Sanctioned Violence in Early China

Author: Mark Edward Lewis
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 079140076X
Release Date: 1990
Genre: History

This book provides new insight into the creation of the Chinese empire by examining the changing forms of permitted violence--warfare, hunting, sacrifice, punishments, and vengeance. It analyzes the interlinked evolution of these violent practices to reveal changes in the nature of political authority, in the basic units of social organization, and in the fundamental commitments of the ruling elite. The work offers a new interpretation of the changes that underlay the transformation of the Chinese polity from a league of city states dominated by aristocratic lineages to a unified, territorial state controlled by a supreme autocrat and his agents. In addition, it shows how a new pattern of violence was rationalized and how the Chinese of the period incorporated their ideas about violence into the myths and proto-scientific theories that provided historical and natural prototypes for the imperial state.

Writing and Authority in Early China

Author: Mark Edward Lewis
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 0791441148
Release Date: 1999-03-18
Genre: Literary Collections

This book traces the evolving uses of writing to command assent and obedience in early China, an evolution that culminated in the establishment of a textual canon as the foundation of imperial authority. Its central theme is the emergence of this body of writings as the textual double of the state, and of the text-based sage as the double of the ruler. The book examines the full range of writings employed in early China, such as divinatory records, written communications with ancestors, government documents, the collective writings of philosophical and textual traditions, speeches attributed to historical figures, chronicles, verse anthologies, commentaries, and encyclopedic compendia. Lewis shows how these writings served to administer populations, control officials, form new social groups, invent new models of authority, and create an artificial language whose master generated power and whose graphs became potent objects.

Dubious Facts

Author: Garret P. S. Olberding
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 9781438443911
Release Date: 2012-12-04
Genre: History

What were the intentions of early China’s historians? Modern readers must contend with the tension between the narrators’ moralizing commentary and their description of events. Although these historians had notions of evidence, it is not clear to what extent they valued what contemporary scholars would deem “hard” facts. Offering an innovative approach to premodern historical documents, Garret P. S. Olberding argues that the speeches of court advisors reveal subtle strategies of information management in the early monarchic context. Olberding focuses on those addresses concerning military campaigns where evidence would be important in guiding immediate social and political policy. His analysis reveals the sophisticated conventions that governed the imperial advisor’s logic and suasion in critical state discussions, which were specifically intended to counter anticipated doubts. Dubious Facts illuminates both the decision-making processes that informed early Chinese military campaigns and the historical records that represent them.

Construction of Space in Early China The

Author: Mark Edward Lewis
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 9780791482490
Release Date: 2012-02-01
Genre: History

Shows how the emerging Chinese empire purposely reconceived but was also constrained by basic spatial units such as the body, the household, the region, and the world.

The Essential Huainanzi

Author: John S. Major
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231159814
Release Date: 2012-03-06
Genre: Political Science

In 2010, the editors of this volume completed the first unabridged English-language translation of the Huainanzi, opening exciting new pathways in the study of philosophy, Asian studies, political science, and Asian literature. This abridgement contains essential selections from each of the Huainanzi's twenty-one chapters and adds a new introduction and chapter descriptions. The text represents a remarkable synthesis of Daoist classics, such as the Laozi and the Zhuangzi; books associated with the Confucian tradition, such as the Changes, the Odes, and the Documents; and a range of other foundational philosophical and literary works, from the Mozi to the Hanfeizi. The abridgement preserves the Huainanzi's special rhetorical features, such as its parallel prose, verse, and unique compositional techniques. The Essential Huainanzi continues to increase awareness of this brilliant work and change our understanding of early Chinese history.

The Taoist Experience

Author: Livia Kohn
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 0791415791
Release Date: 1993
Genre: Philosophy

Containing sixty translations from a large variety of texts, this is an accessible yet thorough introduction to the major concepts, doctrines, and practices of Taoism. It presents the philosophy, rituals, and health techniques of the ancients as well as the practices and ideas of Taoists today. Divided into four sections, it follows the Taoist Path: The Tao, Long Life, Eternal Vision, and Immortality. It shows how the world of the Tao is perceived from within the tradition, what fervent Taoists did, and how practitioners saw their path and goals. The Taoist Experience is unique in that it presents the whole of Taoist tradition in the very words of its active practitioners. It conveys not only a sense of the depth of the Taoist religious experience but also of the underlying unity of the various schools and strands.

The Culture of Sex in Ancient China

Author: Paul Rakita Goldin
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
ISBN: 0824824822
Release Date: 2002
Genre: Social Science

The subject of sex was central to early Chinese thought. Discussed openly and seriously as a fundamental topic of human speculation, it was an important source of imagery and terminology that informed the classical Chinese conception of social and political relationships. This sophisticated and long-standing tradition, however, has been all but neglected by modern historians. In The Culture of Sex in Ancient China, Paul Rakita Goldin addresses central issues in the history of Chinese attitudes toward sex and gender from 500 B.C. to A.D. 400. A survey of major pre-imperial sources, including some of the most revered and influential texts in the Chinese tradition, reveals the use of the image of copulation as a metaphor for various human relations, such as those between a worshiper and his or her deity or a ruler and his subjects. In his examination of early Confucian views of women, Goldin notes that, while contradictions and ambiguities existed in the articulation of these views, women were nevertheless regarded as full participants in the Confucian project of self-transformation. He goes on to show how assumptions concerning the relationship of sexual behavior to political activity (assumptions reinforced by the habitual use of various literary tropes discussed earlier in the book) led to increasing attempts to regulate sexual behavior throughout the Han dynasty. Following the fall of the Han, this ideology was rejected by the aristocracy, who continually resisted claims of sovereignty made by impotent emperors in a succession of short-lived dynasties. Erudite and immensely entertaining, this study of intellectual conceptions of sex and sexuality in China will be welcomed by students and scholars of early China and by those with an interest in the comparative development of ancient cultures.

Zuo Tradition Zuozhuan

Author:
Publisher: University of Washington Press
ISBN: 9780295806730
Release Date: 2017-05-01
Genre: Literary Collections

Zuo Tradition (Zuozhuan; sometimes called The Zuo Commentary) is China�s first great work of history. It consists of two interwoven texts - the Spring and Autumn Annals (Chunqiu, a terse annalistic record) and a vast web of narratives and speeches that add context and interpretation to the Annals. Completed by about 300 BCE, it is the longest and one of the most difficult texts surviving from pre-imperial times. It has been as important to the foundation and preservation of Chinese culture as the historical books of the Hebrew Bible have been to the Jewish and Christian traditions. It has shaped notions of history, justice, and the significance of human action in the Chinese tradition perhaps more so than any comparable work of Latin or Greek historiography has done to Western civilization. This translation, accompanied by the original text, an introduction, and annotations, will finally make Zuozhuan accessible to all.

Nature and Heaven in the Xunzi

Author: Edward J. Machle
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 0791415538
Release Date: 1993
Genre: Philosophy

This translation and commentary on Xunzi's Tian Lun argues against naturalistic interpretations of Tian. Tracing the course of interpretation of Xunzi down to the present, discussing some of the influences that affected how he was understood, and raising questions about some contemporary revisionary attempts, Machle suggests unusual lines of interpretation.

Flood Myths of Early China The

Author: Mark Edward Lewis
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 9780791482223
Release Date: 2012-02-01
Genre: History

Explores how the flood myths of early China provided a template for that society's major social and political institutions.

Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty

Author: Victor Cunrui Xiong
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 0791482685
Release Date: 2012-02-01
Genre: History

A reappraisal of Emperor Yang of the Sui dynasty, finding that his legacy provided the foundation for the celebrated civilization of the Tang dynasty.

Ancient China and Its Enemies

Author: Nicola Di Cosmo
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521543827
Release Date: 2004-04-22
Genre: History

Relations between Inner Asian nomads and Chinese are a continuous theme throughout Chinese history. By investigating the formation of nomadic cultures, by analyzing the evolution of patterns of interaction along China's frontiers, and by exploring how this interaction was recorded in historiography, this looks at the origins of the cultural and political tensions between these two civilizations through the first millennium BC. The main purpose of the book is to analyze ethnic, cultural, and political frontiers between nomads and Chinese in the historical contexts that led to their formation, and to look at cultural perceptions of 'others' as a function of the same historical process. Based on both archaeological and textual sources, this 2002 book also introduces a new methodological approach to Chinese frontier history, which combines extensive factual data with a careful scrutiny of the motives, methods, and general conception of history that informed the Chinese historian Ssu-ma Ch'ien.

Religious and Philosophical Aspects of the Laozi

Author: Mark Csikszentmihalyi
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 0791441121
Release Date: 1999-04-22
Genre: History

Leading scholars examine religious and philosophical dimensions of the Chinese classic known as the Daodejing or Laozi.

Taoist Meditation

Author: Isabelle Robinet
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 0791413594
Release Date: 1993
Genre: Philosophy

Isabelle Robinet's Taoist Meditation is the first and only scholarly study to discuss the ancient Mao-shan Taoist tradition of visionary meditation while, at the same time, helping to clarify the little understood relationship among the early Taoist classics, the Buddhist tradition, and the later Taoist religion. Most importantly, Taoist Meditation is a pioneering study that fully and accurately describes the unique visionary cosmology, bodily symbolism, astral journeys, internal alchemy, meditational techniques, and ritual practices of the Mao-shan or Shang-chi'ing (Great Purity) movement--one of the most important foundational traditions making up the overall Taoist religion. This English version of Robinet's work is more than a simple translation.Taoist Meditation presents a significantly expanded edition of the original French text which includes up-to-date bibliographies of Robinet's work and other Western scholarship on Taoism, additional illustrations, and a newly compiled list of textual citations.