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This companion to Jiang Yonglin's translation of "The Great Ming Code" analyzes the code's underlying thought in terms of the spiritual and social agenda articulated by the founder of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), Zhu Yuanzhang. Jiang challenges the conventional assumption that law in premodern China was used merely to exercise naked state power and argues that "The Great Ming Code" represented a powerful religious effort for social transformation.