- To: WSW et al / On: Mician Logic: Canons A
As a further note, provoked by the recent Johnston translation of Mwodz, and
supplementing a previous question in which I invited impressions of this
In MZ 40 (Canons A), there is a numbering difference between Johnston and
Graham. Johnston gets 99, whereas Graham had 98. The difference occurs at
Graham A46-47, between which Johnston makes a separate canon (his A47) out
of material which Graham disposes elsewhere. Since the Johnston canon has
the keyword yi "augmentation" whereas the preceding A46 (in both systems)
has the keyword sun "diminution" (paired in the Yi also, where each has a
hexagram to itself), and since such pairing or clustering by keyword is
common in MZ 40, it seems that however fragmentary it may be, Johnston is
right to recognize a separate canon here. Notice that the preceding few
canons can without strain be grouped in pairs, thus
A40/41 duration in time/extension in space
Does anyone see an objection to preferring Johnston's division here?
Of course A26/27, in both systems, have some interest as reflecting the
Golden Rule issue, a crux unknown in the West Asian studies area, or
whatever it should be called, and thus available for the solitary enrichment
of the Sinological fraternity:
A26/27 benefit/harm, glossed in the respective Explanations as "What one is
pleased to get / dislikes getting (with specific Comment contrast to the
preceding canon). This is not the definition one would have expected from a
general reading of the chronologically previous ethical material, from the
beginning (for a systematic view of its order of composition, see now Taeko
in WSP v1).
This being from somewhere in the mid to late 04c, long before Tobit.
I note that canon pairing is not consistent between these and the
abovementioned six: there are (as I see it) two groups of three, or a group
of two followed by a singlet: A31-32 plus 33 and A36-38, where A36/38 make a
nice pair (reward and punishment), here separated (I would not quite say
"interrupted") by a related and fundamental concept (dzwei "guilt"). Rather,
we have two intersecting pairs: A36/38 "reward/punishment" and A37/38
"crime/punishment." Then follows the singlet A39 tung "same, jointly."
So the canons seem, at first glance, not to have been composed on a tight
formal pattern (such as I think we find in the original layout of the
Analects chapters, qv), but rather a practical and flexible one which
nevertheless groups things together by large subject or theme, and prefers a
pairing structure of individual canons as a sort of structural default, when
there is no counterpressure from the subject matter.
But is it possible that later pressure from the subjectmatter has led to the
insertion of late canons which violate a more consistent earlier pairing
pattern? I haven't got to the point of proposing same, but I am keeping A33
chye "about to," A37 dzwei "crime" and A39 tung "same, like" on my deskpad
by way of future awareness.
99 canons looks a lot like 100 canons, a nicer number. Were the final
compilers of this series reaching for that conclusion (as the Shr editors
were at the end concerned to get exactly 300 poems, and for that matter, as
the ethical Micians were concerned to round off their ethical topics at no
more and no less than 3 essays per topic, always excepting the abortive
topic Fei Ru), and did they in fact get there, and may there then be, as
with Johnston's A47, a still latent and perhaps highly fragmentary 100th
canon, lurking still undiscovered within the reconstruction thus far? There
will be a prize for the one making a convincing proposal (or offering a
convincing argument that none such is present).
(If this is true, of course, then Graham's transfer of four seeming canons
to another reconstructed text may be due for reconsideration).
Opinions welcome as usual from those who have spent time with this material,
or (for that matter) from those who are spontaneously encountering it for
the first time.
[Carine: Did you get this? If not, write me at once]
[E Bruce Brooks
University of Massachusetts at Amherst]
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