An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Chaoshi xinshu 晁氏新書

Feb 19, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Chaoshi xinshu 晁氏新書 "New book of Master Chao" is a political treatise written by the early Former Han-period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE) scholar Chao Cuo 晁錯 (200-154 BCE). Chao Cuo was a disciple of the legalist scholar Zhang Hui 張恢, who taught the theories of Shen Buhai 申不害 (420-337 BCE) and Shang Yang 商鞅 (c. 390-338 BCE). During the reign of Emperor Wen 漢文帝 (r. 180-157 BCE), Chao Cuo occupied the position of Chamberlain for Ceremonials (taichang 太昌). Later on he was made Censor-in-Chief (yushi dafu 御史大夫) and supported the disempowerment of the regional princes (see Rebellion of the Seven Princes). He was, probably for his vehement support of the power of the central government, assassinated.

In the imperial bibliography Yiwen zhi 藝文志 of the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書, a book Chao Cuo is listed, with 31 chapters. The bibliography in the Suishu 隋書 is the first to mention the book Chaoshi xinshu, with a length of 3 juan, as well as a book called Yilin 意林, with a length of 3 juan. The book was lost soon, but the Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰 (1794-1857) collected all surviving fragments and reconstructed what is left of the Chaoshi xinshu. It is included in the series Yuhan shanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1642.