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Directionality: Analects and Jung Yung

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: NLN Cc: WSW, Synoptic On: Directionality Between Analects and Jung Yung From: Bruce We had a question arise in the small discussion which brings up the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2009
      To: NLN
      Cc: WSW, Synoptic
      On: Directionality Between Analects and Jung Yung
      From: Bruce

      We had a question arise in the small discussion which brings up the question
      of directionality judgements, whether they can be made, and if made, how
      reliable they are, and if reliable, what they may mean for larger issues.
      All this is fundamental to text philology in general, and as a sample of
      fundamental issues, I venture to share my response outside the group as


      In Jung Yung 20:9, we have:


      and in Analects 16:9, we have:


      The question was: which of these is later than the other, and, quote, "Can
      this be demonstrated unambiguously?" I must say as usual that demonstrations
      in the human sciences are not like the Pythagorean Theorem; they are most
      probable conclusions from present evidence, always open to new evidence, or
      to a more convincing reading of present evidence. Just like astrophysics.
      With that qualification, I think that a most probable (least improbable)
      result can be obtained in this case, and that the result once obtained is
      useful beyond the problem which gave rise to it.

      SOLUTION 1

      For the traditionally nurtured, the Analects reflects Confucius, and the
      Jung Yung was written by Confucius's grandson and supposed linear
      intellectual heir, Dz-sz. This being so, then any part of the Jung Yung must
      be later than any part of the Analects (Lun Yw; LY), so the directionality
      can only be

      LY > JY

      This is irrespective of the contents of either passage.

      But it can easily be shown that the idea of Dz-sz as the lineal intellectual
      heir of Confucius is chronologically untenable, so we need to go back to the
      drawing board.

      SOLUTION 2

      Since upon chronological scrutiny the real Dz-sz turns out to be much later
      than the Dz-sz of pious traditional belief, it is all the more obvious that
      JY is later than LY, and so, but now even more positively,

      LY > JY,

      whatever the content of the two passages.

      The next problem is that it can easily be shown (to those who are accessible
      to the evidence in the text, and admittedly we here come to a parting of the
      ways within the Sinological field) that the Analects is not all of one date,
      some of it (more precisely, LY 16-20, the part identified by Tswei Shu
      centuries ago as the latest part) is even from the 03c. Then even if JY is
      later than Confucius, it might still be earlier than *some parts* of LY, and
      LY 16, the chapter here in question, is indeed from this latest portion of
      the Analects. The question thus remains open and unsolved.

      SOLUTION 3

      Another complication is that the JY is *also* not of one date; the
      highest-numbered chapters contain clear references to the Chin
      administrative system (the Chin empire dates from 0221), whereas the
      lower-numbered chapters have echoes in texts from the first half of the 03c
      (that is, from 0299-0250). JY 20 is not from the oldest layer of JY, nor yet
      from the youngest and latest; its affinities are with texts from the middle
      of the century (say 0250 plus or minus 10 years), whereas LY 16 mostly
      predates 0285, and was interrupted in mid-composition precisely by an event
      of 0285; the passage in question (LY 16:9) was part of the previous
      material, and thus might be from any time in the vicinity of 0290 plus or
      minus 5. On this clearer sense of the respective dates of the chapters in
      question, we have

      LY 16:9 > JY 20:9.

      SOLUTION 4

      The Analects, in addition to its accretional structure, is known to contain
      self-interpolations made at different times in order to bring a little more
      retrospective homogeneity to the evolving text. The LY 6:29 reference to the
      JY is precisely such a later interpolation. (Interestingly enough, the
      *next* interpolation to that otherwise early = 05c chapter is 6:30, one of
      several Analects formulations of the Golden Rule, this one a vertical one).
      This being so, it is not out of the question that JY might also have such
      interpolations. But since an interpolation cannot be earlier than the thing
      into which it is interpolated, and the Jung Yung chapter in question is
      already demonstrably later than LY 16, this possibility would not affect the
      relative age of LY 16:9 and LY 20:9. The known complications at this point
      therefore cease to impugn the solution previously reached, and we can say
      with reasonable (operational) confidence that

      LY 16:9 > JY 20:9.

      SOLUTION 5

      But you never know, sometimes text relationships can be more complicated
      than at first expected, and it will do no harm to look at the contents of
      the two sections. They are similar in form, but drastically different in
      import. LY 16:9 establishes a hierarchy of knowledge: the highest type is
      innate knowledge, next is knowledge acquired by study (in this case, "study"
      probably means book learning, which was not its content a century or so
      previously), and next after that is study pursued under difficulty, and so
      on. The JY passage recognizes three, not four, divisions, and far from
      establishing or reaffirming a hierarchical order among them, it explicitly
      seeks to equate them. It says that once you know something, you know it, and
      all knowledge is identical. Your *route* to that knowledge does not matter.
      This may remind some of the Parable of the Workers, whose analogical meaning
      is, those who believed early are saved, and those who believed late are
      saved, and all who are saved are saved; there is no distinction of early or
      late. The Equality of all Belief in the one is matched by the Equality of
      all Understanding in the other.

      So there is a difference, but which way does it go? It might be thought
      intrinsically likely that an obliteration of previous distinctions is more
      likely than a differencing of a previous unity. Would the JY 20:9 passage
      need to be the way it is, going to lengths to argue for the equality of
      knowledge, without the previous differentiation of knowledge to react
      against? I would say, not very likely. The argument seems to be
      intrinsically reactive. Then if we had to make a decision based solely on
      content, and without reference to any external facts about the respect texts
      in which these passages occur, my judgement would be

      LY 16:9 > JY 20:9.

      SOLUTION 6

      One of my previous guidelines for interpolation noted that if a common
      passage is well integrated in text A but not in text B, then it may be
      intrusive (and thus interpolated, and thus late) within B. We do not have
      that situation here. But it is still useful to see if the passage in
      question has, or does not have, similar material elsewhere. In judging some
      passages in Luke to be later than corresponding passages in Matthew (such as
      the elaborate and reverential Annunciation to Mary, vs Matthew's much more
      perfunctory and less reverential Annunciation to Joseph), it helps the
      judgement, or supports it once made on other grounds, to note that the
      Annunciation to Mary and in particular her response (the Magnificat)
      strongly articulates the theme of the hatred of the poor for the rich, a
      motif which finds wide expression in Luke (nowhere more radically than in
      the uniquely Lukan Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, in which wealth
      itself is a sin deserving of eternal damnation), whereas it is muted or
      absent in the corresponding parts of Matthew (eg, the respective Beatitudes,
      which are proletarian and gritty in Luke but spiritualized and vague in

      In the present case, there are other homogenizations and equivalences in JY
      20. One very striking one is the claim, in the very next sentence of JY
      20:9, that "some do it spontaneously, some with a view to advantage, and
      some with extreme effort, but once they have done it, their achievement is
      the same." Neither motive nor method matters; the only thing that matters is
      to do it, and once you have done it, it is done.

      Of course the equation between doing it out of inner impulse and doing it
      for reasons of advantage would be anathema to Analects readers, for whom
      (see LY 4:2) only the "savvy" person (pejorative) acts out of advantage.
      Here again, JY is concerned to eliminate hierarchical differences that are
      established, or respected, in LY.

      LY 4:2 is an actual saying of Confucius, remembered and recorded by one of
      his disciples as part of the core of what later was expanded to make our
      present canonical Analects. The reversal of that difference in the unifying
      JY is certainly outrageous. Can there be any impudence that exceeds it?

      Yes, and it comes in the next paragraph, JY 20:10, where Confucius himself
      is brought on to refute himself. He is made to say this: "To love study is
      to be near to wisdom; to act energetically is to be near to benevolence, to
      feel shame is to be near to courage." That is, the first prompting is
      equivalent to the achievement to which that prompting might eventually lead
      in practice. (Or might not, as many passages in the Analects are there to
      remind us). Here again is a unification which reverses the whole tone of
      thought in the Analects. It rewards intention equally with achievement.

      On the whole, then, it seems reasonable to say that the general thrust of JY
      20:9 is consistent with other statements in that chapter, and that (1) we
      have not misinterpreted the passage in question, always a good thing to
      know, and that (2) the meaning of that passage is not eccentric, but
      typical, in this part of JY.


      It seems to follow, not only that the directionality

      LY 16:9 > JY 20:9

      is confirmed, but that it has a larger implication: JY at this point is
      consistently seeking to reverse hierarchies and differentials that were
      important to Confucius (LY 4:2) and to his Analects tradition down to the
      early 03c (LY 16:9), and to establish instead a much greater equality of
      knowledge and effort.

      Besides the Analects, the other strong point of contact with JY in general
      is with the northern Mencians (the splinter group whose text is MC 4-7), and
      it would now be interesting to examine the tenor and temperature of that
      relationship in more detail; it should catch JY at an earlier stage of its
      growth process. That task is here deferred. I note instead some similarities
      of origin: The Analects was for long the mainstream and authoritative
      tradition of Confucius, but beginning in the late 04c, that tradition began
      to divide itself into several independent and sometimes mutually critical
      streams. The historical Mencius probably defined the first departure (in
      0320, for a public career beginning in Lyang and peaking in Chi). The
      splitting of the Mencian school not long after the death of Mencius is a
      further event of similar type. The appearance of the Jung Yung, whose first
      echoes outside itself are precisely in the earliest of the splinter Mencian
      writings (MC 4), is yet another event of the same kind. The rise of Sywndz,
      who never was a part of the Analects school but came to Confucianism via a
      quite different route, makes a fourth stream, the most contentious of all
      (he hated the Mencians, and he had no use for Dz-sz (by which he probably
      meant the Analects tradition) either. Not only were these people diverging,
      they were contesting the leadership among themselves. Who, in the rapidly
      evolving world of the 03c, with only decades to run until the politically
      unified Empire was in fact achieved, had the right to speak for Confucius
      and for the tradition associated with him? That was the underlying question.
      It adds about a quart of acid to the arguments over mere philosophical
      principles, whose point is that they are foci of the larger political

      In this larger light, the evolution of the Jung Yung from a mildly
      compatible if daringly meditation-prone sect within Confucianism (early 03c)
      to an openly revisionist Confucianism (mid 03c) makes approximately all the
      sense in the world.

      Respectfully submitted,


      [E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst]
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