|Four Books and Five Classics|
|Traditional Chinese||四書 五經|
|Simplified Chinese||四书 五经|
|Hanyu Pinyin||Sìshū Wǔjīng|
The Four Books and Five Classics (Chinese :四書五經; pinyin :SìshūWǔjīng) are the authoritative books of Confucianism,written in China before 300 BCE. The Four Books and the Five Classics are the most important classics of Chinese Confucianism.
The Four Books (四書;Sìshū) are Chinese classic texts illustrating the core value and belief systems in Confucianism. They were selected by Zhu Xi in the Song dynasty to serve as general introduction to Confucian thought,and they were,in the Ming and Qing dynasties,made the core of the official curriculum for the civil service examinations. They are:
The Five Classics (五經;Wǔjīng) are five pre-Qin Chinese books that form part of the traditional Confucian canon. Several of the texts were already prominent by the Warring States period. Mencius,the leading Confucian scholar of the time,regarded the Spring and Autumn Annals as being equally important as the semi-legendary chronicles of earlier periods. During the Western Han dynasty,which adopted Confucianism as its official ideology,these texts became part of the state-sponsored curriculum. It was during this period that the texts first began to be considered together as a set collection,and to be called collectively the "Five Classics".
The Five Classics are:
The Classic of Music is sometimes considered the sixth classic but was lost.
Up to the Western Han,authors would typically list the Classics in the order Poems-Documents-Rituals-Changes-Spring and Autumn. However,from the Eastern Han the default order instead became Changes-Documents-Poems-Rituals-Spring and Autumn.
Authors and editors of later eras have also appropriated the terms "Book" and "Classic" and applied them ironically to compendia focused on patently low-brow subject matter. Examples include the Classic of Whoring (Piaojing 嫖經) and Zhang Yingyu's A New Book for Foiling Swindles (Dupian Xinshu 杜騙新書,ca. 1617),which is known colloquially as The Book of Swindles or The Classic of Swindles.
Traditionally,it was thought that Confucius himself had compiled or edited the texts of the Five Classics. The scholar Yao Xinzhong allows that there are good reasons to believe that Confucian classics took shape in the hands of Confucius,but that "nothing can be taken for granted in the matter of the early versions of the classics." From the time of the Western Han dynasty,Yao continues,most Confucian scholars believed that Confucius re-collected and edited the prior works,thereby "fixing" the versions of the ancient writings which became the Classics. In the twentieth century,many Chinese scholars still held to this tradition. The New Confucian scholar,Xiong Shili (1885–1968),for instance,held that the Six Classics were the final versions "fixed up" by Confucius in his old age. Other scholars had and have different views. The Old Text School,for instance,relied on versions found in the Han dynasty which supposedly survived the Qin dynasty burning of the books but many of them held that these works had not been edited by Confucius but survived directly from the Zhou dynasty.
For quite different reasons,mainly having to do with modern textual scholarship,a greater number of twentieth century scholars both in China and in other countries hold that Confucius had nothing to do with editing the classics,much less writing them. Yao Xinzhong reports that still other scholars hold the "pragmatic" view that the history of the Classics is a long one and that Confucius and his followers,although they did not intend to create a system of classics,"contributed to their formation."In any case,it is undisputed that for most of the last 2,000 years,Confucius was believed to have either written or edited these classics.
The most important events in the textual career of these classics were the adoption of Confucianism as state orthodoxy in the Han dynasty,which led to their preservation,and the "renaissance" of Confucianism in the Song dynasty,which led to their being made the basis of Confucian orthodoxy in the imperial examination system in the following dynasties. The Neo-Confucian sage Zhu Xi (1130–1200) fixed the texts of the Four Books and wrote commentaries whose new interpretations became accepted as being those of Confucius himself.
Confucianism,also known as Ruism or Ru classicism,is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition,a philosophy,a religion,a humanistic or rationalistic religion,a way of governing,or simply a way of life,Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius.
Chinese classic texts or canonical texts or simply dianji (典籍) refers to the Chinese texts which originated before the imperial unification by the Qin dynasty in 221 BC,particularly the "Four Books and Five Classics" of the Neo-Confucian tradition,themselves a customary abridgment of the "Thirteen Classics". All of these pre-Qin texts were written in classical Chinese. All three canons are collectively known as the classics.
Mencius;born Mèng Kē;or Mèngzǐ was a Chinese Confucian philosopher who has often been described as the "second Sage",that is,after only Confucius himself. He is part of Confucius' fourth generation of disciples. Mencius inherited Confucius' ideology and developed it further. Living during the Warring States period,he is said to have spent much of his life travelling around the states offering counsel to different rulers. Conversations with these rulers form the basis of the Mencius,which would later be canonised as a Confucian classic.
The Great Learning or Daxue was one of the "Four Books" in Confucianism attributed to one of Confucius' disciples,Zengzi. The Great Learning had come from a chapter in the Book of Rites which formed one of the Five Classics. It consists of a short main text of the teachings of Confucius transcribed by Zengzi and then ten commentary chapters supposedly written by Zengzi. The ideals of the book were attributed to Confucius,but the text was written by Zengzi after his death.
The Analects,also known as the Analects of Confucius,the Sayings of Confucius,or the Lun Yu,is an ancient Chinese book composed of a large collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his contemporaries,traditionally believed to have been compiled and written by Confucius's followers. It is believed to have been written during the Warring States period,and it achieved its final form during the mid-Han dynasty. By the early Han dynasty the Analects was considered merely a "commentary" on the Five Classics,but the status of the Analects grew to be one of the central texts of Confucianism by the end of that dynasty.
The Book of Documents or Classic of History,also known as the Shangshu,is one of the Five Classics of ancient Chinese literature. It is a collection of rhetorical prose attributed to figures of ancient China,and served as the foundation of Chinese political philosophy for over 2,000 years.
The Book of Rites,also known as the Liji,is a collection of texts describing the social forms,administration,and ceremonial rites of the Zhou dynasty as they were understood in the Warring States and the early Han periods. The Book of Rites,along with the Rites of Zhou (Zhōulǐ) and the Book of Etiquette and Rites (Yílǐ),which are together known as the "Three Li (Sānlǐ)," constitute the ritual (lǐ) section of the Five Classics which lay at the core of the traditional Confucian canon. As a core text of the Confucian canon,it is also known as the Classic of Rites or Lijing,which some scholars believe was the original title before it was changed by Dai Sheng.
Zeng Shen,better known as Zengzi,courtesy name Ziyu,was a Chinese philosopher and disciple of Confucius. He later taught Zisi,the grandson of Confucius,who was in turn the teacher of Mencius,thus beginning a line of transmitters of orthodox Confucian traditions. He is revered as one of the Four Sages of Confucianism.
The burning of books and burying of scholars,also known as burning the books and executing the ru scholars,refers to the purported burning of texts in 213 BCE and live burial of 460 Confucian scholars in 212 BCE by the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang of the Qin dynasty. This was alleged to have destroyed philosophical treatises of the Hundred Schools of Thought,with the goal of strengthening the official Qin governing philosophy of Legalism.
In Chinese philology,the Old Texts refer to some versions of the Five Classics discovered during the Han Dynasty,written in archaic characters and supposedly produced before the burning of the books. The term became used in contrast with Modern Texts or New Texts (今文經),which indicated a group of texts written in the orthography currently in use during the Han dynasty.
The Classic of Filial Piety,also known by its Chinese name as the Xiaojing,is a Confucian classic treatise giving advice on filial piety:that is,how to behave towards a senior such as a father,an elder brother,or a ruler.
The Kaicheng Stone Classics (開成石經) or Tang Stone Classics are a group of twelve early Chinese classic works carved on the orders of Emperor Wenzong of the Tang dynasty in 833–837 as a reference document for scholars. The works recorded are:
The Book of Etiquette and Ceremonial is a Chinese classic text about Zhou dynasty social behavior and ceremonial ritual as it was practiced and understood during the Spring and Autumn period. The Book of Etiquette and Ceremonial,along with the Rites of Zhou and the Book of Rites,formed the "Three Rites" which guided traditional Confucian understandings of propriety and behavior.
The Thirteen Classics is a term for the group of thirteen classics of Confucian tradition that became the basis for the Imperial Examinations during the Song dynasty and have shaped much of East Asian culture and thought. It includes all of the Four Books and Five Classics but organizes them differently and includes the Classic of Filial Piety and Erya.
The Gongyang Zhuan,also known as the Gongyang Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals or the Commentary of Gongyang,is a commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals,and is thus one of the Chinese classics. Along with the Zuo Zhuan and the Guliang Zhuan,the work is one of the Three Commentaries on the Spring and Autumn Annals. In particular,Gongyang Zhuan is a central work to New Text Confucianism (今文經學),which advocates Confucius as an institutional reformer instead of a respected scholar,and Chunqiu as an embodiment of Confucius' holistic vision on political,social,and moral issues instead of a merely chronicle. Gongyang Zhuan significantly influenced the political institution in Han Dynasty. It fell out of favor among elites and was eventually replaced by the Zuo Zhuan. Gongyang Zhuan scholarship was reinvigorated in late Ming Dynasty and became a major source of inspiration for Chinese reformers from eighteen to early twentieth century.
Dai De,also known as Da Dai,,birth and death unknown,was a Confucian scholar of the Former Han Dynasty. He was active during the reign of Emperor Yuan of Han.
New Text Confucianism is a school of thought in Confucianism that was based on Confucian classics recompiled in the early Han dynasty by Confucians who survived the burning of books and burying of scholars during the Qin dynasty. The survivors wrote the classics in the contemporary characters of their time,and these texts were later dubbed as "New Text". New Text school attained prominence in the Western Han dynasty and became the official interpretation for Confucianism,which was adopted as the official ideology by Emperor Wu of Han.
The Xiping Stone Classics are a collection of Han dynasty stone carved books on various Confucian classics. Named for the Xiping reign era of Emperor Ling of Han,the stone classics were carved over an eight-year period from AD 175 to 183 into stone stelae set up at the Imperial Academy outside Luoyang. The project was overseen by Cai Yong and a group of affiliated scholars who "petitioned the emperor to have the Confucian classics carved in stone in order to prevent their being altered to support particular points of view."
Kong Yingda,courtesy names Chongyuan (冲遠) and Zhongda (仲達),was a Chinese philosopher during the Sui and Tang dynasty. An amorous Confucianist,who is considered one of the most influential Confucian scholars in Chinese history. His most important work is the Wujing Zhengyi 五經正義,which became the standard curriculum for the Imperial Examinations,and the basis for all future official commentaries of the Five Classics. He was also "skilled at mathematics and the calendar."
Bu Shang,commonly known by his courtesy name Zixia or as Buzi,was an ancient Chinese philosopher and a prominent disciple of Confucius who was considered one of the most accomplished in cultural learning. He was one of the five disciples who took chief responsibility for the transmission of Confucius' teachings. He played a significant role in the transmission of such classics as the Book of Poetry and the I Ching. He established his own school,and taught Marquess Wen of Wei,ruler of Wei,the most powerful state of the early Warring States period.