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Chinese Literature
Xinjiashu 辛甲書 "The Book of Xinjia"


The Xinjiashu 辛甲書 "Book of Xinjia" is a Daoist treatise of uncertain origin attributed to Governor Xin 辛尹, a minister of the last ruler of the Shang dynasty 商 (17th-11th cent. BCE), King Zhou 紂. When King Zhou did not follow his advices, Xin Jia changed sides and served King Wu 周武王 of the Zhou dynasty 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE). Xin Jia is mentioned in the history Zuozhuan 左傳, and the Tang period 唐 (618-907) commentator Kong Yingda 孔穎達 has investigated his story. The book Xinjiashu is mentioned in the imperial bibliography Yiwenzhi 藝文志 of the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書 as a Daoist treatise with a length of 29 chapters. It must have been lost before the Tang period. The Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰 collected all available fragements of the Xinjiashu quoted in the Zuozhuan and Hanfeizi 韓非子. These fragments are published in his collectaneum Yuhan shanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書. The surviving fragements show that in fact the book had virtually nothing to do with Daoism but was a of purely historiographical nature.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2278. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

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August 27, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail