system as a result of the efforts by the "five scholars of the Northern Song Dynasty."
is a learned and prominent scholar of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). He conducted a complete coordination and restructuring of the Confucian thoughts and developments since the Northern Song Dynasty. Zhu made a lot of contributions in ontology, cosmology, theory of human nature, political philosophy, and even literature theory. He compiled Four Books (i.e. the four major Confucian classics: The Analects of Confucius, Mencius, The Great Learning, and The Doctrine of the Mean), which were later considered the teaching material for the imperial examinations in the Yuan and Ming dynasties (1271-1644). His thoughts have tremendous influences on Chinese humanity, and also impacted Japan and Korea.
is a great scholar of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) who has a distinctively different style from Zhu Xi. He upheld the easiest and simplest theories, as well as the vivid and lively ways to fulfill them. Wang played a very important role for the popularization of Confucianism.
Liu Zongzhou and Wang Chuanshan are two important Confucian theorists in the Ming Dynasty. With a strong belief in Confucianism, Liu Zongzhou and his disciples committed suicide when the Ming Dynasty collapsed. Wang Chuanshan joined the army against the Qing troops. After the Ming Dynasty was diminished, Wang led a secluded life in the mountains, and annotated The Book of Changes in a different approach from all the previous notes. His works are no less than that of Zhu Xi"s, and there is still plenty more to be explored in Wang"s works.