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Persons in Chinese History - Sima Biao 司馬彪

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Sima Biao 司馬彪 (died 306 CE ?), courtesy name Sima Shaotong 司馬紹統, was a historian and philosopher of the Western Jin period 西晉 (265-316). He came from Wenxian 溫縣 (modern Wenxian, Henan), and was the oldest son of Sima Mu 司馬睦, Prince of Gaoyang 高陽. He occupied the posts of vice director of the palace library (mishu cheng 秘書丞) and cavalier attendant-in-ordinary (sanji changshi 散騎侍郎). Sima Biao was very interested in the Daoist book Zhuangzi 莊子 and studied Zhuangzi'sdiscussions with the dialectician Hui Shi 惠施. He interpreted the statement "a white dog is black" (bai gou hei 白狗黑) in the way that designations are coming out of intuition, so that a white dog with black eyes can be seen as a black dog. The phrase "eggs have feathers" (luan you mao 卵有毛) can be explained from the view of the development process that will result in a being with feathers, and an embryo chick has the potential to grow feathers. In modern terms, this supposition might be called "preforming theory".
Sima Biao has written the commentary Zhuangzi zhu 莊子注, and the history Jiuzhou chunqiu 九州春秋. His history Xuhanshu 續漢書, with a length of 80 juan "scrolls", is an extension of the official dynastic history of the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE). During the Liang period 梁 (502-557) the historian Liu Zhao 劉昭 used the treatises (zhi 志) of the Xuhanshu as a supplement of Fan Ye's 範曄 Houhanshu 後漢書. The imperial and normal biographies (ji 紀, zhuan 傳) of the Xuhanshu are lost.

Source: Gao Riguang 高日光 (1996), "Sima Biao 司馬彪", in: Feng Kezheng 馮克正, Fu Qingsheng 傅慶升 (ed.), Zhuzi baijia da cidian 諸子百家大辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), p. 85.

February 28, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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