An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Xinshu 新書

Nov 15, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Xinshu 新書 "New writings" is a political treatise written during the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE) by the politician and writer Jia Yi 賈誼 (200-168 BCE). It is also called Jiazi 賈子 "Master Jia", or Jia Yi Xinshu 賈誼新書. The book is 58-chapters long and arranged in 10 juan. Two chapters are lost (Wenxiao 問孝 and Lirongyu A 禮容語上)

Although some ancient scholars doubted the authenticity of Jia Yi's authorship it is now assumed that he has in fact authored the book, at least a great part of the treatises. The book is based on the observation of the reasons why the Qin dynasty 秦 (221-206 BCE) failed and what the rulers of the Han might do to enjoy a longer rule. The core point is that the people is seen as the foundation of the empire and should accordingly be treated benevolently. But at the same time Jia Yi stresses that the central government has to be strengthened and the local power holders (zhuhou wang 諸侯王 "princes and nobles") have to be weakened. The peasantry had to be supported, as they constituted the root of all state revenue and delivered corvée for public work, while merchants had to be suppressed as a "useless" group of persons.

The most widespread edition of the Xinshu is included in the series Sibu congkan 四部叢刊. The text is also found in the series Baoyutang congshu 抱語堂叢書, Longxi jingshe congshu 龍溪精舍叢書 and Zhuzi jicheng 諸子集成.

Table 1. Contents of the Xinshu 新書
1. 過秦上下 Guoqin A-B
2. 宗首 Zongshou
3. 數寧 Shuning
4. 藩傷 Fanshang
5. 藩彊 Fanqiang
6. 大都 Liudu
7. 等齊 Dengqi
8. 服疑 Fuyi
9. 益壤 Yirang
10. 權重 Quanzhong
11. 五美 Wumei
12. 制不定 Zhibuding
13. 審微 Shenwei
14. 階級 Jieji
15. 俗激 Sujiao
16. 時變 Shibian
17. 瑰瑋 Guihui
18. 孽產子 Niechanzi
19. 銅布 Tongbu
20. 壹通 Yitong
21. 屬遠 Shuyuan
22. 親疏危亂 Qinshu weiluan
23. 憂民 Youmin
24. 解縣 Jiexian
25. 威不信 Weibuxin
26. 匈奴 Xiongnu
27. 勢卑 Shibei
28. 淮難 Huainan
29. 無蓄 Wuchu
30. 鑄錢 Zhuqian
31. 傅職 Fuzhi
32. 保傅 Baofu
33. 連語 Lianyu
34. 輔佐 Fuzuo
35. 問孝 Wenxiao
36. Li
37. 容經 Rongjing
38. 春秋 Chunqiu
39. 先醒 Xianxing
40. 耳痺 Erbi
41. 諭誠 Yucheng
42. 退讓 Tuirang
43. 君道 Jundao
44. 官人 Guanren
45. 勸學 Quanxue
46. 道術 Daoshu
47. 六術 Liushu
48. 道德說 Daodeshuo
49. 大政上下 Dazheng A-B
50. 脩政語上下 Youzhengyu A-B
51. 禮容語上下 Lirongyu A-B
52. 胎教 Taijiao
53. 立後義 Lihouyi
Ge Rongjin 葛榮晉 (1987). "Xinshu 新書", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhexue 哲學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1023-1024.
Nylan, Michael (1993). "Hsin shu", in Michael Loewe, ed. Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide (Berkeley: Society for the Study of Early China/Institute of East Asian Studies), 161-170.