Arranged chronologically, this anthology is divided into four parts, beginning at the dawn of literate Chinese civilization with the Oracle-Bone inscriptions of the late Shang dynasty (1571–1045 B.C.E.) and continuing through the end of the Ming dynasty (C.E. 1644). Each chapter has an introduction that provides useful historical context and offers interpretive strategies for understanding the readings.
The first part, The Chinese Tradition in Antiquity, considers the early development of Chinese civilization and includes selections from Confucius's Analects, the texts of Mencius and Laozi, as well as other key texts from the Confucian, Daoist, and Legalist schools. Part 2, The Making of a Classical Culture, focuses on Han China with readings from the Classic of Changes (I Jing), the Classic of Filiality, major Han syntheses, and the great historians of the Han dynasty. The development of Buddhism, from the earliest translations from Sanskrit to the central texts of the Chan school (which became Zen in Japan), is the subject of the third section of the book. Titled Later Daoism and Mahayana Buddhism in China, this part also covers the teachings of Wang Bi, Daoist religion, and texts of the major schools of Buddhist doctrine and practice. The final part, The Confucian Revival and Neo-Confucianism, details the revival of Confucian thought in the Tang, Song, and Ming periods, with historical documents that link philosophical thought to political, social, and educational developments in late imperial China.
With annotations, a detailed chronology, glossary, and a new introduction by the editors, Sources of Chinese Tradition will continue to be a standard resource, guidebook, and introduction to Chinese civilization well into the twenty-first century.
Wm. Theodore de Bary (1919–2017) was John Mitchell Mason Professor Emeritus and provost emeritus of Columbia University. His many books include Waiting for the Dawn, Message of the Mind, and Learning for One’s Self, as well as Sources of Japanese Tradition and Sources of Korean Tradition, all published by Columbia University Press.
Irene Bloom (1939–2010) was Wm. Theodore and Fanny de Bary and Class of 1941 Associate Professor of Asian Humanities at Columbia University and Anne Whitney Olin Professor Emerita in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College. She edited and translated Knowledge Painfully Acquired: The K’un-chih chi of Lo Ch’in-shun and coedited, with Joshua A. Fogel, Meeting of Minds: Intellectual and Religious Interaction in East Asian Traditions of Thought.
Titre original : Sources of Chinese Tradition, From Earliest Times to 1600 (1960)
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