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The Chinese Classics — Prolegomena   By: (1815-1897)

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A note from the digitizer

This is a text file that can be read on any computer with any Chinese capable word processor or text editor. If you have the Big 5 character set for Chinese installed, choosing that set from your font menu will display the Chinese characters properly. Even if Chinese is not installed on your computer, the English will be displayed properly, even though the Chinese will appear as garbage characters.

This digitized version preserves the original page breaks. The text of each page is followed by its footnotes. Note reference numbers in the text are enclosed in square brackets. In this text version, all diacriticals have been omitted.

In a few places I have substituted the character forms available in the Big 5 character set for rare or (what are now considered) nonstandard forms used by Legge. Characters not included in the Big 5 character set in any form are described by their constituent elements.

This file contains only the Prolegomena; the other parts of Legge's work are in separate files.

THE CHINESE CLASSICS

with a translation, critical and exegetical notes, prolegomena, and copious indexes

by

James Legge

IN FIVE VOLUMES

CONFUCIAN ANALECTS THE GREAT LEARNING THE DOCTRINE OF THE MEAN

PROLEGOMENA.

CHAPTER I. OF THE CHINESE CLASSICS GENERALLY.

SECTION I. BOOKS INCLUDED UNDER THE NAME OF THE CHINESE CLASSICS.

1. The Books now recognised as of highest authority in China are comprehended under the denominations of 'The five Ching [1]' and 'The four Shu [2].' The term Ching is of textile origin, and signifies the warp threads of a web, and their adjustment. An easy application of it is to denote what is regular and insures regularity. As used with reference to books, it indicates their authority on the subjects of which they treat. 'The five Ching' are the five canonical Works, containing the truth upon the highest subjects from the sages of China, and which should be received as law by all generations. The term Shu simply means Writings or Books, = the Pencil Speaking; it may be used of a single character, or of books containing thousands of characters. 2. 'The five Ching' are: the Yi [3], or, as it has been styled, 'The Book of Changes;' the Shu [4], or 'The Book of History;' the Shih [5], or 'The Book of Poetry;' the Li Chi [6], or 'Record of Rites;' and the Ch'un Ch'iu [7], or 'Spring and Autumn,' a chronicle of events, extending from 722 to 481 B.C. The authorship, or compilation rather, of all these Works is loosely attributed to Confucius. But much of the Li Chi is from later hands. Of the Yi, the Shu, and the Shih, it is only in the first that we find additions attributed to the philosopher himself, in the shape of appendixes. The Ch'un Ch'iu is the only one of the five Ching which can, with an approximation to correctness, be described as of his own 'making.'

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'The Four Books' is an abbreviation for 'The Books of the Four Philosophers [1].' The first is the Lun Yu [2], or 'Digested Conversations,' being occupied chiefly with the sayings of Confucius. He is the philosopher to whom it belongs. It appears in this Work under the title of 'Confucian Analects.' The second is the Ta Hsio [3], or 'Great Learning,' now commonly attributed to Tsang Shan [4], a disciple of the sage. He is he philosopher of it. The third is the Chung Yung [5], or 'Doctrine of the Mean,' as the name has often been translated, though it would be better to render it, as in the present edition, by 'The State of Equilibrium and Harmony.' Its composition is ascribed to K'ung Chi [6], the grandson of Confucius. He is the philosopher of it. The fourth contains the works of Mencius. 3. This arrangement of the Classical Books, which is commonly supposed to have originated with the scholars of the Sung dynasty, is defective. The Great Learning and the Doctrine of the Mean are both found in the Record of Rites, being the thirty ninth and twenty eighth Books respectively of that compilation, according to the best arrangement of it... Continue reading book >>





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