Before Confucius

Before Confucius : Studies in the Creation of the Chinese Classics

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Edward L. Shaughnessy examines the original composition of China's oldest books, the Classic of Changes, the Venerated Documents, and the Classic of Poetry. By describing the original contexts in which these books were written and what they meant to their original authors and readers, this work sheds light on both the degree to which Chinese culture already was literate by 1000 BC, and also on how the later classical tradition eventually diverged from these origins.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 20.32mm | 430.91g
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • English, Chinese
  • Total Illustrations: 0
  • 0791433781
  • 9780791433782
  • 826,017

Review quote

"What I like most is the wealth of detail and the meticulous attention to primary evidence, combined with an overall appreciation of the broader cultural and historical context of the problems that have defied solution for centuries. "The book is filled with original lines of inquiry and conclusions; the articles are of uncommon interest and intellectual challenge." -- John Knoblock, University of Miami "Shaughnessy has produced outstanding work and played a pioneering role in opening the field of Western Zhou studies. These essays represent the first broad exploration of pre-Classical China as a literary culture that created texts of generic diversity and of intellectual and aesthetic subtlety. His combination of precise scholarship and fresh imagination will stimulate students of history, literature, and religion alike." -- Robert Eno, Indiana University
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About Edward L. Shaughnessy

Edward L. Shaughnessy is Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He coauthored Ritual and Reverence: Chinese Art at the University of Chicago; coedited The Cambridge History of Ancient China; edited New Sources of Early Chinese History: An Introduction to Reading Inscriptions and Manuscripts; and authored Sources of Western Zhou History: Inscribed Bronze Vessels and The I Ching.
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