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  • Paul Rakita Goldin
    For what it is worth, a date of ca. 300 B.C. fits well for the corpus of texts encompassing Xing zi ming chu, Cheng zhi wen zhi, Liu te, Zun de yi, and
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 2, 1999
      For what it is worth, a date of ca. 300 B.C. fits well for the corpus of
      texts encompassing "Xing zi ming chu," "Cheng zhi wen zhi," "Liu te," "Zun
      de yi," and others (which I see as one philosophical unit). As I will
      argue at the AAS conference in Boston, these texts anticipate Xunzi in
      fascinating ways. (So I find nothing inconceivable about a tomb date in
      the 298-278 range.)


      At 02:27 PM 3/2/99 -0500, E. Bruce Brooks wrote:
      >Topic: Gwodyen
      >From: Bruce
      >Cc: EAAN, H-ASIA, CrossTalk, Synoptic-L, SJS
      >In Response To: Archaeology Mar/Apr 99 Issue
      >Original Date: 2 Mar 1999
      >Sequence: 1353
      >This is not actually about Gwodyen; it is rather about the perils of text
      >philology. Since some of the implications for text philology in general
      >have already been raised (minutes ago; Hi, Phil) by scholars from the New
      >Testament community, many of whose problems are parallel to those faced by
      >us in the Early China field, I am sharing this note with them as well as
      >with the usual Sinological suspects.
      >With Warring States texts, where as it were the Mycenaean type storehouse
      >archives are lost, and any memoria technica of the experts are lost, and we
      >have little more than advocational rather than documentary texts to work
      >from, and where so much of the archaeological record is mute, we must
      >either give up on the real world altogether or make our best inferences
      >about it from the selective and sometimes anachronistic material we have.
      >Inferences as such are always risky, one would prefer artifacts, but given
      >the known lack of more direct evidence, and the even more firmly known fact
      >that *something* was out there in real time, the refusal to make inferences
      >seems to me to be even more irresponsible than a willingness, with all due
      >caution and all available philological control, to make inferences. The
      >default conclusion from *not* inferring the real world from the texts is
      >that the WS texts floated on nothing whatever, and we may be sure that the
      >WS texts did *not* float on nothing whatsoever. There was a world.
      >As an example of how little gets reported in the final text record even in
      >modern times, and even where the preliminary materials are themselves
      >textual (an example which is meant to be emboldening for those engaged in
      >this iffy but unavoidable inferential process for the *ancient* world), I
      >give below the text of a document submitted to Archaeology magazine as
      >revised after discussion with its editors, which may be compared with the
      >document as it actually appeared on p10 of the March/April 99 issue. Square
      >brackets enclose material not appearing in the published version; Round
      >parentheses indicate material rewritten in the published version; asterisks
      >indicate material added in the published version. It will be noted that, as
      >we must so often suspect in the Analects and other texts of similar tastes
      >and propensities, it is often the hard data that get left out, and without
      >the hard data, it can be hard to tell what is going on.
      >What is going on in this case is a prediction made years in advance of an
      >archaeological discovery, and not a rationalization constructed months
      >after that discovery became available to scholarship.
      >-----------------ORIGINAL TEXT FOLLOWS
      >The Dartmouth conference on the Guodian Laozi ("Laozi Debate,"
      >November/December 1998, pp. 20-21) considered *** two hypotheses for the
      >differences between the (three sets of extracts found at that site) and the
      >later standard version of the (text): that (they) represent a random
      >selection from the complete text [written by "Laozi" in the sixth century
      >B.C.], or that (they comprise) "collections of sayings circulating in
      >fourth-century China" from which the text we know was later gathered.
      >Neither theory fits the facts.
      >If the selection (was) random, why does it neglect the latter portion of
      >the [81-chapter] Laozi, [which, since it focuses on government, would have
      >been of greatest interest to the tomb occupant, the tutor of a future King
      >of Chu]? [And] if the Guodian (florilegia represent) a less organized body
      >of aphorisms, why do all of them appear in the later standard Laozi?
      >(The implication is) that the Guodian (florilegia were) drawn from a Laozi
      >(which was shorter than the later standard version). Such a (result was
      >predicted) by (the) accretion theory of the [text which I announced in
      >1990, published in 1994, and embodied in my book The Original Analects
      >(Columbia University Press, 1998), months before the Guodian materials
      >became available for scholarly examination]. *** [If, as] Li Xuequin has
      >suggested, *** the (heir apparent) in question (was the one who) acceded in
      >262, (then his father's accession in 298 is the earliest possible date for
      >the tomb; the latest is the abandonment of the site as the Chu capital in
      >278; the midpoint is 288). (The accretion) theory (predicts) that a Laozi
      >(discovered in that year might draw from chapters 1-64, but nothing much
      >later). [The actual range of chapters represented is 2-65. The
      >archaeological evidence thus strikingly confirms the prediction of the
      >accretion theory, which in turn supports Li Xueqin's identification of the
      >future Chu ruler].
      >E Bruce Brooks
      >[Warring States Project]
      >University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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