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Chinese Literature
Shenjian 申鑒 "Reaching out for a Mirror"

The Shenjian 申鋻 "Reaching out [into history] for a mirror" is a political tractate written by the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220 CE) historian Xun Yue 荀悦. It was written during the reign of Emperor Xian 漢獻帝 (r. 189-220), when the mighty warlord Cao Cao 曹操 controlled the government. The Shenjian was intended to serve as a kind of handbook for a ruler how to avoid such circumstances. It is 5 juan "scrolls" long. The first chapter describes the fundaments of each government, chapter 2 describes exemplarily concrete politics. In chapter 3 Xun Yue criticized the prevalent magic and sorcery of his time which led to a state of overseeing reality. In the last two, "miscellaneous" chapters the ways of self-cultivation are described, as well as the nature of man.
There is a commentary to the Shenjian by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Huang Shengceng 黄省曾. The Shenjian was printed in 1525 by Master Huang from the Wenshi Studio 黄氏文始堂. The reprint series Sibu congkan 四部叢刊 reproduces this print.
There is an English translation by Ch'i-Yün Ch'en (1980), Hsün Yüeh and the Mind of Late Han China, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Source: Chen Jinsheng 陳金生 (1987). "Shenjian 申鋻", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhexue 哲學, p. 772. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.

1. 政體 Zhengti Essence of Government
2. 時事 Shishi Current Affairs
3. 俗嫌 Sujian Common Superstitions
4.-5. 雜言 Zayan Miscellaneous Dialogues 1-2
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

November 15, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail