Buried Ideas by Sarah Allan
Legends of Abdication and Ideal Government in Early Chinese Bamboo-Slip Manuscripts (SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture (Hardcover))

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Four Warring States texts discovered during recent decades challenge longstanding understandings of Chinese intellectual history.
The discovery of previously unknown philosophical texts from the Axial Age is revolutionizing our understanding of Chinese intellectual history. Buried Ideas presents and discusses four texts found on brush-written slips of bamboo and their seemingly unprecedented political philosophy. Written in the regional script of Chu during the Warring States period (475-221 BCE), all of the works discuss Yao's abdication to Shun and are related to but differ significantly from the core texts of the classical period, such as the Mencius and Zhuangzi. Notably, these works evince an unusually meritocratic stance, and two even advocate abdication over hereditary succession as a political ideal. Sarah Allan includes full English translations and her own modern-character editions of the four works examined: Tang Yú zhi dao, Zi Gao, Rongchengshi, and Bao xun. In addition, she provides an introduction to Chu-script bamboo-slip manuscripts and the complex issues inherent in deciphering them.

About Sarah Allan

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Sarah Allan is Burlington Northern Foundation Professor of Asian Studies in honor of Richard M. Bressler at Dartmouth College. She is the author of The Way of Water and Sprouts of Virtue and The Shape of the Turtle: Myth, Art, and Cosmos in Early China, both also published by SUNY Press.
Published October 21, 2015 by SUNY Press. 386 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Travel, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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The New York Review of Books

(More works probably were lost to imperial editing projects that recopied the bamboo texts onto newer technologies like silk and, later, paper in a newly standardized form of Chinese writing.) But the fact is that for over two millennia all our knowledge of China’s great philosophical schools was...

Apr 21 2016 | Read Full Review of Buried Ideas: Legends of Abdi...