An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Dai Sheng 戴聖

Jan 15, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Dai Sheng 戴聖, courtesy name Cijun 次君, also called Dai Junior (Xiao Dai 小戴), was a Confucian scholar of the mid-Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE).

He hailed from the region of Liang 梁 (modern Shangqiu 商丘, Henan ) and was an expert in the new-text Confucian ritual classics. Together with his uncle Dai De 戴德 (Dai Senior 大戴) he was a student of Hou Cang 后蒼.

During the reign of Emperor Xuan 漢宣帝 (r. 74-49 BCE) he was appointed erudite (boshi 博士) and founded the school of Dai Junior 小戴學 of the ritual classics. He was once governor (taishou 太守) and participated in the great discussion on the Confucian Classics that took place in the Shiqu Hall 石渠閣 in 51 BCE under the supervision of the Emperor.

Dai Sheng compiled a 49 chapters long collection of various treatises on Confucian rituals, the Xiao Dai Liji 小戴禮記 that has been transmitted as the Confucian Classis Liji 禮記 "Records of Rites". The Jin-period 晉 (265-420) commentator Chen Shao 陳邵 said that the Xiao Dai Liji was an abbreviated version of a compilation of his uncle, the Da Dai Liji 大戴禮記.

Later Han-period 後漢 (25-220 CE) scholars like Ma Rong 馬融 and Lu Zhi 盧植 added or changed some chapters and so revised the original version, like the Yueling 月令, Mingtangwei 明堂位 and Yueji 樂記. The version of Ma Rong was soon commented by the famous scholar Zheng Xuan 鄭玄. Modern scholars are not quite sure whether this version of how the Liji came into being, is reliable.

Pang Pu 龐樸, ed. (1997). Zhongguo ruxue 中國儒學 (Shanghai: Dongfang chuban zhongxin), Vol. 2, 50.