Virtuous Discussions of the White Tiger Hall
The discussions in the White Tiger Hall were held in 58 AD by the highest state officials and Confucian scholars, experts in the Five Confucian Classics. Questions about theology, superstition and the relationship between Heaven and Man were not new at that time. People like Wang Chong (王充 27- 97 AD; wrote Lunheng 论衡 "Discussive Weighing") and Huan Tan (桓谭 24 BC-56 AD; wrote Xinlun 新论 "New Discussions" ) already had opposed against the superstituous thinking of their contemporarians.
The main objective of the discussions in the White Tiger Hall was the theologization of the orthodox New Text writings of Confucianism, as proposed by Dong Zhongshu (董仲舒). The theories of the Five Phases and yin-yang thus became more stable as a basis for natural science, social science, the governmental system and the understanding of human relationships. The book Baihutong (also called Baihu tongyi) is an essence of Han Dynasty thaught as the result of Chinese understanding of the relationship of all beings inside the universe to each other.
Heaven and Earth were seen as the parents of the ruler, the "Son of Heaven" (天子). Heaven is the superior judge over the behaviour especially of the ruler. If the ruler follows the will of Heaven by exerting a virtuous government, he is benefitted by a long rule and the subjects' support. If the ruler is disobedient to Heaven's will, earthquakes and desasters will give him hints of his misbehavior, and in the end, the people will rebell and the ruler or his dynasty will be wiped away. A ruler exerting politics of humanity and righteousness will have Heaven's religious authority or the "Heavenly mandate" (天命). All things under heaven follow the natural Heavenly order. This order begins with the different grades for governmental officials and ends with the social order inside the families, the ancestor being the highest person in a household, after him the father, the son, the wifes, and then the daughters.
The Discussions of the White Tiger Hall are therewith a mirror of the Confucian society. All patterns and rules of the social order serve to facilitate the human relationships.
The book was compiled by the historian Ban Gu (班固) and has the full title Baihutong delun (白虎通德论) "Virtuous discussion, held in the White Tiger [Hall]", or Baihu tongyi (白虎通义) "Comprehensive meanings [as discussed] in the White Tiger [Hall]".