Zhonglun 中論 "Discussions on the mean Way" is a political treatise written during the very late Han period 後漢 (25-220 CE) by Xu Gan 徐幹 (170-217). Of the original 6 juan, only 2 are preserved, containing 20 chapters. It is known that at least two chapters mentioned in older sources are lost (Fusannian sang 復三年喪, Zhiyi 制役) since the Song period 宋 (960-1279).
The book is traditionally classified as a Confucian treatise because ritual, etiquette and benevolence are stressed as basis for a good government. The development of the right moral background is, from the viewpoint of a ruler or a government, more important than to care for details. Xu Gan criticized the Confucians of his own days because they were more occupied with tools, objects, instruments, terms and designations, exegesis and interpretation of the old writings, instead of living a moral life in the Confucian sense. Sincere and upright behaviour has to come first, and the realities of a society, based on a moral fundament, would automatically lead to the right designations and regulations in ceremonial and ritual matters.
|1.||治學||Zhixue||The teachings of government|
|2.||法象||Faxiang||The expression of laws|
|4.||虛道||Xudao||The way of the void|
|7.||藝紀||Yiji||About the classic arts|
|8.||覈辯||Fubian||A debate in response|
|10.||爵祿||Juelu||Titles of nobility and salaries|
|14.||夭壽||Yaoshou||Early death and longevity|
|15.||務本||Wuben||The root of duties|
|16.||審大臣||Shen dachen||Investigating grand ministers|
|17.||慎所從||Shen suo cong||Sincere followers|
|18.||亡國||Wangguo||The demise of a dynasty|
|19.||賞罰||Shangfa||Reward and punishment|
|20.||民數||Minshu||The size of the people|