An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Zhousheng Liezi 周生烈子

Sep 7, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhousheng Liezi 周生烈子 "Master Zhousheng Lie", also called Zhoushengzi yaolun 周生子要論 "Important discussions of Master Zhousheng" or Zhoushengzi 周生子 "Master Zhousheng", was a Confucian treatise written during the Wei period 曹魏 (220-265) by Zhousheng Lie 周生烈, courtesy name Wenyi 文逸. He hailed from Dunhuang 敦煌 and was a commentator on the Confucian Classics at the court of Emperor Ming 魏明帝 (r. 226-239 CE). Another book of Zhousheng, Lunyu yishuo 論語義說, a commentary on the Confucian Analects is already lost.

The short book Zhoushengzi speaks of the ancient virtuous rulers Yao 堯 and Shun 舜 and of Confucius 孔子. The preface, which is lost, is quoted in Ma Zong's 馬總 (d. 823) book Yilin 意林, where it is said that the Zhousheng Liezi was compiled after the disturbances of Zhang Jiao's 張角 (d. 184 CE) rebellion.

The history book Shiliuguo chunqiu 十六國春秋 says that Juqi Maoqian 沮渠茂虔 (r. 432-439), ruler of the small Northern Liang empire 北涼 (398-439/460), once sent an envoy to the emperor of the Song dynasty 劉宋 (420-479) who presented books with a volume of 154 juan, among them the Zhoushengzi with a lengh of 13 juan. The imperial bibliography Jingjizhi 經籍志 in the official dynastic history Suishu 隋書 says that the Zhoushengzi yaolun was only 1-juan long and already lost during the early Tang period 唐 (618-907). Nonetheless, it is included in the bibliographical chapters of the Jiutangshu 舊唐書 and Xintangshu 新唐書, with a length of 5 juan.

The Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰 (1794-1857) collected fragments of the Zhoushengzi from various encyclopaedias. His collection 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, 1602.