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Da Dai Liji 大戴禮記

Jul 24, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Da Dai Liji 大戴禮記 "Records of ritual matters by Dai the Elder" is a collection of ritual observations written during the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE). It was compiled at the same time when the book Liji 禮記 "Records of rites" took shape that later became one of the Five Confucian Classics (wujing 五經).

Although the title of the Da Dai Liji only speaks of ritual matters it also contains records of royal genealogical trees and astronomical issues. Dai De 戴德, the compiler, selected 85 out of 131 chapters of ancient texts on ritual matters and assembled them to a book he called Liji. Because his nephew Dai Sheng 戴聖 also compiled a book on rituals with the same title the names of the two authors were added, in order to discern the two texts: "Dai the Elder" (Da Dai 大戴) and "Dai the Younger" (Xiao Dai 小戴). At the end of the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220 CE) Zheng Xuan 鄭玄 (127 – 200) wrote a commentary on the Xiao Dai Liji 小戴禮記 and made it one of the Five Classics. The book of his uncle, Da Dai Liji, therefore was overshadowed and has only rarely received the attention of scholars since.

The first scholar writing a commentary on the Da Da Liji was Lu Bian 盧辯, who lived during the Northern Zhou period 北周 (557-581). During the Tang period 唐 (618-907) already 46 chapters of the book were lost. The calendrical treatise Xia xiaozheng 夏小正 was transmitted separately, so that the received Da Dai Liji only consists of 18 chapters. During the Song period 宋 (960-1279), when the first printed edition of the Da Dai Liji was published, the Xia xiaozheng was re-incorporated, as well as the chapter Mingtang 明堂 "The Bright Hall" that was extracted from the chapter Shengde 盛德. This print included 40 chapters, arranged in 13 juan. Of Lu Bian’s commentary only 8 juan survived.

The Da Dai Liji chapters Aigong wen 哀公問 and Touhu 投壺 are identical to those in the (Xiao Dai) Liji. The chapters Licha 禮察, Zengzi daxiao 曾子大孝 and Benming 本命 are dispersed in the Liji chapters Jingjie 經解, Jiyi 祭義 and Sangfu sizhi 喪服四制. The Da Dai Liji includes five chapters actually belonging to the field of ritual matters as found in the Classic Yili 儀禮, namely Zhuhou qianmiao 諸侯遷廟, Zhuhou xinmiao 諸侯釁廟, Chaoshi 朝事, Touhu and Gongfu 公符. It includes three and a half chapters from the Confucian master Xunzi 荀子, namely Aigong wen, Quanxue 勸學, Li sanben 禮三本, and a part of the chapter Youzuo 宥坐 that is to be found at the end of the chapter Quanxue in the Da Dai Liji.

The chapters Qiancheng 千乘, Sidai 四代, Yu Dai de 虞戴德, Gao zhi 誥志, Xiaobian 小辨, Yongbing 用兵 and Shaoxian 少閒 are believed to be the seven chapters of the ancient book Kongzi sanchao ji 孔子三朝記. This assumption was formulated by Wang Yinglin 王應麟 (Song) and supported by Wang Pinzhen 王聘珍 and Kong Guangsen 孔廣森 (both Qing), while Wang Chang 王昶 (Qing) was of the opinion that it corresponded to the chapters Aigong wen wu yi 哀公問五義, Aigong wen yu Kongzi 哀公問於孔子, Xiaobian, Yongbing and Shaoxian. Ten paragraphs are identical to some in the book Zengzi 曾子.

The chapter Baofu 保傅 is a combination of four chapters in Jia Yi's 賈誼 Xinshu 新書. The chapter Gongfu included a proclamation text for the capping of Emperor Zhao 漢昭帝 (r. 87-74 BCE) of the Han dynasty called Han Xiao Zhaodi guan ci 漢孝昭帝冠辭.

These critical comparisons permit us to know that the Da Dai Liji included texts dating from the Warring States 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE) as well as from the Former Han period.

The negligence the Da Dai Liji suffered through the ages caused many errors in the transmission so that during the Qing period Confucian scholars like Dai Zhen 戴震, Lu Wenchao 盧文弨 or Wang Zhong 汪中 invested a lot of research in order to rectify the text. The most important commentary from this period is Wang Pinzhen's Da Dai Liji jiegu 大戴禮記解詁.

Table 1. Surviving Chapters of the Da Dai Liji
Translations according to Grynpas (1967).
1.-38. (lost)
39. 主言 Zhuyan Royal speeches
40. 哀公問五義 Aigong wen wuyi Duke Ai asked about the five classes of humans
41. 哀公問於孔子 Aigong wen yu Kongzi Duke Ai asked Confucius
42. 禮三本 Lisanben The three roots of the Rituals
43.-46. (lost)
46. 禮察 Licha Examination of the rituals
47. 夏小正 Xia xiaozheng The small calendar of the Xia
48. 保傅 Baofu Preceptors and Masters
49. 曾子立事 Zengzi lishi Zengzi about the correct serving [one's superiors]
50. 曾子本孝 Zengzi benxiao Zengzi on the origin of filial piety
51. 曾子立孝 Zengzi lixiao Zengzi on founding the filial piety
52. 曾子大孝 Zengzi daxiao Zengzi on the great filial piety
53. 曾子事父母 Zengzi shi fumu Zengzi on serving one's parents
54.-56. 曾子制言 Zengzhi zhiyan Zengzi about behaviour I-III
57. 曾子疾病 Zengzi jibing Zengzi was sick
58. 曾子天圓 Zengzi tianyuan Zengzi about the roundness of Heaven
59. 武王踐阼 Wuwang jianzuo The throne accession of King Wu
60. 衛將軍文子 Wei jiangjun Wenzi Wenzi, general-chief of Wei
62. 五帝德 Wudi de The virtue of the Five Emperors
63. 禘繋 Dixi The genealogy of the emperors
64. 勸學 Quanxue Exhortation to study
65. 子張問入官 Zizhang wen ru gong Zizhang asked [Confucius] about being charged with an office
66. 盛德 Shengde Flourishing virtue
67. 明堂 Mingtang The Bright Hall
68. 千乘 Qiancheng [A kingdom of] a thousand chariots
69. 四代 Sidai The four dynasties
70. 虞戴德 Yu dai de The glory of the power of Yu (Emperor Shun 舜)
71. 誥志 Gaozhi Decrees and annals
72. 文王官人 Wenwang guanren The officials of King Wen
73. 諸侯遷廟 Zhuhou qianmiao Dedication to the ancestral temple of the feudal lords
成廟衅之以羊 (諸侯釁廟) Chengmiaoxin zhi yi yang (Zhuhou xinmiao) Dedication to the ancestral temple by offering a goat
74. 小辨 Xiaoban A small discourse
75. 用兵 Yongbing The use of military
76. 少閒 Shaoxian A bit of leisure
77. 朝事 Chaoshi Court affairs
78. 投壺 Touhu The pitch-pot game
79. 公符 Gongfu Ducal emblems of enfeoffment
80. 本命 Benming Life or destiny
81. 易本命 Yi benming The change is at the origin of life

The Da Dai Liji can be found in the collectanea Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編, Han-Wei congshu 漢魏叢書, Sibu congkan 四部叢刊, Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Wuyingdian juzhenban shu 武英殿聚珍版書 and Yayutang cangshu 雅雨堂藏書.

Liu Qiyu (1992). "Da Dai Liji 大戴禮記", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 133-134.

Grynpas, Benedykt (1967). Un legs confucéen: fragments du Ta Tai Li Ki (Kortrijk: Groeninghe).
Grynpas, Benedykt (1972). Les écrits de Tai l'ancien et le petit calendrier des Hia: textes confucéens taoisants (Paris: Librairie d'Amérique et d'Orient).

Further reading:
Gan Liangyong 甘良勇 (2012). "Nansong Han Yuanji ke Da Dai Liji fei Suishu jingji zhi suo zhulu ben kao 南宋韩元吉刻《大戴礼记》非《隋书·经籍志》所著录本考", Kongzi yanjiu 孔子研究, 2012/3.
Huang Huaixin 黄怀信 (2005). "Guanyu Da Dai Liji yuanliu de ji ge wenti 关于《大戴礼记》源流的几个问题", Qi-Lu xuekan 齐鲁学刊, 2005/1.
Huang Huaixin 黄怀信 (2005). "Da Dai Liji chuanben yuanliu kao 《大戴礼记》传本源流考", Zhongguo dianji yu wenhua 中国典籍与文化, 2005/1.
Yi Ding 一丁 (1998). "Xiao Dai Liji fei you Da Dai Liji xuanbian er cheng 《小戴礼记》非由《大戴礼记》选编而成", Yantai shifan xueyuan xuebao (Zhexue shehui kexue ban) 烟台师范学院学报(哲学社会科学版), 1998/2.