Tao Wang


Temporality of law is of great significance in traditional Chinese juridicopolitical thought, and its influence plays a crucial role in China's state building and governance. The existing temporal phrases from the West are not sufficient for explaining the symbol-oriented legal system in traditional China. Formalist law overlooks the temporal elements intrinsic to the legal system and results in the failure of governance. This Article applies a historical culture paradigm to analyze the temporality of law in traditional China by using plurality, sociality, and rhetoric as indicators to demonstrate the contestation of temporal categories in penality, socialization of seasonal time, and the transcending moral discourse in law, as well as by examining the temporal relevance in the classical textual and cultural context of traditional China. The Article further shows that the intertemporal dynamism in law facilitated the formation of a unified and stable system of order over China's long imperial period. The intertemporality in traditional Chinese law still exerts huge influence on legal governance in contemporary China.

First Page