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Zuozhuan jishi benmo 左傳紀事本末

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Zuozhuan jishi benmo 左傳紀事本末 "Historical events of Master Zuo's Commentary [to the Spring and Autumn Annals] in their entirey" is a history of the Spring and Autumn period 春秋 (770-5th cent. BCE) compiled in the historiographical style of "events in their entirety" (jishi benmo 紀事本末). The book was written by the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Gao Shiqi 高士奇 (1645-1704), courtesy name Gao Zhanren 高澹人. Gao Shiqi hailed from Hangzhou 杭州, Zhejiang, and was scribe in the Hanlin Academy 翰林院, where his interest in history arose. He was very interested in the Confucian Classic Chunqiu 春秋 "Spring and Autumn Annals" and their parallel version and interpretation by Zuo Qiuming 左丘明, the Zuozhuan 左傳. He rearranged the chronological text of the Zuozhuan to thematic chapters. The 53 juan "scrolls" long book was finished in 1699. Similar attempts to rearrange the text of the chronicle had been made earlier, like in Ma Su's 馬骕 Zuozhuan shiwei 左傳事緯, but there were never real narrative histories written that used the text of the Zuozhuan as a source. An earlier attempt to write such a jishi benmo history was Tang Shunzhi's 唐順之 Zuoshi shimo 左氏始末, yet this book is of inferior quality. Gao Shiqi splitted up the history of the various feudal states Lu 魯, Qi 齊, Jin 晉, Song 宋, Wei 衛, Zheng 鄭, Chu 楚, Wu 吳 and Qin 秦. This would make it easier to observe how the feudal lords of the Spring and Autumn period competed for power among each other and with the royal house of Zhou 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE). Except the histories of the feudal states, one chapter is dedicated to natural disasters and strange natural phenomena (zaiyi 災異). For the compilation of this book, Gao Shiqi did not only use the Zuozhuan, but a vast array of historical or even philosophical books from the Zhou and Han periods 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE). These sources are indicated at the end of the particular chapters. In many places, the author has compared different sources and tried to eliminate errors or to point out contradictions. Each chapter is accompanied by a short critical resumé.
The Zuozhuan jishi benmo is included in the collectanea Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and Jishi benmo huike 紀事本末彙刻. In 1979, the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 published a modern version.

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. 1, p. 911.

August 23, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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