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By Dirk Meyer

Scholarship on early chinese language notion has lengthy tended to regard texts as mere repositories of principles instead of as significant items of their personal correct. not just does this procedure current an idealised account of China's highbrow earlier, however it additionally imposes man made limitations among textual and philosophical traditions. because the first examine to regard textual content as a cultural phenomenon through the Warring States interval, this e-book demonstrates the interaction one of the fabric stipulations of textual content and manuscript tradition, writing, and suggestion. via shut readings of philosophical texts excavated at Guōdian, it analyses an important thoughts of that means building and casts gentle at the ways that various groups used texts to philosophical ends. Meyer therefore establishes new understandings of the correlation among rules, their fabric service, and the creation of that means in early China.

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Extra info for Philosophy on Bamboo: Text and the Production of Meaning in Early China (Studies in the History of Chinese Texts)

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C 忠之為道也,百工不楛而人養皆足; 信之為道也,群物皆成而百善皆立。 君子,其施也[忠],故蠻親附也; [----- 其言爾[信],故亶而可受也。 忠,仁之實也;信,義之基也。 49 是故古之所以行乎蠻貉者,如此也。 Figure 5: Overlapping Structure on the Macrolevel of the “Zhōng xìn zhī dào” 50 chapter one saying this, I do not suggest that reading a text like the “Zhōng xìn zhī dào” through its formal structure should be seen only as a strategy for corroborating the palaeographical reconstruction of corrupted or missing passages. Paying close attention to the formal structure of a text’s composition provides evidence about the proper sequence of the strips, as will be discussed in the next chapters.

Labels such as ‘Confucianism’ or ‘Daoism’ when classifying remnants of thought from the Warring States period. 3 This once more demonstrates that the attempt to associate a newly excavated text from the Warring States period with one of the traditional labels of philosophical affiliation is not very instructive and certainly does not further our understanding of the text itself. The problem of using such labels is that they suggest an intellectual consistency that is difficult to justify and, worse, may in fact distort historical reality.

Many of these sayings—or possibly brief ideas—also appear in other texts of the tomb corpus. 38 But whereas the authors of the “Shū yán” establish consistent units—notwithstanding their formulaic appearance—nothing like this seems to apply to the “Yǔ cóng”. The philosophical or educational function of these texts remains far from evident. Since they collate different notions instead of synthesising them into coherent accounts, they may have served a predominantly mnemonic function. Authors versus Editors Not much is known about the authorship of early Chinese philosophical texts.

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