Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

The Chinese Classics: with a translation, critical and exegetical notes, prolegomena and copious indexes (Shih ching. English) — Volume 1   By: (1815-1897)

Book cover

First Page:

This etext was prepared using Nisus Writer by Rick Davis in Ashigawa, Japan, with assistance from David Steelman, Taiwan. THE CHINESE CLASSICS (PROLEGOMENA) by James Legge

A note from the digitizer This digitized version preserves the original page breaks. The text of each page is followed by its notes. Note reference numbers in the text are enclosed in brackets. 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.


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.' 1 五經. 2 四書. 3 易經. 4 書經. 5 詩經. 6 禮記. 7 春秋. '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. 4. The oldest enumerations of the Classical Books specify only the five Ching. The Yo Chi, or 'Record of Music [7],' the remains of which now form one of the Books in the Li Chi, was sometimes added to those, making with them the six Ching. A division was also made into nine Ching, consisting of the Yi, the Shih, the Shu, the Chau Li [8], or 'Ritual of Chau,' the I Li [9], or certain 'Ceremonial Usages,' the Li Chi, and the annotated editions of the Ch'un Ch'iu [10], by Tso Ch'iu ming [11], Kung yang Kao [12], and Ku liang Ch'ih [13]... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books