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Jingxue wushu 經學五書

Sep 13, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Jingxue wushu 經學五書 "Five books of studies on the Classics", also called Wanshi jingxue wushu 萬氏經學五書 or Wan Chongzong xiansheng jingxue wushu 萬充宗先生經學五書五種, is a collection of interpretations of several Confucian Classics compiled by the early Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Wan Sida 萬斯大 (1637-1683), who was an expert in the Classic Chunqiu 春秋 and the three ritual classics (sanli 三禮: Zhouli 周禮, Liji 禮記 and Yili 儀禮).

Wan's main concept for the study of the Confucian Classics was that one had basically to understand the meaning of the whole corpus before undergoing the detailed study of one book, and that the successful scholar would "interpret one Classic by another Classic" (yi jing shi jing 以經釋經). As a disciple of Huang Zongxi 黄宗羲 (1610-1695) he was inclined to the interpretation of Confucian writings in the sense of Wang Su 王肅 (195-256) and Zhao Kuang 趙匡 (late 8th cent.), and refused the methods of the orthodox master Zheng Xuan 鄭玄 from the very late Eastern Han period 東漢 (25-220 CE).

The 19-juan long collection includes the texts Xue Li zhiyi 學禮質疑, Liji oujian 禮記偶箋, Yili shang 儀禮商, Zhouguan bianfei 周官辨非 and Xue Chunqiu suibi 學春秋隨筆, the first four being interpretations of the ritual Classics, and the last a text on the "Spring and Autumn Annals".

Wan Sida did not focus on one particular time for his interpretation but provided an overarching picture with a lot of corrections of older authors, and some new ideas. The book was printed by Wan Sida's son Wan Jingceng 萬經曾, but all surviving copies were unfortunately destroyed by a fire in 1740, and his grand-son Wan Fuxi 萬福攜 therefore arranged a new print in the Bianzhi Hall 辨志堂 in 1758.

In 1977 the Guangwen Shuju Press 廣文書局 in Taibei published it as part of the collection Guoxue zhenji huibian 國學珍籍彙編.

Sources:
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 849.
Sheng Guangzhi 盛廣智 (1996). "Jingxue wushu 經學五書", in Feng Kezheng 馮克正, Fu Qingsheng 傅慶升, ed. Zhuzi baijia da cidian 諸子百家大辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), 296.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 577.