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Zhuzi zuizhi 祝子罪知

The Four Categories of Literature
Zhuzi zuizhi 祝子罪知 is a historical critique written by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Zhu Yunming 祝允明 (1460-1526), courtesy name Xizhe 希哲, style Zhishan 枝山 or Zhizhisheng 枝指生 (because of his famous skills as a calligrapher). In his 7-juan long book Zhu selected old essays on history and rated them in a critical way by using a system of five qualities, namely "distinguished" (ju 舉, meaning "exactly to the point", shishi 是是), "assailable" (ci 刺, meaning "wholly unfounded", feifei 非非), "disputable" (shuo 說), "XXX" (yan 演,布反復之情也), and "adaption" (xi 系, using examples from the past to discuss modern issues). In the first three fascicles persons are discusses, in the next part poetry and writings, in fascicles 5 and 6 Buddhism and Daoism, and in the last part spirits, ghosts and strange and marvelous occurrences. Zhu's judgments are characterized by a demystification of ancient history. Tang the Perfect 成湯 and King Wu 周武王 of the Zhou dynasty 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE) were no saints, he said (fei shengren 非聖人), Yi Yin 伊尹 not a good minister, Mengzi 孟子 not a "worthy" (xianren 賢人), and famous writers as Han Yu 韓愈, Lu Zhi 陸贄, Wang Dan 王旦 and Ouyang Xiu 歐陽修 could be criticized in many ways. Such statements seem to origin in Zhu Yunming’s own reflections as he does not refer to any source. It seems that he assembled widespread words and brought them into the language of a scholar, yet not without a certain amount of exaggeration. In many respects he challenged traditional views of "great writers", saw the end of shi poetry 詩 in the Song period and Buddhism and Daoism as eternal beliefs. Many a scholar called Zhu therefore a "madman" (Wang Hong 王宏 in his Shanzhi 山志). The fascicles 8, 9 and 13 in one version are lost, but the catalogue Qianqingtang shumu 千頃堂書目 still records the original number. The full version with the preface of Wen Zhengming 文征明 in preserved in the Beijing Library 北京圖書館.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (ed. 1996), Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, p. 1892.

February 17, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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