Early Chinese History: Are the Chinese Classics Forged? (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Society for promoting Christian knowledge, 1906 - China - 300 pages
1 Review

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Copied from The Imperial and asiatic quarterly review and oriental and colonial record, April 1907, page 391: http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA391&dq=Early+Chinese+History:+Are+The+Chinese+Classics+Forged%3F&id=2R4YAAAAYAAJ#v=onepage&q=Early%20Chinese%20History%3A%20Are%20The%20Chinese%20Classics%20Forged%3F&f=false
Early Chinese History: Are the Chinese Classics forged? By Herbert J. Allen, F.r.g.s. If anyone wishes to know all that the Chinese themselves have to say about the destruction of the classics and their gradual recovery, almost all the necessary information is to be found in Professor Chavannes' Mdmoires Historiques (introduction), five volumes of which have already been noticed in the Asiatic Quarterly Review. Moreover, Professor Chavannes deals critically with the authors of the Mtmoires themselves ; with the unearthing of buried documents ; the questions of writing, paper, printing, etc.; the rival calendars and their discrepancies in dates, and so on. The Chinese themselves are absolutely the sole authorities touching their own early history and records ; but the Western public is so profoundly ignorant of Chinese antiquity that any eccentricities may be confident of a hearing, or at least of a publisher. One instance of Mr. Allen's methods will suffice: he thinks that the well-known work of Mencius, which is commonly eponymously called " Mencius " (Meng- tsz), was probably forged (three centuries after his supposed existence) by Sz-ma Ts'ien (100 B.c.), joint author with his father of the Mtfmoires Historiques ; and that Sz-ma Ts'ien, who is stated by himself to have travelled over a great part of China, and who was (in Mr. Allen's opinion) a Buddhist (150 years before Buddhism was officially heard of in China), may have fraudulently manufactured the personal name " Meng-tsz " out of the place-name " Meng- tsz," now (after 2,000 years) a modern treaty-port near the French frontier in Tonquin ! Now, apart from the fact that the vowels in the two distinct words Mdng are etymo- logically different, and are only the same in a few dialects even now ; apart from the fact that the initials in the two words tsz are also essentially different, and are even now different in different dialects ; apart, also, from the fact that the region in Yiin Nan province where Meng-tsz is never was really settled by Chinese colonists at all before Kublai Khan's time, about A.d. 1260; that it was ultra- barbarian and ruled by Siamese Kings ; and that the syllable Meng really represents the Shan word muong (" country" or " region "), still applied to all place-names thereabouts, it is certain that Sz-ma Ts'ien never visited that remote region at all. Mr. Kingsmill has suggested a Sanskrit origin for the Confucian classic of the Odes ; Mr. Herbert Giles has expressed his opinion that the Taoist work of Lao-tsz is a forgery (and forged 200 years after we are told by the dynastic historians a dozen times over that the Chinese Empress actually had a copy in her hands). Mr. Herbert Allen now goes one step further, and expresses the opinion that Sz-ma Ts'ien practically forged nearly the whole classical literature of China! If so, whence did he acquire the literary art at all? It is like saying that Newton invented the Ptolemaic system in order to have the glory of disproving it. Mr. Allen's book is, to crown all, dreadfully unreadable ; it is, in short, impossible from beginning to end, with scarcely an orthodox line in it.
E. H. Parker.

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 244 - Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?" The Master said, "Is not RECIPROCITY such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.
Page 211 - The great mountain must crumble ; The strong beam must break ; The wise man must wither away like a plant.
Page 181 - YOUNG GENTLEMAN Don't come in, sir, please! Don't break my willow-trees ! Not that that would very much grieve me ; But alack-a-day! what would my parents say? And love you as I may, I cannot bear to think what that would be.
Page 216 - He said that this was the rule. When we had returned and completed the burial, I said to him, ' In the progress of a bier there should be no returning. When there is an eclipse of the sun, we do not know whether it will pass away quickly or not ; would it not have been better to go on ? ' Lao Tan said, 'When the prince of a state is going to the court of the Son of Heaven, he travels while he can see the sun. At sundown he halts and presents his offerings (to the spirit of the way). When a great...
Page 211 - Chau is to perform it at the top of the western steps, treating the dead as if he were a guest. I am a man of Yin, and last night I dreamt that I was sitting with offerings before me between the two pillars. No intelligent monarch arises; there is not one in the kingdom that will make me his master. My time has come to die.
Page 201 - The numbers belonging to heaven are five, and those belonging to earth are (also) five. The numbers of these two series correspond to each other (in their fixed positions), and each one has another that may be considered its mate. The heavenly numbers amount to 25, and the earthly to 30. The numbers...
Page 248 - Lu asked about serving the spirits of the dead. The Master said, 'While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve their spirits?' Chi Lu added, 'I venture to ask about death?' He was answered, 'While you do not know life, how can you know about death?
Page 240 - And we shall not be far wrong, if we determine its date as about the end of the fourth, or the beginning of the fifth century before Christ. 3. In the critical work on the Four Books, called ' Record of Remarks in the village of Yung1,' it is observed, ' The Analects, in my opinion, were made by the disciples, just like this record of remarks.
Page 211 - He then hastened into the house. The Master said, '3hze, what makes you so late ? Under the sovereigns of Hsia, the body was dressed and coffined at the top of the steps on the east, so that it was where the deceased used to go up (as master of the house). The people of Yin performed the same ceremony between the two pillars, so that the steps for the host were on one side of the corpse, and those for 1 The original of this supplement has dropt out of the text.
Page 298 - Had he, therefore, had an opportunity of exercising authority, it could but have resulted in good to an age when the notions of right and wrong were strangely confused, and when both public and private morality were at the lowest ebb. On the other hand, it is difficult to understand the secret of the extraordinary influence he has gained over posterity, and the more the problem is studied the more incomprehensible does it become,' when viewed from a European standpoint.

Bibliographic information