This article explores the dating of the Book of Lord Shang (Shangjunshu 商君書). Despite the importance of this text as one of major ideological products of the Warring States period (453–221 B.C.E.), it remained largely ignored in mainstream Western Sinology, in part because of the confusion about the dates of its composition. The article analyzes different criteria employed by earlier scholars to ascertain the dates of individual chapters of the Book of Lord Shang and investigates the relative weight of each of these criteria. This results in a methodologically transparent discussion, which not only advances our understanding of the complex textual history of the Book of Lord Shang but also makes a step toward establishment of a commonly acceptable set of dating determinants which may be employed in investigating the dates of other pre-imperial (i.e. pre-221 B.C.E.) texts.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant No. /) and by the Michael William Lipson Chair in Chinese Studies. I am deeply indebted to Carine Defoort, Paul R. Goldin, Martin Kern, and Early China reviewers for their insightful comments on early versions of this article. Needless to say, all possible mistakes and misinterpretations are my sole responsibility. . For a sample of controversies, see Zhang Xincheng 張新澂, Weishu tongkao 偽書 通考 (Changsha: Shangwu, ); Gu Jiegang 顧頡剛, ed. Guji kaobian congkan 古籍考辨 叢刊, Vol. (; rpt. Beijing: Shehui kexue wenxian, ); Zheng Liangshu 鄭良樹, Xu weishu tongkao 續偽書通考 (Taibei: Xuesheng, ).
© The Society for the Study of Early China and Cambridge University Press 2016.
- Book of Lord Shang
- Shang Yang
- Warring States