An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Shizi 世子

Sep 7, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Shizi 世子 "Master Shi" was a Confucian treatise written by the Spring and Autumn period (770-5th cent. BCE) scholar Shi Shuo 世碩, who hailed from the state of Chen 陳 and was one of the seventy disciples of Confucius. The imperial bibliography Yiwenzhi 藝文志 in the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書 lists a book Shizi with a length of 21 chapters. This text is almost completely lost.

The Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰 (1794-1857) was able to collect some fragments quoted in the books Chunqiu fanlu 春秋繁露 and Lunheng 論衡. One chapter of the Shizi was called Yangshu 養書 "Book of nourishing". It discussed the nature of man and stressed that both goodness and evil character could be found in humans, a statement that is similar to the teachings of Qidiaozi 漆雕子, Mizi 宓子 and Gongsun Nizi 公孫尼子. Yet the Shizi is more precise on this matter and says that man could be educated and guided to the path of goodness by learning and studying.

The fragment collection is to be found in Ma Guohan's 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, 1606.