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five King which can, with an approximation to correctness, be described as of his own "making."
"The four Books " is an abbreviation for " The Books of the four Philosophers." The first is the Lun Yu, or "Digested" Conversations," being occupied chiefly with the sayings of - Confucius. He is the philosopher to whom it belongs. , It appears in this Work under the title of " Confucian Analects." The second is the Ta Heo, or " Great Learning," now commonly attributed to Tsang Sin, a disciple of the sage. He is the philosopher of it. The third is the Chung Yung, or "Doctrine of the Mean," ascribed to K'ung Keih, the grandson of Confucius. He is the philosopher of it. The fourth contains the works of Mencius.
3. This arrangement of the Classical Books, which is, commonly supposed to have originated with the scholars of j the Sung dynasty, is defective. The Great Learning and the Doctrine of the Mean are both found in the Record of Rites, being the forty-second and thirty-first Books respectively of that compilation, according to the usual arrangement of it.
4. The oldest enumerations of the Classical Books specify only the five King. The Yo Ke, or " Record of Music," the remains of which now form one of the Books in the Le Ke,' was sometimes added to those, making with them the six} King. A division was also made into nine King, consisting] of the Yih, the She, the Shoo, the Chow Le, or " Ritual of Chow," the E Le, or " Ceremonial Usages," the Le Ke, and the three annotated editions of the Ch'un Ts'ew, by Tso-; k'ew Ming, Kung-yang Kaou, and Kuh-leang Ch'ih. In; the famous compilation of the classical Books, undertaken by order of T'ae-tsung, the second emperor of the T'ang dynasty (b.c. 627—619), and which appeared in the reign ot his successor, there are thirteen King; viz., the Yih, the She, the Shoo, the three editions of the Ch'un Ts'ew, the J Le Ke, the Chow Le, the E Le, the Confucian Analects, the Urh Ya, a sort of ancient dictionary, the Heaou King, or " Classic of Filial Piety," and the works of Mencius.
5. A distinction, however, was made, as early as the dynasty of the Western Han, in our first century, among the Works thus comprehended under the same common name;' and Mencius, the Lun Yu, the Ta Heo, the Chung Yung,' and the Heaou King were spoken of as the seaou King, or
"smaller Classics." It thus appears, contrary to the ordinary opinion on the subject, that the Ta Heo and Chung Yung had been published -as separate treatises long before the Sung dynasty, and that the Four Books, as distinguished from the greater King, had also previously found a place in the literature of China.1
THE AUTHORITY OF THE CHINESE CLASSICS.
1. This subject will be discussed in connection with each separate Work, and it is only designed here to exhibit generally the evidence on which the Chinese Classics claim to be received as genuine productions of the time to which they are referred.
2. In the memoirs of the Former Han dynasty (b.c 201— A.D. 24), we have one chapter which we may call the History
of Literature. It commences thus :—" After the death, of ,e Confucius, there was an end of his exquisite words; and when his seventy disciples had passed away, violence began to be done to their meaning. It came about that there were five different editions of the Chtm Ts'ew, four of the She, and several of the Yih. Amid the disorder and collision of the warring States (b.c. 480—221), truth and falsehood were still more in a state of warfare, and a sad confusion marked the words of the various scholars. Then came the calamity inflicted under the Ts'in dynasty (b.c. 220—205), when the literary monuments were destroyed by fire, in order to keep the people in ignorance. But, by and by, there arose the Han dynasty, which set itself to remedy the evil wrought by the Ts'in. Great efforts were made to collect slips and tablets,2 and the way was thrown wide open for the bringing in of Books. In the time of the emperor Heaou-woo (b.c.139— 86), portions of Books being wanting and tablets lost, so that ceremonies and music were suffering gre^ damage, he
1 For the statements in the two last paragraphs, see the works of Se-ho on " The Text of the Great Learning," Bk. I.
2 Slips and tablets ou bamboo, which supplied in those days the place of paper.
was moved to sorrow, and said, 'I am very sad for this.' He therefore formed the plan of Repositories, in which the Books might be stored, and appointed officers to transcribe Books on an extensive scale, embracing the works of the various scholars, that they might all be placed in the Repositories. The Emperor Ch'ing (b.c . 31—6), finding that a portion of the Books still continued dispersed or missing, commissioned Ch'in Nung, the superintendent of guests, to search for undiscovered Books throughout the empire, and by special edict ordered the chief of the Banqueting House, Lew Heang, to examine the classical Works, along with the commentaries on them, the writings of the scholars, and all poetical productions; the master-controller of infantry, Jin Hwang, to examine the Books on the art of war; the grand historiographer, Yin men, to examine the Books treating of the art of numbers (i. e. divination); and the imperial physician, Le Ch'oo-kO, to examine the Books on medicine. Whenever any Book was done with, Heang forthwith arranged it, indexed it, and made a digest of it, which was presented to the emperor. While the undertaking was in progress, Heang died, and the emperor Gae (b.c. 0—A.d.) appointed his son, Hin, a master of the imperial carriages, to complete his father's work. On this, Hin collected all the Books, and presented a report of them, under seven divisions."
The first of these divisions seems to have been a general catalogue, containing perhaps only the titles of the works included in the other six. The second embraced the classical Works. From the abstract of it, which is preserved in the chapter referred to, we find that there were 294 collections of the Yih-king, from 13 different individuals or editors j1 412 collections of the Shoo-king, from nine different individuals; 416 volumes of the She-king, from six different individuals;2 of the Book of Rites, 555 collections,from 13 different individuals; of the Books on Music, 165 collections, from six different editors; 948 collections of History, under
1 How much of the whole Work was contained in each "collection" or p'een, it is impossible for us to ascertain. P. Regis says :—"Then, quemadmodum Gallice dicimus 'des pieces d'eloquence, de poesie.'"
The collections of the She-king are mentioned under the name of keuen, "sections," "portions." Had p'een been used, it might have been understood of individual odes. This change of terms shows that by p'een in the other summaries, we are not to understand single blocks or chapters.
the heading of the Ch'un Ts'ew, from 23 different individuals; 229 collections of the Lun Yu, including the Analects and kindred fragments, from 12 different individuals; of the Heaou-king, embracing also the Urh Ya, and some other portions of the ancient literature, 59 collections, from 11 different individuals; and finally of the Lesser Learning, being works on the form of the characters, 45 collections, from 11 different individuals. The Works of Mencius were included in the second division, among the Writings of what were deemed orthodox scholars, of which there were 836 collections, from 53 different individuals.
3. The above important document is sufficient to show how the emperors of the Han dynasty, as soon as they had made good their possession of the empire, turned their attention to recover the ancient literature of the nation, the Classical Books engaging their first care, and how earnestly and effectively the scholars of the time responded to the wishes of their rulers. In addition to the facts specified in the preface to it, I may relate that the ordinance of the Ts'in dynasty against possessing the Classical Books (with the exception, as will appear in its proper place, of the Yih-king) was repealed by the second sovereign of the Han, the emperor Heaou Hwuy, in the 4th year of his reign, B.C. 190, and that a large portion of the Shoo-king was recovered in the time of the third emperor, B.C. 178—156, while in the year B.C. 135, a special Board was constituted, consisting of literati who were put in charge of the five King.
4. The collections reported on by Lew Hin suffered damage in the troubles which began A.d. 8, and continued till the rise pf the second or eastern Han dynasty in the year 25. The founder of it (a.d. 25—57) zealously promoted the undertaking of his predecessors, and additional repositories were required for the books which were collected. His successors, the emperors, Heaou-ming (58—75), Heaou-chang (75—88),andHeaou-hwo (89—105), took a part themselves in the studies and discussions of the literary tribunal, and the emperor Heaou-ling, between the years 172—178, had the text of the five King, as it had been fixed, cut in slabs of stone, in characters of three different forms.
5. Since the Han, the successive dynasties have considered the literary monuments of the country to be an object of their special care. Many of them have issued editions of the classics, embodying the commentaries of preceding generations. No dynasty has distinguished itself more in this line than the present Manchow possessors of the Empire. In fine, the evidence is complete that the Classical Books of China have come down from at least a century before our Christian era, substantially the same as we have them at present.
6. But it still remains to inquire in what condition we may suppose the Books were when the scholars of the Han dynasty commenced their labours upon them. They acknowledge that the tablets—we cannot here speak of manuscripts—were mutilated and in disorder. Was the injury which they had received of such an extent that all the care and study put forth on the small remains would be of little use? This question can be answered satisfactorily only by an examination of the evidence which is adduced for the text of each particular Classic; but it can be made apparent that there is nothing, in the nature of the case, to interfere with our believing that the materials were sufficient to enable the scholars to execute the work intrusted to them.
7. The burning of the ancient Books by order of the founder of the IVin dynasty is always referred to as the greatest disaster which they sustained, and with this is coupled the slaughter of many of the literati by the same monarch.
The account which we have of these transactions in the Historical Records is the following :l—
"In his 34th year" (the 34th year, that is, after he had ascended the throne of Ts'in. It was only the 8th after he had been acknowledged Sovereign of the empire, coinciding with B.C. 212) "the emperor, returning from a visit to the south, which had extended as far as Yue, gave a feast in the palace of Heen-yang, when the Great Scholars, amounting to seventy men, appeared and wished him long life.2 The superintendent of archery, Chow Ts'ing-ch'in, came for
1 I have thought it well to endeavour to translate the whole of the passages. Father de Mailla merely constructs from them a narrative of his own; see L'Histoire Oenerale de La Chine, tome II., pp. 399—402. The common histories current in China avoid the difficulties of the original by giving an abridgment of it.
2 These were not only "great scholars," but had an official rank. There was what we may call a college of them, consisting of seventy members.