Sources of Chinese Tradition: Volume 1: From Earliest Times to 1600 / Edition 2

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A collection of seminal primary readings on the social, intellectual, and religious traditions of China, Sources of Chinese Tradition, Volume 1 has been widely used and praised for almost forty years as an authoritative resource for scholars and students and as a thorough and engaging introduction for general readers. Here at last is a completely revised and expanded edition of this classic sourcebook, compiled by noted China scholars Wm. Theodore de Bary and Irene Bloom. Updated to reflect recent scholarly developments, with extensive material on popular thought and religion, social roles, and women´s education, this edition features new translations of more than half the works from the first edition, as well as many new selections.Arranged chronologically, this anthology is divided into four parts, beginning at the dawn of literate Chinese civilization with the Oracle-Bone inscriptions of the late Shang dynasty (1571­1045 B.C.E.) and continuing through the end of the Ming dynasty (C.E. 1644). Each chapter has an introduction that provides useful historical context and offers interpretive strategies for understanding the readings. The first part, The Chinese Tradition in Antiquity, considers the early development of Chinese civilization and includes selections from Confucius´s Analects, the texts of Mencius and Laozi, as well as other key texts from the Confucian, Daoist, and Legalist schools. Part 2, The Making of a Classical Culture, focuses on Han China with readings from the Classic of Changes (I Jing), the Classic of Filiality, major Han syntheses, and the great historians of the Han dynasty. The development of Buddhism, from the earliest translations from Sanskrit to the central texts of the Chan school (which became Zen in Japan), is the subject of the third section of the book. Titled Later Daoism and Mahayana Buddhism in China, this part also covers the teachings of Wang Bi, Daoist religion, and texts of the major schools of Buddhist doctrine and practice. The final part, The Confucian Revival and Neo-Confucianism, details the revival of Confucian thought in the Tang, Song, and Ming periods, with historical documents that link philosophical thought to political, social, and educational developments in late imperial China. With annotations, a detailed chronology, glossary, and a new introduction by the editors, Sources of Chinese Tradition will continue to be a standard resource, guidebook, and introduction to Chinese civilization well into the twenty-first century.
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Editorial Reviews

Yingshih Yu
The selections are excellent, translations faithful and elegant, and introductions terse and to the point. If I were asked to recommend only one book for anyone who wishes to know something about Chinese culture, I would name, without a moment of hesitation, this new edition of Sources of Chinese Tradition.
Second edition of an anthology of primary sources on Chinese history features new translations of more than half the works which appeared in the first (1960) edition, and adds new selections as well. Texts are arranged chronologically, with this volume spanning from the earliest literate Chinese societies through the 17th century Ming dynasty. The book, and each individual chapter, features an introduction by the editors contextualizing the material. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231109383
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 7/20/1999
  • Series: Introduction to Asian Civilizations Series
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 944
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 2.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Wm. Theodore de Bary is John Mitchell Mason Professor Emeritus and provost emeritus of Columbia University, where he currently holds the title of Special Service Professor. He is the author of many books, including Waiting for the Dawn, Message of the Mind, and Learning for One's Self, and the editor of Sources of Japanese Tradition and Sources of Korean Tradition, as well as (with Tu Weiming) Confucianism and Human Rights, all published by Columbia.Irene Bloom is Wm. Theodore and Fanny de Bary and Class of 1941 Associate Professor of Asian Humanities at Columbia University, associate professor and chair of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College, and program director of the Columbia University Committee on Asia and the Middle East. She is the editor and translator of Knowledge Painfully Acquired: The K'un-chih chi of Lo Ch'in-shun and editor, with Joshua A. Fogel, of Meeting of Minds, both published by Columbia.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

The Chinese Tradition in Antiquity
1. The Oracle-Bone Inscriptions of the Late Shang Dynasty; David N. Keightley
2. Classical Sources of Chinese Tradition; Burton Watson, David S. Nivison, Irene Bloom
3. Confucius and the Analects; Irene Bloom
4. Mozi: Utilitarianism, Uniformity, and Universal Love; Burton Watson
5. The Way of Laozi and Zhuangzi
6. The Evolution of the Confucian Tradition in Antiquity
7. Legalists and Militarists
8. The Han Reaction to Qin Despotism
9. Daoist Syncretisms of the Late Zhou, Qin, and Early Han
10. The Imperial Order and Han Syntheses
11. The Economic Order; Burton Watson, Wm. Theodore deBary
12. The Great Han Historians; Burton Watson
Later Taoism and Mahyana Buddhism in China
13. Learning of the Mysterious; Richard John Lynn, Wing-tsit Chan, Irene Bloom
14. Daoist Religion; Franciscus Verellen, Nathan Sivin, et al.
15. The Introduction of Buddhism
16. Schools of Buddhism
17. Schools of Buddhism
The Confucian Revival and Neo-Confucianism
18. Social Life and Political Culture in the Tang
19. The Confucian Revival in the Song
20. Neo-Confucianism: The Philosophy of Human Nature and the Way of the Sage
21. Zhu Xi's Neo-Confucian Program; Wm. Theodore deBary
22. Ideological Foundations of Late Imperial China
23. Neo-Confucian Education
24. Continuity and Crisis in the Ming
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 29, 2012

    A museum of philosophy

    This collection of excerpts from the greatest Chinese writing is like a museum for philosophy through the centuries. The editor's excellent introductions are like statements of museum curators. And the full tour delivers a far more powerful encounter with Chinese history than any museum of artifacts. It gives direct experience of the breadth, style, and intensity of thought as it evolved age by age.

    These writings are selected on the basis of their historical importance more than their entertainment value, and some enormously influential pieces from the past seem overly abstract or pedantic to modern Western tastes. Also, this collection of "sources" is almost entirely philosophical. The collection highlights serious philosophy, leaving aside popular myth, folklore, poetry, drama, or fictional literature, which are also sources of tradition.

    --author of A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2003

    Essential Reading

    I'll make this short...For anyone interested in Chinese history, literature, or culture, this volume is an absolutely essential collection of primary sources, and includes prefaces and explanations by China scholars. There is no one better than de Bary, and this new edition includes everything from the 1960 edition up through the Jiang Zemin era.

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