An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Ruxue jingwu 儒學警悟

Feb 7, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Ruxue jingwu 儒學警悟 "Quick awareness of Confucian learning" is a series of collectanea (congshu 叢書) compiled by the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) scholars Yu Dingsun 俞鼎孫 and Yu Dingjing 俞鼎經. It includes six books with a total length of 41 juan.

The brothers Yu hailed from Jian'an 建安 (modern Jian'ou 建甌, Fujian). About their lives, not much is known except that Yu Dingsun was an official in the National University (taixue 太學) and Yu Dingjing erudite (boshi 博士) in the Superior College (shangshe 上舍).

The six books included in the series have the common feature that they include unofficial histories and anecdotes of the Song period that are very helpful for the study of this period of time. Wang Yingchen's 汪應辰 (1118-1176) book Shilin yanyu bian 石林燕語辨, for instance, is a commentary on Ye Mengde's 葉夢得 (1077-1148) Shilin yanyu 石林燕語. It has only survived as part of the Ruxue jingwu. Cheng Dachang's 程大昌 (1123-1195) Yanfanlu 演繁露 imitates the structure of Dong Zhongshu's 董仲舒 (179-104 BCE) Chunqiu fanlu 春秋繁露 from the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE). The shape in which it is included in the Ruxue jingwu is different than in other publications, like Ma Yu's 馬裕 private copy and that in the imperial collectanea Siku quanshu 四庫全書. The Nenzhenzi 嬾真子錄 is a different version of that which was later in circulation. This is also valid for the books Kaogubian 考古編 and the Yingxue congshuo 螢雪叢說. The commonly known Menshi xinhua 捫蝨新話 is 15-juan long, while the present version has a length of only 8 juan, which results from several abbreviations.

Today, the scholarly value of the Ruxue jingwu lays mainly in the preservation of the Shilin yanyu bian.

The series is accompanied by a postface (ba 跋) written by Yu Cheng 俞成 (jinshi degree 1745), in which it is said that the book was published in 1201, somewhat earlier than the Baichuan xuehai 百川學海 that is often called the oldest Chinese congshu series.

The oldest manuscript from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) was found in Shanxi and was commented by Miao Quansun 繆荃孫 (1844-1919) and Fu Zengxiang 傅增湘 (1872-1949). The oldest print was produced by Tao Xiang 陶湘 (1871-1940) from Wujin 武進, Jiangsu.

儒學警悟 Ruxue jingwu
(Song) 俞鼎孫 Yu Dingsun, 俞鼎經 Yu Dingjing (comp.)
書名, length in juan Title Author(s)
石林燕語辨 十卷 Shilin yanyu bian (Song) 汪應辰 Wang Yingchen
演繁露 (演繁錄) 六卷 Yanfanlu (Song) 程大昌 Cheng Dachang
嬾真子錄 五卷 Lanzhenzi lu (Song) 馬永卿 Ma Yongqing
考古編 十卷 Kaogubian (Song) 程大昌 Cheng Dachang
捫蝨新話 上集四卷,下集四卷 Menshi xinhua (Song) 陳善 Chen Shan
螢雪叢說 二卷 Yingxue congshuo (Song) 俞成 Yu Cheng
Source: Shanghai tushuguan 1982: Vol 1, 1.
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. 2, 2066.
Shanghai tushuguan 上海圖書館, ed. (1982). Zhongguo congshu zonglu 中國叢書綜錄 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe), Vol 1, 1.