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Lexical changes in Zhanguo texts.

THREE QUARTERS OF A CENTURY AGO Bernhard Karlgren undertook a bold attempt to analyze grammatical differences among major pre-imperial texts in order to verify their dating and authenticity. His studies, among which the article "On the Authenticity and Nature of the Tso Chuan" was the most influential, had a profound impact on scholarly discourse in China and in the West. Numerous scholars have followed Karlgren's lead, modified or criticized his methodology, and tried to propose alternative ways of dating pre-imperial writings. (1)

Attempts to develop new approaches toward the dating of Chunqiu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (722-453 B.C.) and Zhanguo [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (453-221 B.C.) texts were aimed at resolving one of the most controversial issues in the history of Chinese thought. Establishing a chronological sequence of pre-imperial texts might allow us to discern lines of intellectual influence among contemporary thinkers and resolve many enigmas of their intellectual legacy, which shaped China's traditional culture. Yet despite the great scholarly importance of this issue, attempts to establish a general chronology for pre-imperial texts were less popular among Western scholars in the last quarter of the twentieth century. W. A. C. H. Dobson's efforts in the 196fls were the last to propose a comprehensive chronological framework for pre-imperial writings, (2) until the more recent and ongoing work of E. Bruce Brooks.

Several factors may have contributed to a reluctance to continue systematic exploration of the dating of pre-imperial texts. Aside from certain flaws in Karlgren's methodology, which raised doubts in his results, a more important factor that discouraged later researchers from continuing his efforts was the deep reappraisal of the nature of Chunqiu and Zhanguo writings. Modern studies, of which Mark E. Lewis's magnum opus Writing and Authority in Early China (Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 1999) may be most representative, question the previous monochromatic picture of major historical and philosophical texts as being products by a single author, compiled within a short period of time. To the contrary, it is widely accepted today that these texts resulted from a long period of accretion, which included not just adding, but also editing out or modifying large portions of a text. Thus, the mere presumption of the fixed dating of a single text seems methodologically untenable. Instead we should prefer to discuss the dating of each passage, and such discussion in all but a few instances cannot but remain very speculative. (3) So, if the dating of a single text proves to be largely undeterminable, then attempts to establish a general chronological framework may appear to be hopeless.

Despite the above reservations, which I generally share, I believe that there is potential benefit in reconsidering the dating of pre-imperial texts. Statements like "it is impossible to date pre-Han texts with any degree of accuracy" lead the research of the pre-imperial intellectual legacy to a dead end. (4) While almost every received Western Zhou (1046-772), Chunqiu, and Zhanguo text indeed contains later additions and interpolations, this does not mean necessarily that the text becomes entirely non-datable. Unmistakable linguistic differences among pre-imperial texts, observed by Karlgren, Dobson, and others, strongly suggest that at least certain Ur-texts had been produced at a fixable time and space, and while these Ur-texts were later edited and modified, their role as the milestones in the development of pre-imperial discourse cannot be easily dismissed. In what follows I shall try to marshal additional evidence for the identifiable temporal difference between Chunqiu and Zhanguo (Ur-)texts, in the hope that this evidence might stimulate renewed interest in establishing a general chronological framework for pre-imperial writings.

Unlike Karlgren and Dobson, I shall focus not on grammatical aspects of supposed chronological change in Zhanguo texts, but rather on lexical changes. (5) My preference for a lexical rather than grammatical focus derives primarily from the higher reliability of this method. Traditional Chinese forgers were aware of grammatical peculiarities of ancient texts, and skillfully employed their knowledge in producing faked texts attributable to earlier times. Karlgren was the first to notice that the forged chapters of the so-called "old text" Shu jing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] are grammatically nearly indistinguishable from the authentic chapters of the "modern text." (6) The fourth-century A.D. Shu jing forgers were able to falsify the ancient grammar; but they were much less aware of lexical changes, which resulted in their use of certain anachronistic terms. For instance, the term ji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (trigger of a crossbow), which as we shall discuss below did not exist before the fourth century B.C., is used in the "Tai Jia" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] chapter that spuriously claims Shang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (ca. 1600-1046) provenance. Another Zhanguo term, discussed below, wanwu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (ten thousand things, all the things), appears in the putative early Zhou chapter, the "Tai shi" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. (7) These mistakes of the forgers suggest that analyzing the text's vocabulary may serve as a more reliable method for determining its dating than analysis of grammatical peculiarities. (8)

While grammatical differences may often be explained stylistically, as Karlgren's critics have convincingly shown, certain changes in the vocabulary of texts have a demonstrable temporal parameter. In some instances, as in the case of the crossbow-related terms discussed below, we may fix with a high degree of certainty the earliest date of the term's possible introduction into discourse. In other instances, as in the case of the term li [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (inner structure, principle), semantic changes over time are also easily observable. In these cases we can plausibly assume that changes in vocabulary derive from different dates, rather than from stylistic or dialectic reasons.

Aside from the above advantages, investigating vocabulary poses several problems for determining the text's dating. While massive occurrences of certain terms in a given text may indeed indicate that the text was composed after these terms had been introduced into discourse, the opposite part of the equation requires reliance on a problematic argumentum ex silentio. Can we be sure that absence of several terms from a certain text really suggests the text's early provenance? The answer may be positive only when we speak of relatively widespread terms, the absence of which cannot be explained stylistically or dialectically. But even then certain problems remain unresolvable: a relatively short text (of a thousand characters or less) may just incidentally avoid using anachronistic terms, partly invalidating thereby the argumentum ex silentio. Thus, lexical analysis, while helpful in discussing the dating of lengthy texts is much less beneficial when short texts are in question, and it is rarely useful in determining later interpolations or additions to the early Ur-text. I do not claim therefore that the method I propose will resolve all doubts regarding the dating of every Zhanguo text. I believe, however, that when properly applied, lexical analysis may contribute significantly toward determining the dates of major texts, thereby bolstering scholarly efforts to establish a reliable chronology of pre-imperial writings.

Investigating a text's vocabulary as the means of establishing its dating is not a novel method. Centuries ago some Chinese scholars suggested that anachronistic usage of certain terms could serve as an indicator of a text's date. For instance, the Song scholar Zheng Qiao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1104-1162) argued that certain administrative terms employed in the Zuo zhuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] indicate the late Zhanguo or even Qin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (221-207) provenance of this text, much later than presumed by traditional chronology. While Zheng Qiao's examples of putative Zhanguo anachronisms in the Zuo zhuan are not necessarily accurate, and later scholars criticized his findings, his methodology remained influential. (9) For instance, the Yuan scholar Zhao Fang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1319-1369) used a similar method to defend the early dating of the Zuo zhuan:
 The History of the Later Han (Hou Han shu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE
 (i.e., Fan Ye [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 398-445) and thus
 it became as terse as [writings] of the Jin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE
 (420-479) times; the history of Yao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN
 Dynasties was compiled by Sima Qian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN
 ASCII] (ca. 145-86 B.C.), and thus it became as coarse as
 [writings] of the Qin and Han [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
 (206 B.C.-A.D.220) times. Though Mr. Zuo is considered a Zhanguo
 individual, his style has absolutely no Zhanguo flavor. For
 instance, terms depicting warfare in Zhanguo books completely
 differ from those in the Zuo zhuan. The Zuo has no expressions
 like "storming a fortress" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII],
 "seizing a city" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "crushing
 [an enemy]" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "inflicting a sudden
 raid" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. The term "General" [TEXT
 NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is seen only once in the later Zuo;
 perhaps it was the first time that this term was heard. (10)

Zhao Fang might have been one of the first to use the argumentum ex silentio for the dating of ancient texts, assuming that if a certain term is not seen in the text, then the text might have been compiled prior to the introduction of this term into general discourse. However, as mentioned above this assumption is problematic: absence of a certain term from the given text may sometimes be explained otherwise, dialectically, stylistically, or just by the relative shortness of the text. Nonetheless, when properly modified, Zhao's observation may serve as a useful departure point.

In the twentieth century several scholars in China and Japan analyzed lexical differences among pre-imperial texts in order to establish their dates. Particularly Yoshimoto Michimasa [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in several studies, in addition to employing Karlgren's methodology, also tried to determine the ways in which certain terms in pre-imperial texts had been modified and replaced by synonyms in the later texts. (11) Yoshimoto's approach has, however, certain weak points. First, his examples are confined to the few instances in which a certain sentence occurs in two or more texts, such as the Zuo zhuan and the Guoyu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; in all these cases Yoshimoto suggests that text B cites text A. This may not necessarily be the case, and at least in some cases it is possible that two texts may be citing a common source. Second, most of Yoshimoto's examples involve relatively rare terms, the number of occurrences of which is too small to establish meaningful statistical patterns of their distribution in pre-imperial texts. Finally, Yoshimoto refrained from developing a comprehensive framework of linguistic changes throughout the Zhanguo period. (12)

In what follows I shall make use of the approaches of Zhao Fang and Yoshimoto, while trying to improve on their methodology. By analyzing the distribution of several common philosophical and military terms throughout eight pre-imperial texts, I hope to show that these terms, which became ubiquitous by the late Zhanguo period, were introduced into discourse at a relatively late date, either the fifth or the fourth century B.C., and hence that the absence of these terms from certain texts indicates a relatively early date for those texts. My findings, I hope, may provide a first step toward reestablishing a temporal framework for Zhanguo writings.

Seven of the eight texts I have chosen are traditionally dated to the period from the fifth to the third century B.C. My working hypothesis is that these texts should reflect changes in the vocabulary used during this period. I am well aware of the possible (and justifiable) objections to the use of traditional chronology and, moreover, to treatment of the received texts as if they existed in their present form from the moment of their compilation. It is not my intention, of course, to restore the credibility of traditional dating; I resort to it only as a matter of convenience, as a departure point for discussion, and to avoid circularity in my arguments. I have furthermore chosen texts for which traditional dating has been approved at least by some modern independent studies. Finally, I shall generally avoid distinguishing later additions from the original "Ur-text," because should I make such distinctions, I might be accused of manipulating the results.

The eight texts used in this comparison can be divided into four groups. The earliest group is represented by two of the most controversial texts, the Zuo zhuan (hereafter Zuo) and the Lunyu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. The dating of the Zuo has been one of the most hotly debated issues in Chinese scholarship for at least thirteen centuries. Whether or not this text was compiled in the fifth century B.C. is of minor importance for my discussion. The Zuo, as I have argued elsewhere, is largely based on the scribal records from various Chunqiu states, and thus its vocabulary, except for the narrator's remarks, should reflect that of the Chunqiu period. (13) The putative fifth-century B.C. provenance of the Lunyu has been and continues to be questioned by scholars both inside and outside China. Again, putting aside the issue of when the received text gained its final form, I adopt the view that insofar as the Lunyu reflects sayings by Confucius (trad. 551-479 B.C.) and the first two generations of his disciples, the vocabulary of this text should belong to the fifth century B.C. or slightly later, but is still akin to that of the bulk of the Zuo. (14)

The second group is represented by a single text, the Mozi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], or, more precisely, by the core chapters of that work. Wu Yujiang has convincingly argued that these chapters may have originated within Mozi's lifetime (ca. 460-390 B.C.) or shortly thereafter. (15) I concur with Wu's research, leaving aside for the time being the question of the possible separate origin of each of the triple sections into which the core chapters are divided. (16)

The third group, is represented by the text datable to the late fourth century B.C., namely the Mengzi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], a book widely believed to have been compiled by Mencius's (ca. 379-304) disciples, and the texts recently unearthed in Guodian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], including the Guodian version of the Laozi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. The Guodian tomb is usually dated to the last quarter of the fourth century B.C., although proposed dates have ranged from 350 to 278 B.C.; the texts deposited in the tomb should have been compiled therefore in the second half of the fourth century B.C. or slightly earlier. Of course, it is not necessary that all the texts deposited in the same tomb must have been produced at the same period of time; and the Guodian texts may reflect temporal discrepancies of more than one generation. (17) These texts are useful, however, for our discussion, because the tomb's date serves as a irrefutable terminus ante quem for their compilation. Unless some of these texts had been compiled a century or more before the date of the burial (an assertion that is not supported by their content), they can be considered products of the fourth century B.C., and the temporal parameters of their language should not differ considerably from those of the Mengzi.

Finally, three texts from the second half of the third century B.C. are the Xunzi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Han Feizi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and Lushi chunqiu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. These texts are the least controversial (although of course they may contain certain Han interpolations), and they serve as a control group for the present study. It is my assertion that the terms under discussion here should be common in these texts, otherwise these terms might not belong to the Zhanguo milieu.

The present comparison considers seven cases, for which the temporal parameters of change are most easily observable. This choice was dictated by several factors. First, I looked for terms that either were not used, or at least remained marginal, before the Zhanguo period. Second, I chose terms that became common no later than the third century B.C., so that their absence from certain texts would reasonably suggest these texts' early provenance. Third, I focused on terms with demonstrable temporal parameters regarding their introduction into philosophical discourse. These factors severely limited the selection of suitable terms, and I have left aside many terms for which merely one of the above preconditions does not hold. (18)

The cases I shall discuss below are: crossbow-related terms (nu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], shu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and ji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]); the compounds renyi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], wanwu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], wansheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and buyi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; the term li [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (inner structure, pattern, principle), and the pair yin-yang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in its meaning as basic cosmic forces or binary opposites. In all these cases temporal parameters of change can be observed with a high degree of certainty. All these terms are absent from Western Zhou and Chunqiu texts, while by the late Zhanguo period they became relatively widespread. Their omnipresence in late Zhanguo writings suggests that their absence from relatively lengthy texts cannot be attributed merely to stylistic or dialectical reasons.


We begin with a term that albeit not very common, may serve as an excellent terminus ante quem non for Zhanguo texts. Mentions of the crossbow and crossbow-related technology indicate unmistakably a mid- to late-Zhanguo provenance for a text. Although the crossbow might have been invented in the late Chunqiu period, and crossbow-related mechanisms were unearthed from an early Zhanguo tomb in the state of Lu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], the spread of the crossbow in the early Zhanguo period seems to have been relatively slow. Only in the second half of the fourth century B.C. did the crossbow become a commonly used weapon for Zhanguo armies, bringing about deep changes in military thinking and military practice. (19) This spread of the crossbow is reflected in Zhanguo vocabulary. Not only are crossbow and crossbow-related terms mentioned in late Zhanguo texts, but it is noteworthy that some of the terms are used metaphorically. Of these the most important is the "trigger," designated in Zhanguo texts either as ji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] or shu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. This term quickly acquired metaphorical meanings such as "pivot," "key," "crucial link"; and these meanings predominate among the occurrences of ji and shu in late Zhanguo writings. (20)

Expectedly, neither nu nor shu nor ji is mentioned in the Shi jing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] or the "modern text" chapters of the Shu jing. (21) These terms are also absent from the Zuo, the Lunyu, the core chapters of the Mozi, and the Guodian texts. Mengzi contains a single reference to the trigger, speaking of "a craft of [seizing the] trigger of change" (i.e., adapting to change). (22) This usage suggests that the trigger had become sufficiently widespread by the age of Mencius to acquire a metaphorical meaning. (23)

In late Zhanguo texts, the terms nu, ji, and shu appear more frequently, both in their literal and their metaphorical meanings. Xunzi mentions the crossbow once, while the trigger appears altogether six times in different compounds: four times as shu yao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (pivotal principle), once as shuji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and once as ji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Han Feizi mentions the crossbow four times and the trigger (ji) eight times, both in literal and metaphorical meanings. In the Lushi chunqiu, the crossbow is mentioned twice and the trigger six times: four times as ji, twice as shu. By the late Zhanguo period, crossbow-related terms had become common even in non-military texts. Thus, the absence of these terms from the Zuo, Lunyu, and the core chapters of the Mozi seems to indicate a textual provenance prior to mid-Zhanguo times.


Recently, David S. Nivison has claimed that the compound renyi preceded "the age of [Zhanguo] philosophers." (24) The extant evidence does not support this observation. While both terms, ren and yi, were quite common in ethical and philosophical discourse since the late Chunqiu period, the compound renyi is of relatively late origin. In the Shi jing and the "new text" chapters of the Shu jing the terms ren and yi are never mentioned in conjunction with each other. In the Zuo the terms are mentioned together several times when multiple virtues are enumerated by the speakers, and twice ren and yi appear in close conjunction as the major virtues to be used as standards of moral behavior. Interestingly, one of these latter cases appears in the latest portion of the Zuo, in a speech allegedly made in 479 B.C.; another is a saying by the Zuo narrator, the so-called "superior man" (junzi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). (25) These occurrences suggest that by the late Chunqiu period ren and yi were already semantically connected. The compound renyi seem not to have appeared yet, as it is not attested either in the Zuo or in the Lunyu.

The compound renyi might have been introduced by Mozi, who elevated the position of the term yi at the expense of Confucius's emphasis on ritual (li [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). (26) In the core chapters of the Mozi, renyi becomes a standard term designating the foundations of personal morality. It appears no less than nineteen times in these chapters and hereafter continues to dominate mid- and late-Zhanguo texts: twenty-seven occurrences in the Mengzi, four in the Guodian texts, (27) thirty-two in the Xunzi, forty-seven in the Han Feizi and nine in the Lushi chunqiu. Since the mid-Zhanguo period, then, the term renyi is pervasive in philosophical texts, and its absence from the Zuo and the Lunyu further strengthens the probability of the early provenance of those texts.


The earliest meaning of the term wu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], as attested already in the Shang oracle inscriptions, is a "multi-colored cow" or, more generally, "sacrificial item." Thus, in the Shi jing and the "new text" Shu jing chapters, wu appears predominantly in ritual context, and in all but one case it lacks its later abstract meaning of "a thing." (28) In the Zuo, wu appears eighty-four times, and it has no less than thirteen meanings ranging from "a sacrificial item" to "color," "a person," and "a thing." (29) Among eighty-four occurrences of wu, in thirty-one instances it may be identified as "a thing"; in an additional four cases wu refers to natural phenomena. Significantly, the majority of these instances (27 of 35, i.e., 77 percent) are located in passages datable to the second half of the sixth century B.C., (30) which may suggest that it was in the late Chunqiu period that the term wu acquired its largely "secular" meaning as "a thing" unrelated to sacrificial activities. Yet the compound wanwu does not appear in the Zuo, and it is likely that it was introduced at a later stage, when the meaning of wu as "a thing" had become predominant.

The Zuo contains a compound baiwu ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "a hundred things"), an approximate synonym of wanwu; here it refers to the multitude of concrete "things" (wu) from the distant lands that were depicted on the Xia [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] cauldrons to distinguish between beneficial and harmful creatures. (31) The same term appears once in the Lunyu as well, and there it refers to "all the things"; it is possible that the compound baiwu preceded wanwu as the designation of the material world. (32) The first occurrence of the term wanwu is in two passages of the Mozi, in which the term wu has already acquired its predominant abstract meaning as "a thing." The compound wanwu appears only once in the Mengzi, but it is recorded no less than nine times in the Guodian texts. The Guodian texts also contain one reference to baiwu and two other to the synonymous qun wu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (multitude of things). It should be noticed that among the nine occurrences of wanwu in the Guodian texts, eight appear in the Laozi and the related text "Taiyi sheng shui" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. (33) This may suggest that the term wanwu was introduced into broad intellectual discourse by those thinkers who sought inspiration in the world of nature for maintaining human order; and it is possible that the texts associated with the (eventual) Laozi were instrumental in this process.

In the late Zhanguo texts surveyed in this study wanwu figures prominently; it appears no less than forty-nine times in the Xunzi, twenty-three in the Han Feizi, and thirty-four in the Lushi chunqiu. We may conclude that by the late Zhanguo period the term was commonplace, and its absence from other texts strongly indicates their pre-third-century B.C. provenance.


Chariots were the major power on the battlefields of the Central Plain until they were obliterated by the Zhanguo military revolution that saw large infantry armies replace aristocratic chariot units. In the Chunqiu period, the size of an army was routinely calculated according to the amount of chariots it employed. During the Chunqiu period, however, we rarely witness the designation of a state's strength according to the number of its chariots, as was common in Zhanguo texts. Only once the Zuo zhuan calls the state of Lu a "thousand-chariot state," and even this occurrence takes place at the very end of the Zuo narrative, suggesting perhaps that this was a new usage. (34) But whereas a thousand chariots represented a notable military strength in the late Chunqiu period, possessing ten thousand chariots was beyond the capability of even the largest states. Even the superpower of Jin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] could display no more than five thousand chariots at the end of the Chunqiu period, and the number of chariots possessed by other states was evidently smaller. (35) That the term "ten thousand chariots" is absent from the Zuo zhuan comes, therefore, as no surprise.

The Lunyu similarly does not mention "ten thousand chariots." This term appears first in the "Fei gong zhong" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] chapter of the Mozi as a designation of powerful states. (36) In the Guodian texts, which rarely discuss political affairs, the term wansheng does not appear; but it is frequently employed in later texts: it appears eight times in the Mengzi, seven in the Xunzi, and twenty-six and twenty-four times respectively in the Han Feizi and Lushi chunqiu. Paradoxically, it seems that the designation of a large state as a state of "ten thousand chariots" came into existence at the period when chariots were largely abandoned, having been superseded by infantry and later by cavalry. (37) Is it possible that the aesthetic appeal of the magnificently displayed chariots dictated an anachronistic resort to chariots instead of "shields" for calculating the power of contending armies in the late Zhanguo? And that the relative paucity of this term in Xunzi reflects Xunzi's understanding that the age of chariots was gone? We cannot answer these questions definitively; but it is clear that absence of the term wansheng suggests a pre-300 B.C. provenance.


The term li is one of the latest in pre-imperial philosophical vocabulary. It does not appear in the "new text" chapters of the Shu jing; in the Shi jing it refers to arranging or ordering the fields; (38) li has this same meaning in the Zuo, where it also refers occasionally to a "messenger" (xingli [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). (39) The term li does not appear in the Lunyu, and it is mentioned only once in the core chapters of the Mozi, where it refers to "ordering chaos" (li luan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). This verbal usage may well indicate a shift of li's semantic meaning from concrete to abstract ordering and arranging.

After the late fourth century, li gradually gains importance in scholarly discourse. In Mengzi it appears seven times in three different passages; four times in the compound tiao li [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "to order," once with the meaning "to be approved," and twice (in a single passage) with the meaning of "pattern" or "principle," (40) which would later become dominant. In the Guodian texts li appears six times; thrice in verbal form ("to order"), and thrice as a noun ("pattern/principle"). (41) We may assume that by the late fourth century B.C., U was already introduced into philosophical discourse, although its role remained relatively insignificant when compared to such pivotal terms as dao or yi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

The real change in the position of li in Zhanguo intellectual discourse occurred in the third century B.C. In late Zhanguo texts we observe a dramatic increase in the use of the term. It appears no less than 106 times in the Xunzi; seventy-four times in Han Feizi, and seventy-five times in Lushi chunqiu. (42) Here I shall not discuss the reasons for this increase, which may be related to the activities of the so-called Jixia [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] academy, (43) but it is clear that the frequency of use of the term li may serve as a useful dividing line between mid- and late-Zhanguo texts.


Our next example of lexical change in pre-imperial texts deals with the much disputed terms yin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and yang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Several eminent scholars, particularly Xu Fuguan and A. C. Graham, have traced the evolution of the concepts of yin and yang from the denotation of shade and sunshine to basic cosmic forces and the ultimate binary opposites of the cosmos. According to Graham's scheme, which basically corresponds with that of Xu, prior to 300 B.C., yin and yang referred primarily to shade and sunshine, and were considered part of the six heavenly qi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; then "philosophical schools came to accept the yin and yang as the qi which are assimilating and differentiating influences behind chains of pairs." By the third century, as cosmology entered into the broad philosophical discourse, yin and yang were assimilated into an intricate system of correspondences that became the foundation of the classic Chinese form of correlative thinking, and came to dominate late pre-imperial and early imperial thought. (44) I generally accept this scheme, with slight modifications suggested below. The most important question for the present discussion is the extent of assimilation into general philosophical discourse of the notion of yin and yang as basic cosmic forces and binary oppositions. If these terms indeed became ubiquitous in the third century B.C., then we may suggest that texts that do not employ yin-yang terminology can be dated prior to that time.

The year 300 B.C. is a useful date ante quem for the evolution of the yin-yang concept to the level of philosophical abstraction. The tomb of King Xiang of Wei [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (r. 318-296 B.C.), looted in 280 A.D., yielded among other texts, a copy of the Zhouyi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which, according to Du Yu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (222-284 A.D.), contained an unknown commentary written according to yin-yang theory. (45) Thus, when that text was deposited in the tomb, yin and yang had already become important philosophical terms as an explanatory framework for worldly phenomena. Another important piece of evidence suggests that the transformation of yin-yang from two of the six qi into the basic cosmic forces might have occurred in the second half of the fourth century. This may be discerned from the Guodian text named by the editors "Taiyi sheng shui," which presents a surprisingly neat cosmogonic theory. (46) According to this text, yin and yang appeared at the early stage of creation of the cosmos; they were produced by the "sacred numinous" (shen ming [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), and then generated the four seasons. This is the earliest undeniable evidence that by the late fourth century yin and yang were differentiated from other qi and had evolved into basic cosmic forces.

It is possible that ideas about the nature of yin and yang developed originally among a group of specialists in scientific and occult matters, such as diviners, scribes, physicians and so on. At least in the Zuo zhuan most mentions of yin-yang are confined to such persons. (47) Aside from those instances in which yang and yin are correlated with sunshine/shadow or heat/cold, the Zuo contains two important invocations of these terms. In 541, in a speech which became a locus classicus for early yin-yang etymology, Physician He [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] identifies these terms as two of the six qi, together with wind, rain, darkness, and light. Nothing in his speech suggests the priority of yin and yang above other qi, and the early origins of the speech are indicated also by its unusual identification of women with yang. (48) Another invocation of yin and yang occurs in 644, when Lord Xiang of Song [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (r. 650-637) requests the Zhou scribe, Shu Xing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], to explain the possible influence of extraordinary meterological phenomena on the fortunes of contemporary rulers. Shu Xing satisfies the lord's request, but later remarks:
 "The ruler has asked the wrong question. These [phenomena]
 are affairs of yin and yang, not something from which
 good and bad fortune derive. Good and bad fortune derive
 from [the conduct of] human beings." (49)

This answer apparently suggests that the notion of yin-yang as prime movers of natural phenomena might have existed already by the year 644, or at least by the age of the compilation of the Zuo, between the fifth and the fourth centuries B.C., which is earlier than usually assumed. Xu Fuguan has tried to show that in Shu Xing's speech yin and yang refer purely to meteorological issues, but his explanation remains disputable. (50) If the speech was not interpolated at a later stage of the Zuo transmission, and there is no reason to assume it was, then it suggests that the notion of yin and yang as primary cosmic forces may indeed be of fairly early origin. If so, it remained confined to a small group of professionals and was not disseminated to the broader group of educated elite, since it is completely absent from the rest of the Zuo text. (51)

Other fifth and fourth-century texts surveyed in this study, namely Lunyu, Mozi (52) and Mengzi, do not contain the notion of yin-yang as either basic cosmic forces or binary opposites. In the Guodian texts, aside from the "Taiyi sheng shui" discussed above, the notion of yin and yang does not appear; this further strengthens our assumption that the concept of yin-yang was employed primarily by those who dealt with cosmology, divination, and other proto-sciences, but it was not related to political thought or general philosophy; and this situation evidently remained intact until the late fourth century B.C.

However, this situation changed in the third century B.C. with the advance of correlative thinking, (53) Yin-yang concepts began entering into philosophical discourse, and they appear even in texts that do not necessarily endorse correlative ideas. Thus, Xunzi mentions yin-yang as basic cosmic forces six times, while Han Feizi does so four times. We should notice that these numbers are relatively low, particularly when we take into account the impressive length of both texts. This may indicate that the notion of yin-yang was absorbed in general philosophical discourse at a relatively slow pace.

Not surprisingly, the highest rate of occurrence of yin and yang is supplied by the late Zhanguo encyclopedia of correlative thinking, Lushi chunqiu; no less than twenty-six times this text mentions yin and yang as basic cosmic forces, or as the active/passive forces of the universe. I do not include here the numerous occurrences of yin-yang in their earlier meaning as the qi of sunshine/shadow.

The pattern of distribution of the term yin-yang as basic cosmic forces or binary opposites in our texts is not as unequivocal as those of the previously surveyed terms. Its possible occurrence in the Zuo, just as the relative paucity of its appearance in Xunzi and Han Feizi, suggests that we must be cautious in treating the notion of yin-yang as an indicator of a text's date. Nonetheless, the observable increase in the appearance of yin-yang in third-century B.C. texts implies that the absence of this term from other texts increases the probability of their pre-300 B.C. provenance.


The term buyi is usually glossed as an equivalent of the term pifu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (ordinary fellow), that is, a commoner. The first-century B.C. Yantie lun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] explains the origins of this designation of the commoners: "In ancient times, commoners wore silk only at the age of seventy and above; others simply wore hemp, hence they were called 'plain-clothed.'" (54) This explanation is not entirely correct: in early texts the term buyi does not necessarily refer to commoners, but rather to low-ranking members of the shi [+ or -] stratum. (55) Actually, "plain" clothes are mentioned in the early texts not as descriptive of commoners, but rather as a manifestation of the ruler's frugality. Zuo zhuan tells us that Lord Wen of Wei [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (r. 659-635), under whose leadership the state of Wei recovered from a disastrous defeat inflicted by the Di [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] tribesmen in 660, displayed unusual frugality by wearing garments made of "a large piece of cloth" (da bu zhi yi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]); according to the Mozi similar garments characterized the court of Jin during the time of the archfrugal Lord Wen [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (r. 636-628). (56) Yet prior to the third century B.C. we have no evidence of plain-cloth garments being standard attire either of commoners or any other social group. The term buyi does not appear in any of the pre-300 B.C. texts surveyed in our study.

By the third century the situation had evidently changed. While it is difficult to verify whether the members of the shi stratum actually began wearing plain clothes, the term buyi gained increasing popularity as descriptive of poor, yet self-confident shi. Plain clothes symbolized the low status and economic strains of a shi, but also his independence of the ruler. The term buyi thus came to identify highly-minded independent shi, whose aspirations no ruler could satisfy. (57) This term is first attested in Xunzi, where it appears still relatively rarely (only twice); (58) but it appears no less than nine times in Hart Feizi and fifteen times in Lushi chunqiu. In the latter text the term buyi becomes the most prestigious self-designation of the proud shi. (59) We may cautiously assume therefore, that the term buyi became widespread only in the second half of the third century B.C., later than the other terms we have discussed. Its absence from a text suggests, then, a pre-300 B.C. (or perhaps pre-250 B.C.) provenance.


The above discussion shows, that pace Karlgren's doubts, we may discern clear changes in philosophical vocabulary from the fifth to the third century B.C. Furthermore, as these changes are evidently affected by temporal parameters, they may be used as convenient tools for determining the dating of major re-imperial texts. Table 1 shows a clear progression from the beginning to the end of the period under discussion. None of the surveyed terms (with the possible exception of the term yin-yang in the Zuo) appears in the earliest texts, the Zuo and the Lunyu; this may support the assertion that these two texts indeed reflect earlier linguistic layers than do other Zhanguo writings. The core chapters of the Mozi lack the notion of yin-yang and of crossbow-related terminology, while the term li appears in these chapters only once as a verb; the compound wanwu appears only twice, and wansheng once. Another compound, renyi, occurs with high frequency in Mozi and later texts, which suggests that its occurrence may serve as a convenient dividing line between fifth and the fourth-century B.C. texts. In Mengzi and the Guodian texts we observe a further increase in the use of li and wanwu; Mengzi also frequently employs the term wansheng, and once mentions the trigger of the crossbow, indicating that by the age of its compilation the crossbow was well known in China. The term buyi is not mentioned in any pre-300 B.C. text. Finally, the three third-century B.C. texts frequently employ all seven surveyed terms, which strongly suggests that by the late Zhanguo period these terms (with the possible exception of yin-yang) had become common.

Having ascertained a pattern of temporal change in the vocabulary of Zhanguo texts, let us see whether our findings can help us in dating other pre-imperial texts. For this exercise I have chosen two controversial texts: Sunzi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Shang jun shu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Scholars continue to debate the dating of both of these texts and their relation to their putative authors.

The Sunzi is traditionally attributed to a legendary Wu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] military commander, Sun Wu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Long ago scholars began questioning this attribution; for instance, in a comprehensive study Qi Sihe [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] suggested that Sunzi was compiled in the fourth century B.C. Later, however, the 1972 discovery of military texts, including portions of the Sunzi and of Sun Bin bingfa [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] at Yinqueshan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], led to renewed debates, with Zheng Liangshu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and others suggesting a fifth-century B.C. dating for Sunzi, and Li Ling [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] reinforcing Qi Sihe's views. (60) Can we resolve the controversy through lexical analysis of the Sunzi?

Sunzi twice mentions the crossbow, and twice its trigger (ji). As we have seen, these terms characterize late fourth-century B.C. texts on. In the case of Sunzi, however, a reservation should be made: one might expect that a military text would be among the first to employ crossbow-related terminology. Just as the occurrence of the yin-yang pair in the "Taiyi sheng shui" chapter does not imply a late provenance for this text, so mentions of the crossbow do not suffice to fix the Sunzi's date While the text certainly was compiled after the introduction of the crossbow, this could have been earlier than the weapon's triumph on Zhanguo battlefields and earlier than the time when crossbow-related terms were adopted into tradition discourse. Note also that the crossbow plays an insignificant role in the Sunzi, in marked contrast with the allegedly later Sun Bin bingfa text. Hence, while the appearance of the crossbow in the text of Sunzi evidently refutes the work's attribution to Sun Wu from the Chunqiu period, it is insufficient to determine the Sunzi's date with greater precision.

What about our other terms? The compound renyi appears once, while wanwu and wansheng are absent from the text. Li appears twice, once as "a pattern of movement and rest," and the second time as "the structure of the terrain." (61) The term buyi is absent from the text. As for the term yin-yang, the situation is more complicated. While throughout the text yin and yang appear in an unmistakable connection of "sunshine/shadow," in one case the identification is more problematic. The "Shi ji" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] chapter states: "Heaven is yin and yang, heat and cold, and the regulation of the seasons." (62) Does this saying refer exclusively to light and shadow, as Roger Ames has translated it, and as other chapters suggest? I tend to think so, although the possibility that the pair yin-yang here refers to the more significant philosophical notion of dualism and change cannot be entirely dismissed. (63) In any case, there are no other hints of Sunzi's awareness of yin-yang theory, and this lends further plausibility to Ames's translation.

To summarize our findings: the language of the Sunzi is akin to that of Mozi and the Guodian texts. Aside from the crossbow-related terminology, which might have appeared in Sunzi and other military writings much earlier than it entered general philosophical discourse, we have no hint of post-300 B.C. language. On the other hand, crossbow terms, as well as the compound renyi and the term li indicate a post-400 B.C. provenance. Sunzi, therefore, should perhaps be considered a mid-fourth century B.C. text, in accord with Qi Sihe's and Li Ling's analysis.

The nature of the Shang jun shu is more problematic. Although tradition ascribes this text to the great Qin reformer, Shang Yang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (d. 338), it is widely agreed that the Shang jun shu contains significant portions added by Shang Yang's anonymous followers. The precise amount of these late additions remains highly controversial. For instance, two leading Western authorities on Chinese intellectual history, A. C. Graham and David Nivison, have dismissed any connection of Shang jun shu with its putative author, arguing that the book should be considered a third-century B.C. compilation, roughly contemporary with Han Feizi. Nivison in particular has all but refrained from discussing Shang jun shu in the context of the evolution of pre-imperial thought. (64)

Can we check the Shangjun shu dating on the basis of its vocabulary? If the bulk of the text is related to Shang Yang and his immediate disciples or followers, we might expect similarities in language to that of Mengzi; if, alternatively, Nivison and Graham are right, the book's vocabulary should be similar to that of Xunzi and the thematically close Han Feizi. Let us check the distribution of our seven terms in Shangjun shu. The book once mentions a crossbow and once uses the term "trigger" in a metaphorical sense. The compound wanwu appears five times in three different passages; the compound renyi is mentioned four times; wansheng is mentioned five times. (65) The scarcity of the term li is striking: it appears only four times, thrice in a single passage in the "Hua ce" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] chapter. (66) This strongly suggests that by the time of compilation of the bulk of the Shang jun shu, li had not yet become common in intellectual discourse. The term buyi is absent from the text. Finally, the term yin-yang appears in Shang jun shu only as indicating directions (north/south) and never in the sense of cosmic forces or binary opposites.

This sample of distribution in Shang jun shu unmistakably resembles that of Mengzi or the Guodian texts, and differs markedly from Xunzi, Han Feizi, or Lushi chunqiu. It is highly likely, therefore, that pace Graham and Nivison, Shang jun shu should not be considered a third century B.C. text, but in all likelihood belongs to an earlier intellectual milieu. These findings, although not decisive, do suggest that the text merits more scholarly attention as an important milestone in the early development of "Legalist" thought.

We may now briefly summarize our findings. Undeniable temporal changes in the vocabulary of major preimperial texts suggest that lexical analysis may serve as a useful tool for establishing a text's dating. However, we must be aware of two major problems that dictate utmost caution while employing this method. First, certain terms, such as crossbow-related terminology or yin-yang as a pair of binary opposites, might have first appeared in "professional" (military, proto-scientific) texts, to be introduced into general discourse only much later. Thus, their appearance in a certain text does not suffice to determine the text's late provenance, unless the content of the text is considered. Second, insofar as lexical analysis requires resort to argumentum ex silentio, it remains useful only insofar as we discuss relatively long texts. For brief texts or for brief additions to an early text, we can never be sure that avoidance of anachronistic terms is not merely incidental. It is worth emphasizing therefore that lexical analysis may help us to establish the dating only of the Ur-texts, on which most of the received texts are based, but it is not able to solve the problem of dating every passage or every sentence in a given text. Yet as the evidence marshaled above suggests, far from being a mishmash of unrelated sentences and passages, most Zhanguo texts are based to a large extent on an Ur-text produced at an identifiable date. Establishing a chronological framework for these Ur-texts may help us to restore a generally reliable picture of pre-imperial intellectual dynamics.

The present study is but a first step toward constructing a comprehensive pattern of lexical changes in preimperial texts. I have confined myself to the most common terms, the distribution of which in Zhanguo texts is primarily determined by the text's dating. Further studies should expand the scope of the terms introduced into intellectual discourse throughout this period, allowing us, I hope, to determine with higher precision the dating of pre-imperial texts and significant portions thereof. At the next step, this approach should be combined with earlier philological studies done by Karlgren and others, and, of course, with analysis of the texts' contents.
 Crossbow (nu [TEXT NOT
 or trigger (shu [TEXT
 ASCII] or ji [TEXT NOT renyi [TEXT NOT
Text/ term ASCII] ASCII]

Zuo zhuan -- --
Lunyu -- --
Mozi (core chapters) -- 19
Guodian -- 4
Mengzi 1 27
Xunzi 7 32
Han Feizi 13 47
Lushi chungiu 8 9

 wan wu [TEXT NOT wan sheng [TEXT NOT
Text/ term ASCII] ASCII]

Zuo zhuan -- --
Lunyu -- --
Mozi (core chapters) 2 1
Guodian 9 --
Mengzi 1 8
Xunzi 49 7
Han Feizi 23 26
Lushi chungiu 34 24

 li [TEXT NOT yin-yang
 (inner IN ASCII]
 structure (cosmic forces buyi [TEXT NOT
 pattern or binary REPRODUCIBLE
Text/ term principle) opposites) IN ASCII]

Zuo zhuan -- 1 (?) --
Lunyu -- -- --
Mozi (core chapters) 1 -- --
Guodian 6 3 (in "Taiyi --
 sheng shui")
Mengzi 7 -- --
Xunzi 106 6 2
Han Feizi 74 4 9
Lushi chungiu 75 26 15

I am indebted to Andrew Plaks, Sato Masayuki, William Boltz, and the anonymous reviewers of JAOS for their thoughtful remarks and insightful suggestions. Needless to say, I bear the sole responsibility for all inaccuracies.

(1) Karlgren first presented his views in "On the Authenticity and Nature of the Tso Chuan," Goteborgs Hogscholas Arsskrift 32 (1926): 1-65. His attempt to attribute grammatical differences to dialectical discrepancies was immediately criticized in reviews by Albert Forke (Orientalische Literatarzeitung 6 [1928]: 514-15) and Henri Maspero (Journal asiatique 212 [1928]; 159-65), to which Karlgren angrily replied in "The Authenticity of Ancient Chinese Texts," Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities 1 (1929): 165-83 (see particularly pp. 176-82). Later critics focused on Karlgren's neglect of stylistic differences between the surveyed texts, and on inaccuracies in his calculations of the distribution of particles. See, for instance, W. A. C. H. Dobson, "Authenticating and Dating Archaic Chinese Texts," T'oung Pao 53 (1967): 233 n. 1; Sin Chou-yiu (Shan Zhouyao) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Gao Benhan Zuo zhuan zuozhe fei Luren shuo zhiyi" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Journal of Oriental Studies 29.2 (1991): 207-36; Jens Ostergard Petersen, "The Distribution of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in Zuozhuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: A Stylistic Approach" (forthcoming).

(2) See the summary of Dobson's research in his "Authenticating and Dating," 233-42.

(3) For an interesting, albeit not very convincing attempt to trace separate authorship for almost every layer of the Lunyu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], see E. Bruce Brooks and Taeko Brooks, The Original Analects: Sayings of Confucius and His Successors (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1998).

(4) See David C. Schaberg, A Patterned Past: Form and Thought in Early Chinese Historiography (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Asia Center, 2001), 315.

(5) Maspero was the first to notice that Karlgren's analysis of grammatical differences among the texts should be substantiated by search for differences in vocabulary (see his review, p. 165). Karlgren grudgingly agreed with his opponent's remark, but argued that to fix changes in the vocabulary of the texts, "we need hundreds or rather thousands" pages of these texts, and that these are unavailable ("Authenticity of Ancient Texts," 181). It should be noted that Karlgren's study was done before the age of concordances and indexes, which greatly facilitate our work. Current research is aided even more by electronically available texts, which now largely supersede paper concordances.

(6) Indeed, the forger "overdid it" in Karlgren's words, eliminating possible particles, which would not be consistent with the standard grammar of the "new text" chapters ("On the Authenticity," 53).

(7) See Shang shu zhengyi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shisanjing zhushu), "Tai Jia" 8.164a; "Tai shi" 11.180b.

(8) Of course, we cannot entirely rule out the possibility that a shrewd forger would refrain from using anachronistic terms in his text, but the extant evidence does not support this assumption. It seems that the forgers were relatively unaware of lexical changes throughout history.

(9) For Zheng Qiao's views, see his Liu jing aolun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Siku quanshu), 4: 92-93; for criticism of his work, see Yong Rong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Ji Yun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] et al., Siku quanshu zongmu tiyao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (rpt. Haikou: Hainan chubanshe, 1999), 143; Zhang Menglun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Zhongguo shixueshi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Lanzhou: Gansu renmin chubanshe, 1983), 66-83.

(10) See Zhao Fang, Chunqiu shi shuo [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Siku quanshu), 1: 261.

(11) See his "Kokugo shoko" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Toyoshi kenkyu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 48.3 (1989): 421-51; "Shunju jigo ko" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Sen'oku hakkokan kiyo [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 6 (1990): 37-52; "Dankyu ko" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Kodai bunka [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 44.5 (1992): 38-46; "Kyokurei ko" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in Chugoku kodai reisei kenkyu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], ed. Kominami Ichiro [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Kyoto: Kyoto Univ. Press, 1995), 117-63. Lexical differences were employed also by A. C. Graham in his attempt to trace separate origins of the Mozi chapters: Divisions in Early Mohism Reflected in the Core chapters of Mo-tzu (Singapore: Institute of East Asian Philosophies, 1985), 3.

(12) I shall give one example of Yoshimoto's difficulties. In his discussion of the dating of the "Tan Gong" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] chapter of the Liji Yoshimoto compares accounts about Prince Shensheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of Jin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the "Tan Gong," the Zuo zhuan, and the Guoyu. In a sentence "you should better leave," or "why are not you leaving?" the Zuo zhuan and the "Tan Gong" use the term xing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] for "to leave," while Guoyu uses the term qu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Yang Bojun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], ed., Chunqiu Zuozhuan zhu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Beijing: Zhonghua, 1981; hereafter Zuo], Xi 4, 299; Sun Xidan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Liji jijie [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Beijing: Zhonghua, 1996], "Tan Gong shang" 7.174; Guoyu [Shanghai: Guji, 1990], "Jin yu 2" 8.291). Yoshimoto, who estimates that the Guoyu is the later of the three texts (see "Kokugo shoko"), has great difficulties explaining why this text uses qu, which according to Yoshimoto is an earlier term for the word "to leave" ("Dankyu ko," 44 and 46 n. 19). Had Yoshimoto been more systematic in his discussion, he would have found that in earlier texts qu appears mostly as a transitive verb "to expel," "to eradicate" (80 of 122 verbal usages in the Zuo zhuan, 66 percent; eight out of thirteen times in the Lunyu, 62 percent) only in late Zhanguo texts does the intransitive meaning "to leave," "to abandon" become dominant (54 of 60 verbal usages in the Mengzi--83 percent; 78 of 134 times in the Lushi chunqiu--58 percent). Hence, it is more reasonable to assume that, if anything, the Guoyu language is later than that of the "Tan Gong" and the Zuo zhuan.

(13) See the detailed discussion about the dating and the nature of the Zuo and its sources in Yuri Pines, Foundations of Confucian Thought: Intellectual Life in the Chunqiu Period (Honolulu: Univ. of Hawaii Press, 2002), 14-26. Alternatively, Schaberg has suggested that the Zuo was compiled from both written and oral sources, and the relative weight of the latter was considerably higher (A Patterned Past, 315-24). My disagreement with Schaberg is twofold. First, I believe that he exaggerates the extent of the oral tradition's role in the composition of the Zuo. Second, and most importantly, I believe that most of the orally circulated anecdotes were incorporated into the Zuo not directly, but from the Chunqiu scribal records, which largely mediated between Chunqiu (real or imagined) historical events, and the text of the Zuo (for details, see Pines, Foundations, 21-26).

(14) The framework of the current discussion does not allow me to deal adequately with the complicated nature of the Lunyu (for recent discussion of this topic, see, e.g., Brooks and Brooks, Original Analects; cf. David C. Schaberg, "Confucius as Body and Text: On the Generation of Knowledge in Warring States and Hun Anecdotal Literature," paper presented at the conference "Text and Ritual in Early China," Princeton, October 2000; Guo Yi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Lunyu, Lunyu lei wenxian, Kongzi shiliao: cong Guodian jian tan qi" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], at Certainly, I do not intend either to question the existence of later layers in the Lunyu (or for this matter in the Zuo as well), or to deny that both books took their final form much later than the fifth century B.C. Yet, pace Brooks and Brooks, I follow the well-grounded suggestion of Yang Bojun, that the bulk of Lunyu sayings should have been recorded within a few generations of Confucius' disciples, and hence the language of this text should basically reflect fifth-century B.C. vocabulary (See Yang Bojun, "Dan yan" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in idem, Lunyu yizhu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Beijing: Zhonghua, 1991], 26-30).

(15) Wu Yujiang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Mozi gepian zhenwei kao" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in Mozi jiaozhu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1994), 1025-55.

(16) For this hypothesis, see A. C. Graham Divisions; cf. Erik W. Maeder, "Some Observations on the Composition of the 'Core Chapters' of the Mozi," Early China 17 (1992): 27-82.

(17) For the dating of the Guodian tomb, see articles collected in the 20th issue of Zhongguo zhexue [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], viz. Guodian Chujian yanjiu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shenyang: Liaoning jiaoyu, 1999). To my knowledge, the only attempt to argue for a post-278 B.C. date for the texts is that of Wang Baoxuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Shi lun Guodian Chujian ge pian de zhuanzuo shidai ji qi beijing: Jian lun Guodian ji Baoshan Chu mu de shidai wenti" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Guodian Chujian, 366-90. Wang's analysis contains many interesting arguments, but it is based on a series of quite problematic assertions. Alternatively, we should consider the possibility of an earlier dating for the Guodian texts, which might have been compiled long before their being deposited in the tomb. For the present study, however, I tentatively concur with the majority view that dates most (or all) of the Guodian texts to the second half of the fourth century B.C.

(18) Among the terms left out of the present discussion are those mentioned by Zhao Fang in the passage cited above, since they are largely, albeit not exclusively, confined to the military texts, as well as such terms as qian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (coins), baixing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and qianshou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the meaning of "all the people," chuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ("a boat"), or qi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (to ride a horse). All these terms are demonstrably late, and their occurrence may indicate a late provenance of a text; but since they are employed rarely even in late Zhanguo texts, their absence cannot be regarded as significant for our discussion.

(19) According to popular theory, the crossbow first appeared in the late Chunqiu period in the state of Chu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (see Ma Chengyuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Zhongguo qingtongqi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Shanghai: Guji, 1988], 79), but it entered the Central Plain only in the mid-Zhanguo period (Yang Kuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Zhanguo shi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], rev. ed. [Shanghai: Renmin chubanshe 1998], 304). The earliest archaeologically attested remnants of the crossbow are from an early Zhanguo tomb in the state of Lu, and from mid-Zhanguo tombs in Changsha, in the state of Chu (see Zhu Fenghan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Gudai Zhangguo qingtongqi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Tianjin: Nankai daxue, 1995], 274). For the impact of the crossbow on the Zhanguo armies, see Mark E. Lewis, "Warring States: Political History," in The Cambridge History of Ancient China, ed. Michael Loewe and Edward L. Shaughnessy (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999), 622-23.

(20) Both shu and ji carried other meanings, which are not discussed here. Shu appears in the Shi jing as a "thorn-elm" (Mao shi zhengyi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Shisanjing zhushu], 6.361c [Mao 115]); ji also meant a funerary stretcher (see, e.g., Liji jijie, "Tan Gong xia" 11.281).

(21) Scholarly consensus holds that some of the "modern text" chapters of the Shu jing, particularly those that deal with the pre-Zhou period, were composed in the Zhanguo period. How then can we explain the absence of our terms from these late chapters? Their absence might be incidental, as the Shu jing documents are relatively short. It is also possible (and is widely accepted) that most of the forged chapters were compiled in the early Zhanguo period, hence we should search not for late Zhanguo but for late Chanqiu lexical anachronisms. Finally, the expansion of terms under discussion (including those mentioned in n. 18 above) may also help to discern late layers of the Shu chapters: for instance, the "Yu gong" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] chapter, attributed traditionally to the legendary founder of the Xia dynasty, mentions iron among the normal tribute items of Liangzhou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; this undeniably indicates the Zhanguo provenance of this chapter (see Shang shu zhengyi 6.150a).

(22) See Yang Bojun, ed., Mengzi yizhu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1992), "Jin xin shang" 13.7, 303.

(23) Predictably, the earliest texts to employ crossbow-related terminology are those connected with military specialists, most importantly the Sunzi, discussed separately in the epilogue of this article.

(24) See his chapter on "The Classical Philosophical Writings," in Cambridge History of Ancient China, 751.

(25) See respectively Zuo, Ai 16, 1700; Zhuang 22, 221.

(26) For Mozi's use of yi as the counterpart of li, see Yuri Pines, "Disputers of the Li: Breakthroughs in the Concept of Ritual in Preimperial China," Asia Major, 3rd ser. 13.1 (2000): 22-23. For more about the compound renyi as based on a complementarity of morally "constant" ren and "relative" yi, see the insightful discussion of William G. Boltz in his review of John Knoblock's Xunzi (Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 54 [1992]: 416).

(27) Once in the Laozi, once in the "Wu xing" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and twice in the "Liu de" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] chapter.

(28) For a single exception, in which wu may refer to "a thing" or "a phenomenon," see Mao shi zhengyi, 18.568a (Mao 260). Altogether wu is mentioned seven times in the Shi jing and four times (of which one is a place name) in the "modern" text of the Shu jing.

(29) For details of the meaning of wu in the Zuo, see Yang Bo jun and Xu Ti [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Chunqiu Zuozhuan cidian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1985), 419-20.

(30) This observation must be modified, should we take into account those speeches of the Zuo that I have identified elsewhere as Zhanguo interpolations (Pines, Foundations. 233-46); in addition we should count the narrator's remarks and comments as a separate, later layer of the Zuo. Modified results for the Zuo text would give six occurrences of wu as "a thing" in the first century and a half of the Zuo (722-572 B.C.) and fourteen (70 percent) for the later period (all of these occurrences are scattered in the speeches of 541-510 B.C.).

(31) See Zuo, Huan 3, 670.

(32) See Lunyu yizhu, "Yang Hun" 17.19, 188. Significantly, the fourth century B.C. text Guoyu, which is partly based on Chunqiu materials, contains no less than eight instances of the term baiwu, but never mentions wanwu. This may strengthen our assumption that the term baiwu preceded wanwu. If so, then the replacement of "hundred things" by "ten thousand things" may reflect a kind of rhetorical inflation in pre-imperial texts.

(33) The term wanwu appears also once in the text "Tang Yu zhi dao" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] that cites an earlier, unknown text "Wu shi" (or, perhaps, "Yu shi" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]); baiwu is mentioned in Yu cong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1; the term qunwu appears in the text "Zhongxin zhi dao" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. The Guodian texts are cited according to their arrangement in Jiagmenshi Bowuguan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Guodian Chumu zhujian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Wenwu, 1998), unless otherwise specified.

(34) Zuo, Ai 14, 1682. It is not implausible that the new trend of designating the power of the state in military terms reflected the transformation from state to military machine, as described by Mark E. Lewis, Sanctioned Violence in Ancient China [Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 1990], 53-96.

(35) In 537 a Chu courtier, Wei Qijiang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] discussed in great detail the power of the state of Jin, arriving at the conclusion that after Jin sends nine hundred chariots against Chu, it will be able to leave behind four thousand more to protect its territory (Zuo, Zhao 5.1269). Other late Chunqin powers, such as the southern states of Chu or Wu could not have possessed a larger number of chariots because chariots in general were less applicable to warfare on the southern terrain. Generally, Chunqiu armies engaging in military campaigns did not exceed several hundred chariots; in 555 Jin threatened to send two thousand chariots to invade Qi's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] capital, and this threat sufficed to frighten the army of Qi into retreat (Zuo, Xiang 18, 1037).

(36) See Mozi jiaozhu, 18.203.

(37) According to the Zhanguo ce, the state of Chu, one of the most powerful Zhanguo "hero states" possessed by the third century B.C. a million infantrymen, ten thousand cavalrymen, and only a thousand war chariots (He Jianzhang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], ed., Zhanguo ce zhushi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Beijing: Zhonghua, 1991], "Chu ce 1" 14.17, 508); the state of Zhao possessed "several hundred thousands" of infantrymen, and a number of chariots and cavalrymen similar to those of Chu ("Zhao ce 2" 19.1: 656); similar proportions apply to other late Zhanguo armies.

(38) See Mao shi zhengyi, 13.470, 16.510, 17.543, 18.573 (Mao 210, 237, 250, 262).

(39) For li as arranging the fields, see Zuo, Chang 2, 798; Zhao 14, 1366; for xingli see Zhao 13, 1359.

(40) See respectively Mengzi, "Wan Zhang xia" 10.1, 233; "Jin xin xia" 14.19, 330; "Gaozi shang" 11.7, 261. I generally concur with William Boltz's observation (op.cit., 415) that the term li in pre-imperial texts should not be translated as abstract "principle" or "reason" but rather as "internal order" or "inner structure" (a meaning that derives from its earliest semantic layers outlined above). Here I preserve a dual translation only as a matter of convenience.

(41) The text "Chang zhi wen zhi" states: "Heaven let down great constants to arrange (li) human relations" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (For a better rearrangement of the relevant slips into a text named "Tian chang" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], see Chen Wei [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Guanyu Guodian Chujian Liu de zhupian bianlian de tiaozheng" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in Wuhan daxue Zhongguo wenhua yanjiuyuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Guodian Chujian guoji xueshu yantao hui lunwenji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Wuhan: Hubei renmin chubanshe, 2000], 67-68). Twice li appears as a verb in the texts "Xing zi ming chu" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and "Yu tong 1"; it appears as a noun in the recommendation "to follow propriety and accumulate [proper] pattern" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the text "Zun de yi" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], rearranged by Chen Wei to the text "Shang xing" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ("Guanyu Guodian" 70-71). It appears also as a noun in "Yu cong 1" and (possibly twice) in "Yu cong 3" slips 17-18 (Guodian, 209).

(42) In these texts li is used predominantly as a noun: in Lushi chunqiu, for instance, sixty-nine of seventy-five occurrences of li are in its nominal form.

(43) The Jixia activities and their contribution to the sophistication of Zhanguo discourse are discussed in a recent study by Masayuki Sato, "Confucian State and Society of Li: A Study on the Political Thought of Xun Zi" (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Leiden, 2001), 45-116.

(44) See A. C. Graham, Yin-Yang and the Nature of Correlative Thinking (Singapore: Institute of East Asian Philosophies, 1986), 91-92; cf. Xu Fuguan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "Yinyang, wuxing ji qi youguan wenxian de yanjiu" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in idem, Zhongguo sixiangshi lunji xubian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Taibei: Shibao wenhua, 1982), 41-111 ; also a complementary discussion by Lisa Raphals, Sharing the Light: Representations of Women and Virtue in Early China (Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 1998), 139-68. Aside from sunshine/ shade, in pre-Zhanguo texts yin and yang refer to related meteorological phenomena, such as cold/heat and sun/rain, and also to the north/south directions.

(45) See Du Yu, "Houxu" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in Chunqui Zuozhuan zhengyi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shisanjing zhushu), 2187c.

(46) See Jingmenshi Bowuguan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Guodian Chumu zhujian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Wenwu, 1998), "Taiyi sheng shui," 113-14. For the nature of "Taiyi sheng shui" and its possible relations with the 42nd chapter of the Laozi, see Wuhan daxue Zhongguo wenhua yanjiuyuan, Guodian Chujian guoji xueshu yantao hui lunwenji, 524-61; and 21st issue of Zhongguo zhexue, viz. Guodian jian yu Ruxue yanjiu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shenyang: Liaoning jiaoyu, 2000), 189-226.

(47) See Graham, Yin-Yang, 91. The only "secular" speaker in the Zuo to employ the notion of yang, is the leader of the state of Zheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Zichan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Zhao 7, 1292), who often displays extra-political sagacity throughout the narrative (see, e.g., Zhao 1, 1217-20; Zhao 7, 1289-90).

(48) See Zuo, Zhao 1, 1222, and the analysis by Raphals, Sharing, 146-47.

(49) Zuo, Xi 16, 329.

(50) See Xu Fuguan, "Yin yang," 45-46.

(51) The Zuo contains also two cases of metaphorical use of the term yang. In 623, Ning Wuzi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of Wei [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] said "The Son of Heaven occupies the yang [position]" (Zuo, Wen 4, 535). This saying is strongly reminiscent of later correlative philosophy, but in the context of the speech it merely refers to Ning Wuzi's exegesis of the "Zhan lu" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ode of the Shi ring, in which yang means "sun"; the supreme position of the Son of Heaven is compared, therefore, to that of the sun (see Yang Bojun's gloss, p. 535). Elsewhere, Zi Chan argues that the hun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] soul belongs to the yang force (Zuo, Zhao 7, 1292). It is possible that we are observing here proto-correlative thinking, although without further evidence it is again difficult to know how widespread such ideas were.

(52) The Mozi contains one reference to yin-yang as sunshine and shade (Mozi), 27.304; Graham, Yin-Yang, 70-71).

(53) For the nature and development of correlative thinking in the late Zhanguo period, see A. C. Graham, Disputers of the Tao: Philosophical Argument in Ancient China (La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 1989), 313-70; Nivison, "Classical Philosophical Writings," 808-12; Donald Harper, "Warring States Natural Philosophy and Occult Thought," in Cambridge History of Ancient China, 820 ff; cf. Wang Aihe, Cosmology and Political Culture in Early China (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2000), 75-128.

(54) See Wang Liqi, ed., Yantie lun jiaozhu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1992), 29.350.

(55) For similarities and differences between buyi and pifu, see Hong Chengyu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Zhang Guizhen [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Gu Hanyu tongyi ci bianxi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Hangzhou: Zhejiang jiaoyu chubanshe, 1987), 9-13.

(56) See Zuo, Min 2, 273; Mozi, 16.180 and 48.703. The "Yu zao" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] chapter of the Liji requires the ruler to wear plaincloth garments when drought occurs, apparently to display the ruler's frugality (Liji jijie, 29.784).

(57) For the intellectual atmosphere of the late Zhanguo period and shi self-confidence, see Yuri Pines, "Friends or Foes: Changing Concepts of Ruler-Minister Relations and the Notion of Loyalty in Pre-Imperial China," Monumenta Serica 50 (2002).

(58) See Xunzi, 10.196, 27.513.

(59) For instance, the authors of the Lushi chunqiu repeatedly identify their Masters--Confucius and Mozi--as "plain-clothed shi" (Chen Qiyou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], ed., Lushi chunqiu jiaoshi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Shanghai: Xuelin, 1990], 12.5: 640; 24.5: 1618); elsewhere the authors even claim that the sage emperor Shun was just a "buyi who attained All under Heaven" (19.5: 1280).

(60) For the early debates regarding Sunzi's dating, see Zhang Xincheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], comp. Weishu tongkao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Changsha: Shangwu, 1939), 797-801; for Qi Sihe's views, see his "Sunzi bingfa zhuzuo shidai kao" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1939), in idem, Zhongguo shi tanyan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (rpt. Shijiazhuang: Hebei jiaoyu, 2001), 415-33. For later supporters of the early dating, see Zheng Liangshu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Sunzi de zuocheng shidai" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in idem, Zhujian boshu lunwenji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1982), 68-71; Robin D. S. Yates, "New Light on Ancient Chinese Military Texts: Notes on their Nature and Evolution, and the Development of Military Specialization in Warring States China;" T'oung Pao 74 (1988) 217-18; for an alternative approach, see Li Ling, "Guanyu Yinqueshan jianben Sunzi yanjiu de shangque: Sunzi zhuzuo shidai he zuozhe de chong yi" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1978), in idem, Sunzi guben yanjiu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Beijing Daxue, 1995), 207-23.

(61) For renyi see Li Ling, Wu Sunzi fawei [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1997), 13.126; interestingly, in the bamboo copy from Yinqueshan the parallel phrase employs only ren without yi (a ruler who is not benevolent is not able to make use of spies--see Wu Sunzi, 167). For li, see Wu Sunzi, 6.70, 11.108.

(62) Wu Sunzi, 1.29.

(63) For Ames's translation, see his Sun-tzu: The Art of Warfare (New York: Ballantine, 1993), 103. In his review of Ames's book, Edward L. Shaughnessy emphatically exclaims: "Can it really be that yin yang here is intended only to refer to 'light and shadow'?" ("Military Histories of Ancient China: A Review Article," Early China 21 [1996], 173).

(64) See Nivison, "Classical Philosophical Writings." 806-7. Graham confined himself to a single remark: "the chapters of Shang-tzu [i.e., Shang jun shu] datable by historical references come from about 240 B.C." (Disputers, 268). Graham evidently referred here to the "Lai min" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] chapter of the Shang jun shu, which is indeed of unmistakable post-250 B.C. origin (Jiang Lihong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Shang jun shu zhuizhi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Beijing: Zhonghua, 1996], 15: 86-96); I have found no clear evidence for the late provenance of other chapters. Unlike Nivison and Graham, Benjamin I. Schwartz apprehended that although the Shang jan shu was put together by Shang Yang's disciples, its style "conveys the spirit of one strong personality," and hence the book bears Shang Yang's personal imprint (The World of Thought in Ancient China [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1985], 331). For detailed discussion of the dating of each of the Shang jun shu chapters, see Zheng Liangshu, Shang Yang ji qi xuepai [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shanghai: Guji chubanshe, 1989); for alternative views, see Zhang Jue's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] notes in his Shang jun shu quanyi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Guiyang: Guizhou renmin chubanshe, 1993). Yoshinami Takashi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] partly agrees with Zheng's analysis, and dates more than half of the Shangjun shu to the mid-third century B.C. (see his Shokun sho kenkyu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Hiroshima: Keisuisha, 1992]).

(65) For trigger and crossbow, see Shang jun shu 9.63, 22.128; for wanwu, see 3.23, 17.105, 23.129; for renyi, see 13.80 and 82,; for wansheng, see 6.46; 7.54; 17.97, 25.138.

(66) See Shangjun shu, 7.53, 18.113.


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Author:Pines, Yuri
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Date:Oct 1, 2002
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