Ever since the Han dynasty, the Chapter “Sheng zhi” of the Xiaojing has been the fundament to justify the way the ritual for the emperor’s ancestors was performed in the Hall of Enlightened Rule. As a consequence, every change in this ritual necessitated a reinterpretation of this chapter. Such a reinterpretation was even unavoidable when it happened to be so that a new emperor was not the natural son of the previous emperor — as was the case for the Ming dynasty Jiajing Emperor. In all cases a reinterpretation of the chapter “Sheng zhi” was thought necessary, and (at times heated) debates ensued among Confucian scholars. This article focuses on the specific case of the Jiajing Emperor’s reinterpretation of the chapter “Sheng zhi” and on the concomitant debate in the Ming dynasty.