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Zheng Zhangzhe shu 鄭長者書 "The Book of the Administrator of Zheng"


The Zheng Zhangzhe shu 鄭長者書 "Book of the administrator of Zheng" was a Daoist treatise written by an unknown person from the Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE). The imperial Yiwenzhi 藝文志 in the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書 provides the comment that the author was a teacher of the legalist master Han Fei 韓非 who had also written a commentary to the Daoist text Daodejing 道德經. In this bibliography the book is called Zheng Changzhe 鄭長者 "The administrator of Zheng". The Tang period 唐 (618-907) commentator Yan Shigu 顏師古 quotes from the ancient catalogue Bielu 別錄 where it is said that the author came from the state of Zheng 鄭, but his name was unknown. The book is not listed in Tang period bibliographies which shows that it was already lost at that time. The Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰 quoted from the chapter Waichushuo 外儲說 from the book Hanfeizi 韓非子 and enriched it with the commentary in the Yiwenzhi. These fragmentary quotations show that the book deliberated about the concept of non-activity (wuwei 無為) and the character of the universal Way (dao 道) expressed by voidness and serenity (xujing 虛靜). The result is to be found in his collectaneum Yuhan shanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2296. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

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June 12, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail