Monthly Archives: June 2022

[Review] 程浩《有为言之:先秦“书”类文献的源与流》(Cheng Hao: Speaking of their Actions. The Origin and Spread of pre-Qin Documentary-type Texts)

Cheng Hao 程浩, You wei yan zhi: xian Qin “shu” lei wenxian de yuan yu liu 有为言之:先秦“书”类文献的源与流 (Speaking of their Actions: The Origin and Spread of pre-Qin Documentary-type Texts), Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju 中华书局, 2021. ISBN: 978 7 101 15301 9, 381 pages, 76 RMB.

Reviewed by Rens Krijgsman (Research and Conservation Center for Unearthed Texts, Tsinghua University)

This stimulating book originated as a Ph.D. thesis written under the supervision of the late professor Li Xueqin 李学勤 (1933–2019). My colleague Cheng Hao’s work shows a breadth of scholarship and attention to detail fitting a student of this titan of early Chinese history. In the delineation of sources, the attention to theoretical and methodological nuance, and the taking of recent developments in the field into account, a development of thought is apparent that goes beyond simply following in the master’s footsteps and indeed delivers an up to date, cogent, and clearly argued narrative.

The introduction to the study clarifies the use of the term shu 書 (“Documentary”) as a particular genre of writing: “shu-type texts” 書類文獻. It discusses why the author does not simply rely on bibliographical categories informed by the Shujing 書經 (Book of Documents) or the Yi Zhoushu 逸周書 (Leftover Zhou Documents) and gives reasons for including certain unearthed manuscripts over others in the discussion. The understanding of shu-type texts in this book combines the literary form of the materials and the historical context in which these texts were produced.

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