An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Jingshi baijia zachao 經史百家雜鈔

Aug 15, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Jingshi baijia zachao 經史百家雜鈔 is a collection of outstanding writings on the Classics (jingshi 經) and from historiography (shi 史). It was compiled by Zeng Guofan 曾國藩 (1811-1872) and had the aim to supplement Yao Nai’s 姚鼐 (1731-1815) collection Gu wenci leizuan 古文辭類纂.

While the focous of Yao’s collection was on the aspects literary quality (cizhang 詞章), critical scholarship (kaoju 考據), and Neo-Confucian teachings (yili 義理), Zeng’s collection would add the aspect of statecraft (jingji 經濟). His incentive was to learn from outstanding texts of literature how to bring order and welfare into a world of turmoil as the mid- and late 19th century. For this reason, classical literary texts of the Tang 唐 (618-907) and Song 宋 (960-1279) periods were not adequate enough, but the reader had to study writings of younger ages and those from all three literary categories of the Classics (i.e. commentaries on them), historiography, and the so-called “Masters and philosophers” (zi 子). The selection of Zeng thus surpasses the literary aspect of Yao’s older collection and presents texts directly related to contemporary affairs.

Moreover, Zeng Guofan’s idea of literature is closely connected with the Tongcheng School (Tongchengpai 桐城派) that favoured a simplistic style embedded in the beauty of language and sound. In this way, Zeng was able to combine important contents with beautiful language.

The book has a length of 26 juan and includes more than 700 texts. It appeared in many editions, the earliest of which was published in 1876 by the Chuanzhong Shuju 傳忠書局. This edition is also included in Zeng Guofang’s collected writings, Zeng Wenzhenggong quanji 曾文正公全集. The Hongwen Shuju 鴻文書局 published a modern letter-print in 1888. In the same year, the Shangwu Yinshuguan 商務印書館 published the book. The most important editions from the Republican period were published by the Shanghua Zhonghua Tushuguan 上海中華圖書館, the Guoxue Shengli She 國學整理社, and the Guangyi Shuju 廣益書局. The most important modern edition was published in 1987 by the Yuelu Shushe 岳麓書社.

Table 1. Contents of the Jingshi baijia zachao 經史百家雜鈔
1-2 論著 Discussions
3-7 詞賦 Poems and rhapsodies
8-9 序跋 Prefaces and afterwords
10 詔令 Edicts and ordinances
11-13 奏議 Memorials
14-15 書牘 Letters
16 哀祭 Laments and sacrificial texts
17-21 傳志 Biographies
22-23 敘記 Descriptions
24-25 典志 Regulations
26 雜記 Miscellaneous records
Dai Liang 代亮 (2010). "Jingshi baijia zachao yu Gu wenci leizuan zhi yitong 《經史百家雜鈔》與《古文辭類纂》之異同", Nanyang Shifan Daxue xuebao (Shehui kexue ban) 南陽師範大學學報(社會科學版), 2010 (2): 56-59+63.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 2847.
Wu Weiyi 吳未意 (2011). "Lun Jingshi baijia zachao de wenti gongxian 論《經史百家雜鈔》的文體學貢獻", Mingzuo xinshang 名作欣賞, 2011 (8): 161-163.
Yang Xinping 楊新平 (2020). "Zeng Guofan Jingshi baijia zachao de wenti fenlei guan 曾國藩《經史百家雜鈔》的文體分類觀", Anhui Daxue xuebao (Zhexue shehui kexue ban) 安徽大學學報(哲學社會科學版), 2020 (6): 25-35.
Pan Zhihe 潘志和 (2008). "Cong Gu wenci leizuan dao Jingshi baijia zachao: Lun Zeng Guofan yu Gongchengpai de chengchuan guanxi 從《古文辭類纂》到《經史百家雜鈔》——論曾國藩與桐城派的承傳關係", Guangdong Jishu Shifan Xueyuan xuebao 廣東技術師範學院學報, 2008 (10): 20-22+106.