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Ruxue jingwu 儒學警悟

Feb 7, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Ruxue jingwu 儒學警悟 "Quick awareness of Confucian learning" is a series of collectanea (congshu 叢書) compiled by the Southern-Song-period 南宋 (1127-1279) scholars Yu Dingsun 俞鼎孫 and Yu Dingjing 俞鼎經. It includes six books with a total length of 41 juan.

The brothers Yu hailed from Jian'an 建安 (modern Jian'ou 建甌, Fujian). About their lives, not much is known except that Yu Dingsun was an official in the National University (taixue 太學) and Yu Dingjing erudite (boshi 博士) in the Superior College (shangshe 上舍) of this institution.

The six books included in the series have the common feature that they include unofficial histories and anecdotes of the Song period that are very helpful for the study of this period of time. Wang Yingchen's 汪應辰 (1118-1176) book Shilin yanyu bian 石林燕語辨, for instance, is a commentary on Ye Mengde's 葉夢得 (1077-1148) Shilin yanyu 石林燕語. It has only survived as part of the Ruxue jingwu. Cheng Dachang's 程大昌 (1123-1195) Yanfanlu 演繁露 imitates the structure of Dong Zhongshu's 董仲舒 (179-104 BCE) Chunqiu fanlu 春秋繁露 from the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE). The shape in which it is included in the Ruxue jingwu is different than in other publications, like Ma Yu's 馬裕 (fl. 1773) private copy and that in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書. The Nenzhenzi 嬾真子錄 is a different version of that which was later in circulation. This is also valid for the books Kaogubian 考古編 and the Yingxue congshuo 螢雪叢說. The commonly known Menshi xinhua 捫蝨新話 is 15-juan long, while the present version has a length of only 8 juan, which results from several abbreviations.

Today, the scholarly value of the Ruxue jingwu lays mainly in the preservation of the Shilin yanyu bian.

The series is accompanied by a postface (ba 跋) written by Yu Cheng 俞成 (jinshi degree 1745), in which it is said that the book was published in 1201, somewhat earlier than the Baichuan xuehai 百川學海 that is often called the oldest Chinese congshu series.

The oldest manuscript from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) was found in Shanxi and was commented by Miao Quansun 繆荃孫 (1844-1919) and Fu Zengxiang 傅增湘 (1872-1949). The oldest modern print was produced in 1922 by Tao Xiang 陶湘 (1871-1940) from Wujin 武進, Jiangsu.

Table 1. The series Ruxue jingwu 儒學警悟
(Song) 俞鼎孫 Yu Dingsun, 俞鼎經 Yu Dingjing (comp.)
1922 edition of Tao Xiang from Wujin 武進陶氏(陶湘)
書名, length in juan Title Author(s)
石林燕語辨 十卷 Shilin yanyu bian (Song) 汪應辰 Wang Yingchen
演繁露 (演繁錄) 六卷 Yanfanlu (Song) 程大昌 Cheng Dachang
嬾真子錄 五卷 Lanzhenzi lu (Song) 馬永卿 Ma Yongqing
考古編 十卷 Kaogubian (Song) 程大昌 Cheng Dachang
捫蝨新話 上集四卷,下集四卷 Menshi xinhua (Song) 陳善 Chen Shan
螢雪叢說 二卷 Yingxue congshuo (Song) 俞成 Yu Cheng
Sources:
Chen Gongwen 陈功文 (2021). "Ruxue jingwu bianzuan, banben liuchuan ji xueshu jiazhi 《儒学警悟》编纂、版本流传及学术价值考", Tushuguan yanjiu yu gongzuo 图书馆研究与工作, 2021 (5): 91-96.
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, 2066.
Liu Shangheng 刘尚恒 (1982). "Ruxue jingwu de chengshu yu kanke niandai 《儒学警悟》的成书与刊刻年代", Tushuguan zazhi 图书馆杂志, 1982 (3): 56.
Shanghai tushuguan 上海圖書館, ed. (1982). Zhongguo congshu zonglu 中國叢書綜錄 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe), Vol 1, 1.
Sun Xun 孙洵 (1991). "Ruxue jingwu yu Baichuan xuehai 《儒学警悟》与《百川学海》", Dongnan wenhua 东南文化, 1991 (2): 288.
Wang Jingui 王錦貴 (1990). "Ruxue jingwu 儒學警悟", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Xinwen chuban 新聞出版 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongugo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 249.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 941.