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Unformatted text preview: Lecture 4 – Historical Narrative Background
• Shujing � ,known as the Classic of History, the Book of Documents; also known as Shangshu , the Documents of Antiquity. • Said to have been assembled and edited by Confucius. • Three observations about the text:
– Each section is a separate work. – Each contains direct speech in the form of pronouncements or declarations. – Difficult and archaic style of language makes comprehension extremely difficult. • Speeches give the emperor instructions in how to rule, according to Confucius moral: • Giving the throne to those who are virtuous Sections of the text can be divided into two groups: Sections of the text can be divided into two groups: Speeches, etc. target specific persons, problems, Speeches, etc. target specific persons, problems, and times (mostly the early Zhou) Sections presented in the form of speech or dialogue Sections presented in the form of speech or dialogue but are in fact essays on principles of government or the sage kings of high antiquity. One of the three oldest tests in Chinese history Unique Characteristics First hand accounts: little narratives Speeches by only officials
– The first group may said to be original while the second are not true historical accounts but philosophical essays. Concept of a heavenly mandate best seen in the speech Concept of a heavenly mandate best seen in the speech by the duke of Zhou: “Announcement to the Duke of Shao” (shao gao � ) b We do not presume to know and say that the lords of Yin received Heaven's mandate for soandso many years; we do not know and say that it could not have been prolonged. It was that they did not reverently attend to their virtue and so they prematurely threw away their mandate. Now the [Chou] king has succeeded to and received their mandate. We should then also remember the mandates of these two states and, in succeeding to them, equal their merits…Being king, his position will be that of a leader in virtue; the small people will then imitate him in all the world…May those above and below labor and be anxiously careful; may they say: we have received Heaven's mandate; may it grandly equal the span of years of the lords of Hsia and not miss the span of years of the lords of Yin. • The heaven gives the right to rule the person who is most virtuous, not according to blood line • The king must act virtuously and the people will follow the king and the country will be in harmony and there is no need for laws • Confucius texts: Instructions to becoming a virtuous person Essentially a concept of kingship that explains dynastic Essentially a concept of kingship that explains dynastic rise and fall. It reverses Shang and early Zhou notions by making the It reverses Shang and early Zhou notions by making the virtue of the ruler come before, and be the cause of, spiritual sanction. Implies a habitual and inevitable pattern for a dynasty to Implies a habitual and inevitable pattern for a dynasty to lose its righteousness and fall into evil and decay. This concept would be used by every subsequent This concept would be used by every subsequent dynasty up to the Qing. This idea appears in the passage “Canon of Yao” (yao This idea appears in the passage “Canon of Yao” dian � ) and is implied in the “The Counsels of Gaoyao” b
(gaoyao mo �� ) It is said that the sage king Yao passed over his own It is said that the sage king Yao passed over his own son, selecting Shun, a commoner, to succeed to the throne. Shun, in turn, passed over his son, giving the throne to Shun, in turn, passed over his son, giving the throne to Yu, the founder of the Xia dynasty. With this precedent set into the text, subsequent rulers With this precedent set into the text, subsequent rulers had to justify giving the throne to a son instead of a more worthy individual from outside the family. The ruler must justify why his son is not worthy of ceding The ruler must justify why his son is not worthy of ceding the Throne The Confucius relations • King and subject • Father and son • Husband and wife • Brothers • Friends The ceding of throne conflicts with the Confucius teaching which states that the son must be obedient to the father From the Canon of Yao: From the Canon of Yao
The emperor said, “Oh! you chief of the four mountains, I have been on the throne for seventy years. You can carry out my appointments; I will resign my throne to you.” His Eminence said, “I have not the virtue; I should only disgrace the imperial seat.” The emperor said, “Point out some one among the illustrious, or set forth one from among the poor and mean.” All in the court said to the emperor, “There is an unmarried man among the lower people called Shun of Yu.” The emperor said, “Yes, I have heard of him. What is his character?” His Eminence said, “He is the son of a blind man. His father was obstinately unprincipled; his stepmother was insincere; his half brother Xiang was arrogant. He has been able, however, by his filial piety to live in harmony with them, and to lead them gradually to selfgovernment, so that they no longer proceed to great wickedness.” The emperor said, “I will try him! I will wive him, and then see his behavior with my two daughters.” On this he gave orders, and sent down his two daughters to the north of the Gui, to be wives in the family of Yu. The emperor said to them, “Be reverent!” Only giving the throne the one who’s most virtuous and worthy, not Takes its name from the surname of its author but Takes its name from the surname of its author but nothing is known of him. Was written in the late Zhou, with additions made Was written in the late Zhou, with additions made towards the end of the Western Han. Lists in chronological order the events that took place in Lists in chronological order the events that took place in the various feudal states. Begins in 722 BCE and continues until 486 BCE, serving Begins in 722 BCE and continues until 486 BCE, serving as a form of commentary to another historical work, the Spring & Autumn Annals. But the text is 13 years longer than Spring & Autumn Zhou king is only symbolic with all other competing Zhou king is only symbolic with all other competing strong states • Stories of battles, dead soldiers, corruptions • Similar to a documentary, a journal that fills in the details of Spring & Autumn • elaborating of simple ideas • One of the Confucius text • Similar to book of poems, used to educate people with realistic stories • A more realistic picture of what really happened. • If the ruler and officials don’t practice ritual, they will end up like these people whose don’t have meanings The world of the Documents is aremote realm of heroes The world of the Documents is a remote realm of heroes and sages, strange ideals and religious beliefs. The world of the Zuozhuan is alltoo real: full of violence, The world of the Zuozhuan is alltoo real: full of violence, greed and political strife. In the Zuo we read of rulers ambitions, their drinking and In the Zuo we read of rulers ambitions, their drinking and banquets, and plotting against their enemy. As a Confucian work, the Zuo can be read as a As a Confucian work, the Zuo can be read as a handbook on the consequences of straying from the proper Way. We see frequent use of terms such as: de (virtue), We see frequent use of terms such as: (virtue), ren (benevolence), yi (righteousness), and the (benevolence), (righteousness), and the most important of all, li (ritual propriety). (ritual propriety). On the importance of li, under the entry for the 25th year On the importance of of the duke of Zhao (zhao gong � ) we read: b
“Ritual is the constant principle of Heaven, the righteousness of Earth, and the proper action of mankind…Ritual determines the relations of high and low; it is the warp and woof of Heaven and Earth and that by which the people live.” Thus, using historical anecdote, the text shows men Thus, using historical anecdote, the text shows men confirming or violating rules of li. From this, the Zuozhuan applies the idea of the Mandate From this, the Zuozhuan applies the idea of the Mandate of Heaven to all aspects of political life. A good example can be seen in the exile and eventual A good example can be seen in the exile and eventual death of the duke of Zhao:
“The rulers of Lu have for generations pursued a course of error, while the Chi family have for generations practiced diligence. Thus the people of Lu have forgotten who their ruler is. Though he has died abroad, who is there to pity him? The altars of the state are not always tended by the same family; ruler and subject do not remain in their respective positions forever. From ancient times this has been so.” Style of the text: Style of the text: Narrative sets the stage for dialogue or discussion. Narrative sets the stage for dialogue or discussion. Dialogues consist of: Dialogues consist of: brief remarks or exchanges, phrased in a succinct brief remarks or exchanges, phrased in a succinct and forceful style Longer, more formal speeches, pronouncements, Longer, more formal speeches, pronouncements, and replies, written as set literary pieces. It is within these set pieces that we find the principles of proper ritual behavior, political theory, and other Confucian virtues. Style of the text: Style of the text: Narratives consist of: Narratives consist of: Straight narrative uninterrupted by dialogue. Straight narrative uninterrupted by dialogue. The majority of narrative pieces are informal, The majority of narrative pieces are informal, acting as a framework or connector between dialogues. similes, quotation to fill in the dialogues similes, quotation to fill in the dialogues There are three difficulties readings narrative There are three difficulties readings narrative pieces: Vocabulary. Vocabulary. Erratic use of names. (people have multiple names) Erratic use of names. (people have multiple names) Extreme brevity of the pieces. Extreme brevity of the pieces. The Records of the Historian, or Shiji, was written by The Records of the Historian, or Sima Qian (14590 BCE) and is the first major historical work by a person whose identity is known. First comprehensive history of China ever wrritten First comprehensive history of China ever wrritten The son of Sima Tan, the grand historian of Emperor Wu The son of Sima Tan, the grand historian of Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty, he completed his father’s dream. The Shiji is not just a comprehensive history of China’s The past but includes other cultures too. Due to its great scope, Sima abandoned the customary Due to its great scope, Sima abandoned the customary chronological order of presenting events, creating five major divisions comprising 130 chapters. Five main divisions of the text: Five main divisions of the text: 12 Basic Annals (benji � ), dealing with ruling dynasties b 12 Basic Annals or rulers and give a yearly account of each ruler’s acts. 10 Chronological Tables (biao ), listing in graph form the 10 Chronological dates and events of the feudal states. 8 Treatises (shu ), dealing with rites, music, astronomy, 8 Treatises economics, religion, etc. 30 Chapters entitled Hereditary Houses (shijia � ), b 30 Chapters entitled Hereditary Houses narrating the history of the feudal states of Zhou and the fiefs of Han. 70 Chapters entitled Biographies (liezhuan � ), giving b 70 Chapters entitled Biographies accounts of statesmen, philosophers, etc. first biographer account for persons: consequences of betraying Confucius • The terms of Confucius and Taoism corned in shiji Portrayal of the ancient period: Portrayal of the ancient period: Used the Book of Documents not for its historical Used the Book of Documents not for its historical accuracy of high antiquity but as the traditional account of the genesis of Chinese culture and the nation. Whenever he encountered obscure words, he exchanged them for more common ones. For Spring & Autumn period, he used the Zuozhuan For Spring & Autumn period, he used the and Guoyu � , “Discourses of the States.” b For Warring States period, he reproduces much of For Warring States period, he reproduces much of the Zhanguo Ce � �w , “Intrigues of the Warring b States.” Influence from older texts on the Shiji: Influence from older texts on the Inherited the concept of periodic moral renaissance Inherited the concept of periodic moral renaissance and decline, from which he gave each dynastic period a particular virtue and moral defect. First account of the good thing and bad thing of every First account of the good thing and bad thing of every dynasty Inherited idea of classifying persons into general Inherited idea of classifying persons into general categories on the basis of their actions and virtue. He was the first person to compile biographical He was the first person to compile biographical information from earlier sources into separate chapters. Importance of the text: Importance of the text: Is the most widely read and admired historical text Is the most widely read and admired historical text due to its succinct and insightful biographies and a vivid and clear style of writing. Every subsequent historical text took the same model Set the stage for subsequent dynastic histories. Set the stage for subsequent dynastic histories. Sense of personal triumph and legacy. Sense of personal triumph and legacy. honoring the memory of father and royalty to the emperor, overcoming personal setback and achieving greatness Came to define a break in cultural development, from Came to define a break in cultural development, from the ShangZhou kingdoms to the bureaucracy of Biographies: No. 2, Biographies of Guan (Zhong) and Yan (Ying)
Yan Pingzhong, also named Ying, was of barbarian descent of the old country of Lai. He served the Dukes Ling the Clever (r. 582555 bce), Zhuang the Dignified (r. 554549) and Jing the Luminous (r. 548491) of Qi. Because of his austerity and his efforts, he was greatly appreciated by the people of Qi. When he became prime minister of Qi, he did not eat meat, and his wifes did not wear silk. At the court, when the Lord asked him for his advice, he answered very carefully, but when he was not asked, he at least behaved very carefully. When the state was running on the right path, he behaved according to his position, but when the state did not run on the right way, he weighed and measured his position. Doing this, he could make the three generations of rulers he served the most famous under all the rulers of their time. • Description of a person’s quality by examples • Providing moral lessons • Evalution of historical wrriting; • Way of writing, how it is expressed ...
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This note was uploaded on 07/18/2010 for the course EAS eas256 taught by Professor Davidchai during the Summer '10 term at University of Toronto.
- Summer '10