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:
>Cc: EAAN, H-ASIA, CrossTalk, Synoptic-L, SJS
>In Response To: Archaeology Mar/Apr 99 Issue
>Original Date: 2 Mar 1999
>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