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Shiqishi shangque 十七史商榷

Sep 11, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Shiqishi shangque 十七史商榷 "Discussion of the seventeen official dynastic histories" is a historical critique compiled by the Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) thinker Wang Mingsheng 王鳴盛 (1722-1797). For this book of 100 juan length, Wang invested more of 20 years of research and studies. The two dynastic histories Jiutangshu 舊唐書 and Jiu wudaishi 舊五代史 are also discussed, but in a less intensive way because these two texts were at the time not yet part of the canon of "official histories" (zhengshi 正史).

The critique of Wang focuses on four issues, namely collation of individual words or characters, analysis of administrative matters, the veracity of historical events, and historiographical quality, for instance, with respect to composition, content, or the professionalism of the author(s).

Wang gives important hints at errors in the dynastic histories and adds missing information—mainly in geographical and administrative fields, and the question of dating. His opus is one of the great books of historical critique of the Qing period, the others being Qian Daxin's 錢大昕 (1728-1804) Nian'ershi kaoyi 廿二史考異, and Zhao Yi's 趙翼 (1727-1814) Nian'ershi zhaji 廿二史札記.

It was printed in 1787. The Commercial Press 商務印書館 published a modern edition in 1959, yet the earliest modern print was published by the Guangya Press 廣雅書局本 in 1920 (Guangya shuju congshu 廣雅書局叢書). It is also included in the series Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成本.

Table 1. Contents of the Shiqishi shangque 十七史商榷
1-6 史記 Shiji 1-6
7-28 漢書 Hanshu 1-22
29-38 後漢書 Houhanshu 1-10
39-42 三國志 Sanguozhi 1-4
43-52 晉書 Jinshu 1-10
53-64 南史合宋齊梁陳書 Nanshi, Songshu, Nanqishu, Liangshu, Chenshu 1-12
65-68 北史合魏齊周隋書 Beishi, Weishu, Beiqishu, Zhoushu, Suishu 1-4
69-92 新舊唐書 Xintangshu, Jiutangshu 1-24
93-98 新舊五代史 Xin wudaishi, Jiu wudaishi 1-6
99-100 綴言 Notes on the principles of compilation
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