An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

He Boshi beilun 何博士備論

Jan 15, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

He Boshi beilun 何博士備論 "Complete discussions by Erudite He" is a critical biography of generals and military leaders in Chinese history. It was written during the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) by the military academician He Qufei 何去非 (fl. 1082), courtesy name Zhengtong 正通. Of the original 28 chapters, two are missing.

The Beilun is an account of 22 military leaders from the Warring States 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE) to the Five Dynasties period 五代 (907-960). It investigates reasons for their success and failure in battle, and seeks to draw general conclusions. The author does not generally advocate war as something good, but it had to be waged according to the circumstances, and whether the actor would be able to profit from it. The right wisdom was therefore more important for the person of a general than bravery. A military leader had to obtain correct information about the enemy, to balance war of attack against war of defence, and had to know when to apply what tactics on the battlefield. This knowledge had not necessarily to come from the commander himself, but he had to rely on able advisors in his staff, similar to a ruler who made use of worthy ministers. The relationship between a ruler and his general was also of great importance for both the survival of the state and victory on the battlefield.

The oldest surviving version is a manuscript of the Xueyan Studio 穴研齋 from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644). It is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Pucheng yishu 浦城遺書 and Zhihai 指海.

Feng Dongli 馮東禮 (1989). "He Boshi beilun 何博士備論", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Junshi 軍事 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 349.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1620.
Huang Shuihua 黃水華 (1997). "He Boshi beilun 何博士備論", in Men Kui 門巋, Zhang Yanjin 張燕瑾, eds. Zhonghua guocui da cidian 中華國粹大辭典 (Xianggang: Guoji wenhua chuban gongsi), 150.
Wang Junying 王軍營 (2011). "He Boshi beilun tese yu juxian lunxi 《何博士備論》特色與局限論析", Junshi lishi yanjiu 軍事歷史研究, 2011 (3): 180-184.
Yang Qingwang 楊慶旺, Ha Hua 哈鏵, eds. (1987). Zhongguo junshi zhishi cidian 中國軍事知識辭典 (Beijing: Huaxia chubanshe), 443.
Yu Zhi 宇之 (1993). “Du He Boshi beilun Chu-Han lun 讀《何博士備論·楚漢論》", Lishi jiaoxue (Xiabanyue kan) 歷史教學(下半月刊), 1993 (5): 37.