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Intellectual Change in the Chunqiu Period: The Reliability of the Speeches in the Zuo Zhuan as Sources of Chunqiu Intellectual History*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 March 2015

Yuri Pines*
Dept. of East Asian Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 97875, Israel


Intellectual history of the Chunqiu period has not been at the focus of scholarly discussions due to the presumed absence of reliable sources for Chunqiu thought. This article argues that the speeches by Chunqiu statesmen recorded in the Zuo zhuan do reflect the Chunqiu intellectual milieu. First, the sources of the Zuo are discussed. Its author/compiler relied on abundant written materials prepared by the court scribes of Chunqiu states. These “scribal records” contained, among others, speeches by leading statesmen; the evidence suggests that slight embellishments notwithstanding, the records basically reflected the content of the original speech. The reliability of the Zuo zhuan is discussed next. The unequivocal intellectual change from the beginning to the end of the Zuo speeches, particularly the changing mode of use and the changing content of some basic terms of political and ethical discourse, rule out the possibility that the speeches have been invented or significantly edited by the author/compiler of the Zuo. This allows us to conclude that the Zuo is the reliable – and invaluable – repository of Chunqiu thought.

由于缺乏可靠的資料, 春秋時代思想史一直未能成爲學術界硏究的熱點。在本論文中, 作者試圖論證《左傳》所記載的言論反映了春秋時代的思想背景。首先, 作者討論了《左傳》原始資料的概貌與特色, 指出《左傳》的作者(或編纂者)曾以大量春秋時代各國史官所修錄的“史記”作爲依據。這種“史記”除收集了其它的資料以外, 還包括了各國政治家的言論。從現存的證據來看, 這些篇章中所記載的言論雖然不無修飾、潤色之嫌, 但基本上保存了原言論的主要內容。其次, 筆者對《左傳》的可靠性進行了討論, 指出《左傳》所記載的言論明確地反映了那個時代思想自始至終之演變過程, 尤其是某些基本政治、倫理等方面的語詞在使用方法及內容上的演變, 排除了這些言論是由編纂者憑空杜撰或曾對原文肆意增刪的可能性。因此, 本文得出以下結論, 即《左傳》一書是我們硏究春秋時代思想可靠而且珍貴的資料寶庫。

Copyright © Society for the Study of Early China 1997

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This article is a part of my dissertation on the “Intellectual Developments in the Chunqiu Era,” written under the guidance of Professor Irene Eber. I would like to thank her, as well as Professors Lothar von Falkenhausen, David N. Keightley, Andrew Plaks, Yitzhak Shihor, and Harold Z. Shiffrin for their insightful remarks on various versions of this article. I am also indebted to Professor Donald Harper and the Early China anonymous readers for their comments and criticism, and to Pamela Lubel and Chiray Koo for editing my English.


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9. For more on the oracle bones, see Keightley, David N., Sources of Shang History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), 1256Google Scholaret passim; and Keightley, , “Were the Shang Kings Literate? Who Read the Shang Texts and Why? Reflections on Early Chinese Literacy and Scribal Practice,” paper presented at the conference “Literacy in Ancient China,” University of California, Berkeley, 1997Google Scholar. For bronze inscriptions, see Falkenhausen, , “Issues in Western Zhou Studies,” 145–71Google Scholar.

10. For initial recording of the events on perishable materials, see Keightley, “Were the Shang Kings Literate”; and Falkenhausen, , “Issues in Western Zhou Studies,” 161–67Google Scholar.

11. Shi jing (shu, Shisanjing zhu ed. [Beijing: Zhonghua, 1991])Google Scholar, “Dang” 蕩, 18.554 (Mao 255).

12. See Shu jing (Shisanjing zhu shu ed.), “Duo shi,” 16.220; “Kanggao” 康誥, 14.202–5; “Jiu gao” 酒誥, 14.205–8; and “Da gao” 大誥, 13.197–200.

13. See Zuo, Zhuang 23, 226–27; Xi 7, 318–19; Xi 26, 439–40; Wen 18, 633–42; Xuan 3, 669–72; Ding 4, 1535–42.

14. Written documents for secular usage might have existed already in the Shang period. The “Duo shi” chapter of the Shu jing quotes the Duke of Zhou 周公 (d. c. 1030) saying to the defeated Shang officers: “You know that the earlier men of Yin (Shang) had documents and records of how Yin superseded the mandate of Xia “ (惟爾知, 惟殷先人有策有典, 殷革夏命); Shu jing 18.220. Keightley underlines: “This may have been Zhou propaganda, but to be effective, the reference to the documents and records could hardly have been without substance” (“Were the Shang Kings Literate,” 8).

15. Yi Zhou shu is a miscellany compiled in the mid-Zhanguo; it contains, however, several chapters of presumably earlier origins. The earliest is, perhaps, “Shi fu” 世俘, “an annalistic account of events surrounding the Zhou defeat of Shang and … the victory celebrations thereafter” (Shaughnessy, Edward L., “From Liturgy to Literature: The Ritual Contexts of the Earliest Poems in the Book of Poetry,” Hanxue yanjiu 漢學硏究 13 [1995], 134Google Scholar).

16. See Zuo, Xi 5, 308; Xi 26, 440; Xiang 11, 994; Ding 1, 1524; Ding 4, 1542 (see also Yang Bojun's gloss on p. 308).

17. Sima Qian argued that Zuo Qiuming 左丘明 compiled the Zuo from the “scribal records” (shiji) previously used by Confucius during the compilation of the Chun qiu (Shiji 史言己 [Beijing: Zhonghua, 1959], 14.506)Google Scholar. Elsewhere he mentions the shiji of various states, destroyed by Qin in 221 (Shiji, 15.686).

18. For Du Yu's comment and Kong Yingda's further explanation, see Chun qiu Zuo zhuan zhengyi 春秋左傳正義 (Shisanjing zhushu ed.), “Xu” 序, 1704. According to Iiyama Masao 鈑山正雄, ce are bamboo strips of two chi 尺 and four cun 寸 length, while jian are half of this length; see Iiyama, , “Shūdai ni okeru kan saku no keitai to sono shohō; ni tsuite, Nihon Chūgoku gakkaihō 35 (1983), 7093Google Scholar. Du, according to Kong Yingda's gloss, were square wooden tablets which contained more than one line of characters.

19. Aside from the Lu Chun qiu, similar annals might have existed in most if not all Chunqiu states. Mencius 孟子 (c. 372–304) mentions the Taowu 檮杌 of Chu 楚 and the Sheng 乘 of Jin 晉, identical to the Chun qiu of Lu; Mengzi (Bojun, Yang, Mengzi yizhu 孟子譯注 [Beijing: Zhonghua, 1992]), 8.21Google Scholar. The Sheng might have served as a source for the Zhushu jinian 竹書紀年一a revised version of the Zhou, Jin, and Wei 魏 annals, unearthed in 280 A.D. from the tomb of King Xiang of Wei 魏曲王 (r. 318–296 B.C.).

20. This common view is represented, for instance, by Pokora, Thimoteus, “Pre-Han Literature,” in Essays on the Sources for Chinese History, ed. Leslie, D. (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1973), 25Google Scholar; and Guangxian, Zhao 趙光賢, “Chun qiu yu Zuo zhuan” 春秋與左傳, in Zhongguo shixue mingzhu pingjia 中國史學名著評價, ed. Xiuliang, Cang 滄修良 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu, 1990) 2629Google Scholar.

21. Zuo, Huan 2, 91.

22. Liji (Xidan, Sun 孫希旦, Li ji jijie 禮記集解 [Beijing: Zhonghua, 1995]), “Zengzi wen” 曾子問, 524–25Google Scholar.

23. See the detailed study by Karapet'iants, A.M., “Chun' Tsiu i Drevnekitaiskii Istoriograficheskii Ritual”, in Etika i Ritual v Traditsionnom Kitae, ed. Vasil'ev, al. (Moscow: Nauka, 1988), 85154Google Scholar; cf. Vandermeersch, “L'imaginaire divinatoire.”

24. Falkenhausen, , “Issues in Western Zhou Studies,” 152Google Scholar.

25. Zwo, Yin 11, 78.

26. Zuo, Ai 1, 1607. On other occasions, however, the Chun qiu reported on the hostilities between the southern super-powers. See, for instance, Chun qiu, Ding 14, 1593.

27. Chun qiu, Wen IS, 629. Cf. a similarly “polished” report on the assassination of the heir-apparent Zi Ban 子般 in 661 (Chun qiu, Zhuang 32, 251).

28. Zuo, Wen 18, 633.

29. See, for instance, Zuo, Xi 17, 373; Wen 2, 522; Cheng 10, 851; Zhao 16, 375.

30. Chun qiu, Zhao 25, 1454. When other dignitaries went into exile, the Chun qiu reported on them as “fleeing” (ben 奔).

31. See, for instance, Zuo, Yin 1, 18; Huan 14, 138; Xi 2, 281; Wen 7, 562.

32. The importance of condemnation “on the ce strips” may be illustrated by the following story. In 612, the Song envoy Hua Ou 華稱 declined polite treatment by Duke Wen of Lu 魯文公 (r. 626–609), since Hua's ancestor Du 督 had participated a century earlier in assassination of his ruler and “was named in the ce strips of the overlords” (Zuo, Wen 15, 609). The last wish of the Wei 衛 dignitary Ning Huizi 甯惠子 on the eve of his death in 553 was to conceal his condemnation “on the ce strips of the overlords” (Zuo, Xiang 20, 1055; the condemnation referred to Huizi's role in expelling Duke Xian in 559).

33. This record appears in the Chun qiu, Xuan 2, 650.

34. Zuo, Xuan 2, 663.

35. Already in the Zhanguo period there existed three to five commentaries to the Chun qiu, some of which allegedly appeared immediately upon the publication of the Classic (see Gu, Ban 班固, Han shu 漢書 [Beijing: Zhonghua, 1962], 30.1715Google Scholar). Significantly, earlier “classics” written in ancient and less comprehensible language, like the Shi jing and the Shu jing, did not acquire systematic commentaries until early Han. This shows the difficulty facing those who were eager to properly understand the Chun qiu. The Han scholar Huan Tan 桓譚 (c. 20 B.C.–A.D. 56) exclaimed: “If the [Chun qiu] Classic lacked commentaries, this would cause the sage to close the door and think over it for ten years—and even then he will not understand it” (經而無傳使聖人閉門思之十年不能知也); quoted from Yizun, Zhu 朱彝尊, Jingyi kao 經義考(quanshu, Siku 四庫全書 ed. [Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 1991], vol. 679, 307)Google Scholar.

36. The primary sources of the Zuo have been discussed recently by Wang He 王禾卩, “Zuo zhuan cailiao laiyuan kao “左傳材料來源考, Lishixue 歷史學 7 (1993), 3948Google Scholar; and by Michimasa, Yoshimoto 吉本道雅, “Saden tangen josetsu” 左傳探源序說, Tōhōgaku 東方學 81 (1991), 1627Google Scholar. Both independently reached the conclusion that the Zuo must have relied on writings by Chunqiu scribes. Similar claims were made by traditional historians. See Kong Yingda in his commentaries on Du Yu's “Xu” (Chun qiu Zuo zhuan zhengyi, 1703–4); Fang, Zhao 趙、?方, Chun qiu shi shuo 春秋自币言兒 (quanshu, Siku ed., vol. 164, 260–61Google Scholar); and Yi, Zhao 趙翼, Gaiyu congkao 咳余叢考 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1963), 4143Google Scholar.

37. For the nature of ancient Chinese oral histories, see Hailong, Zeng 曾海龍 “Zhongguo gudai koutou shixue chuyi” 中國古代口頭史學芻議, Lishixue 7 (1993), 1720Google Scholar; and Xia, Qi 漆俠 “Zhongguo gudai shiji bianzuan xingshi tanyuan” 中國古代史記編纂形式探源, Zhongguoshi yanjiu 中國史硏究 2 (1993), 314Google Scholar.

38. Zuo, Yin 1, 17–18.

39. Zuo, Zhao 26, 1473–74.

40. These were assumed to be a backbone of the Zuo primary sources respectively by Ronald Egan, G., “Narratives in the Tso Chu an,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 37 (1977), 323–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Johnson, David, “Epic and History in Early China: The Matter of Wu Tzu-Hsu,” Journal of Asian Studies 40 (1981), 255–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Maspero, , China in Antiquity, 363Google Scholar.

41. See Karlgren, BernhardOn the Authenticity and Nature of the Tso Chuan,” Gōteborgs Hōgscholas Årsskrift 32 (1926), 165Google Scholar. Imposing grammatical unity on different sources was a common practice in later Chinese historiography. Sima Qian, for instance, edited the language of the Zuo and the Guo yu (Tadashi, Kamata 鎌田正 Saden no sekuritsu to sono tenkai (Tokyo: Taishūkan, 1962), 111–69Google Scholar.

42. Karlgren, , ‘On the Authenticity of the Tso,” 45Google Scholar.

43. These quotations account for roughly 15–25% of the occurrences of 于, more or less evenly distributed in the Zuo text; the narrator's remarks mostly use 於.

44. Egan, “Narratives in the Tso Chuan,” and Wang He, “Zuo zhuan cailiao,” among others convincingly showed that the Zuo contains numerous short narratives, which in all likelihood existed as independent units prior to its compilation.

45. These five writings are Chun qiu 春秋, Shi 世 (Genealogies), Yu 語 (Speeches), Gu zhi 古志 (Ancient documents), and Xundian 訓典 (Model statutes?); see Guoyu (Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 1990)Google Scholar, “Chu yu shang” 楚語上, 582–83. Wei Zhao 韋昭 (A.D. 204–273) explains the meaning of each writing, but I doubt that his explanations represent more than mere conjectures.

46. The Zuo often mentions various kinds of “documents” or “maxims” (zhi 志); the third century B.C. Lūshi chunqiu 呂氏舂秋 and Han Feizi 韓非子 frequently quote “[scribal] records” ([shi])ji 史言己); yet, the most common technical term for the historical literature of the Eastern Zhou period is undoubtedly Chun qiu. This term designated historical literature already in the Guo yu, and it is seen throughout Zhanguo and early Han sources; these sources also commonly refer to the Zuo as Chun qiu (see Zhen'ai, Lin 林貞愛, “Zuoshi Chunqiu kaobian” 左氏春秋考辨, Zhongguo gudaishi luncong 中國古代史論叢 3 [1981], 192206)Google Scholar. In some cases, however, it is difficult to judge whether the name Chun qiu refers to the Lu annals, to official annals in general, or to other kinds of historical literature (see, for instance, Shiji, 14.507).

47. The ghost stories that Mozi 墨子 (c. 468–390) had read in the Chun qiu of the various states are examples of such detailed narratives. See Mozi (Yujiang, Wu 吳敏江, Mozi jiaozhu 墨子校注 [Beijing: Zhonghua, 1993]), “Ming gui xia” 明鬼下, 337–39Google Scholar.

48. This tradition is perhaps referred to in the “Yu zao” 玉藻 chapter of the Li ji: “[When the king] acts, then the left scribe records it; [when he] speaks, then the right scribe records it” (Li ji, 778; cf. Han shu, 30.1715). According to Sima Qian's anecdote, when King Cheng 成王 jokingly “enfeoffed” Tang Shu 唐叔, Scribe Yi 史佚 told him: “The Son of Heaven does not joke in his words. When he speaks, then the scribe records [his speeches; they are] completed according to the ritual” (Shi ji, 39.1635); cf. a similar anecdote in Lüshi chunqiu 呂氏春秋 (Qiyou, Chen 陳奇獣, Lü shi chunqiu jiaoshi 呂氏春秋校釋 [Shanghai: Xuelin 1990]Google Scholar, “Zhong yan” 重言, 18.1156. The anecdote itself is hardly reliable, but it may reflect the original “scribal ritual” of the Zhou court.

49. Guo yu, “Lu yu shang” 魯語上, 170.

50. Zuo, Xiang 27, 1130. See also Yang Bojun's gloss.

51. Li ji 83; cf. Hao, Chen 陳濉, Li ji (Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 1987), 13Google Scholar. The sentence is rather enigmatic and commentators disagree whether the speeches under consideration refer to the interstate meetings or to a broader range of activities. From the context it may be assumed that the “Qu li” refers to recording speeches during military expeditions. Shi 士 perhaps refer to the underlings of the scribes. For the dating of the “Qu li,” see Michimasa, Yoshimoto, “Kyokureikō” 曲禮考, in Chūgoku kodai reiset kenkyū 中國古代禮制硏究, ed. Ichirō, Kominami 小南—郎 (Kyoto: Kyōto daigaku jinbun kagaku kenkyūjo, 1995), 117–63Google Scholar.

52. Mozi, “Fei gong shang” 非攻上, 198.

53. Shi ji, 75. 2354.

54. The twentieth year is the twentieth year of King Zheng 政 (the future Qin Shi Huangdi), corresponding to 227. Nanjun (the Southern Commandery) was established in 278 on the territory of the former Chu capital, in modern Hubei. For details of translation, see xiaozu, Shuihudi Qin mu zhujian zhengli, Shuihudi Qin mu zhujian 睡虎地秦墓竹簡 (Beijing: Wenwu, 1990), 1314Google Scholar.

55. More light will probably be shed on the recording of speeches by Chunqiu and Zhanguo scribes after publication of a newly excavated historical manuscript from the mid-Zhanguo grave at Shibancun 石板牛寸 in Hunan province. According to a preliminary report this manuscript contains 4371 bamboo slips and includes numerous speeches similar in style to the Guo yu and Zhanguo ce 單戈國策.See yanjiusuo, Hunan sheng wenwu kaogu and yanjiusuo, Cilixian wenwu baohu guanli, “Hunan Cilixian Shibancun Zhanguo mu” 湖南慈利縣石板村戰國墓, Kaogu xuebao 考古學報 1995.2, 199202Google Scholar.

56. Calendrical problems are responsible for this slip of the otherwise accurate author of the Zuo. The state of Jin used the Xia 夏 calendar, which lagged two months behind the Lu calendar used by both the Chun qiu and the Zuo. According to the Jin calendar, the meeting at Diquan occurred in the eleventh month of 510, the thirty-second year of Duke Zhao of Lu, whereas according to the Lu calendar the meeting took place in the first month of the next year (509, the first year of Duke Ding). The Chun qiu placed the Diquan meeting in the winter of 510, possibly dating the meeting according to the arrival of the Lu delegation; this may be the reason for the Zuo's slip. From the detailed account in the Zuo it is clear that the meeting occurred in the first month of 509 according to the Lu calendar. See the detailed discussion in Yuri Pines, “Intellectual Developments in the Chunqiu Era,” Appendix 3.

57. “The nobles of the overlords” refer to the ministers of the Central Plain states. In the late Chunqiu, powerless overlords no longer participated in the inter-state meetings.

58. “Rewarming the alliance” meant renewing the friendly ties between the allies without altering the oath of the previous alliance. Wei Shu “re war med” the 529 Pingqiu 平丘 alliance.

59. To seat facing the south was the prerogative of the ruler. Wei Shu usurped not only the position of the ruler of Jin, but also the position of the Son of Heaven, under whose aegis the meeting was conducted.

60. Shi jing, “Ban” 板, 17.550 (Mao 254).

61. Zuo, Zhao 32, 1518.

62. Zuo, Ding 1, 1522.

63. Perhaps, the Lu scribes used their account to retroactively “predict” the subsequent decline in the international prestige of Jin, which indeed “lost the overlords” four years later due to the arrogant behavior of its leaders. Wei Shu “did not escape”: he died shortly after the Diquan meeting and was posthumously stripped of some of his sumptuary privileges.

64. The comparison between two versions supports the observation of the Tang historian Liu Zhiji 劉矢口幾 (A.D. 661–721), who stated: “Then we know that when men of that (Zhou) age were speaking, scribes were recording these speeches; although [the records] have certain embellishments, they did not lose the basic content [of the speech]” (則知時人出言, 史官入記;雖有討論潤色, 終不失其梗概者也); see Shitong xin jiaozhu 史通新校注 (Chongqing: Chongqing, 1990), “Yanyu” 言語, 362Google Scholar.

65. The argument for “ideological editing” is made, for instance, by Vasil'ev, Kim V. in Plany Srazhaiushchikhsia Tsarstv (Moscow: Nauka, 1968), 8687Google Scholar.

66. The argument that the Guo yu partly resorted to the same written sources as the Zuo was asserted by several scholars, such as Jie, Liu 劉節, “Zuo zhuan, Guo yu, Shi ji zhi bijiao yanjiu” 左傳國語史記之比較研究, in Gushi kaocun 古史考存 (Beijing: Renmin, 1958), 320, 328Google Scholar; and Hart, James P., “The Philosophy of the Chou Yu” (Ph.D. diss., University of Washington, 1973), 237–53Google Scholar. Of particular interest is the isocolometrical analysis undertaken by Boltz, William G. in “Notes on the Textual Relationships between the Kuo Yü and the Tso Chuan,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 53 (1990), 491502CrossRefGoogle Scholar. However, to quote James Hart's comments on the speeches of the “Zhou yu “周語 section of the Guo Yu, “[they] show a striking uniformity in language and style. There is also a remarkable consistency in the ideas being presented.… This uniformity indicates that all of the speeches are probably in large part the work of the editor (or author) who put them in their final form”; see Hart, , “The Speech of Prince Chin: A Study of Early Chinese Cosmology,” in Explorations in Early Chinese Cosmology, ed. Rosemont, Henry Jr. (Chico: Scholars Press, 1984), 37Google Scholar. See also Gengsheng, Fu, 傅庚生, “Qianyan” 前言, in Guo yu xuan 國語選 (Beijing: Renmin wenxue, 1959), 3Google Scholar; and Taskin, V.S., “Go Yui kak Istoricheskii Pam'iatnik,” in Go Yui (Rechi Tsarstv) (Moscow: Nauka, 1987), 12Google Scholar.

67. See Tsuda, , Saden, 307–48Google Scholar; Eno, , The Confucian Creation of Heaven, 289–90Google Scholar; and Yu-sheng, Lin, “The Evolution of the Pre-Confucian Meaning of Jen and the Confucian Concept of Moral Autonomy,” Monumenta Serica 31 (19741975), 201–2Google Scholar. Some Japanese scholars argue that the Zuo bears the imprint of late Zhanguo Confucian thought. See Chohatsu, Itano 板野長八, “Saden no sakusei”, Shigaku kenkyū 史學研究 127 (06 1975), 1–28, and 128 (September 1975), 41–56Google Scholar; and Noriyuki, Kondō 近藤貝刂之, “Saden no seritsu ni kansuru shin shiten, Nihon Chūgoku gakkaihō 35 (1983), 99113Google Scholar.

68. See Tsuda, , Saden, 311–14Google Scholar; and Watson, Burton, tr., The Tso Chuan (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), “Introduction,” xxiGoogle Scholar.

69. This point is even more relevant in regard to the claims that the Zuo bears the imprint of Xunzi 荀子 (c. 304–238) and late Zhanguo Confucians, as argued by Itano, “Saden no sakusei,” and Kondō, “Saden no seritsu.”

70. King Wen's father, King Wu, was married to Deng Man 鄧曼, probably Duke Qi's sister.

71. I.e. you shall regret the lost opportunity.

72. Zuo, Zhuang 7, 169–70.

73. Zuo, Zhuang 23–25, 226–33.

74. See Zuo, Xiang 25, 1106; Xiang 29, 1160; Ai 1, 1605–6. See also, Zuo, Cheng 17, 902–3; Zhao 13, 1348; Ai 16, 1702.

75. For the ideology of the Zuo author, see Weizhong, Pu 浦偉忠, “Lun Zuo zhuan ‘junzi yue’ de sixiang” 論左傳君子曰的思想, Zhongguoshi yanjiu 中國史硏究 2 (1990), 6371Google Scholar.

76. Citing Lewis, Mark E., Sanctioned Violence in Ancient China (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990), 16Google Scholar.

77. Zhu Xi 朱熹 (A.D. 1130–1200) claimed: “The malady of the Zuo is that it discusses what is right and what is wrong from the point of view of success or failure … it knows only benefit and harm, and knows nothing of propriety and principle” (左氏之病是以成敗論是非…置知有利害, 不知有義理); see Zhuzi yulei 朱子語類 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1986), 93.2149–50Google Scholar. Liu Fenglu 劉逢祿 (1776~1829) similarly accused the Zuo of treating the Chun qiu from the historical point of view and consequently losing its “great meaning” (da yi 大義); see Zuoshi Chun qiu kaozheng” 左氏舂秋考證, in Guji kaobian congkan 古籍考辨叢干刂, ed. Jiegang, Gu (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1955), 599Google Scholar.

78. Watson, , The Tso Chuan, xxiGoogle Scholar.

79. One step in this direction was made by Kidder Smith. In his discussion on the changes in attitude towards divination in general, and towards the Zhouyi 周易 in particular, as reflected in the Zuo speeches. Smith states: “These developments … establish a pattern, no Warring States or Han forger could have built in the Zuo. They are therefore strong evidence that … the Zuo Zhuan records of the Yi are highly accurate and reliable” (Smith, , “Zhouyi Interpretations from Accounts in the Zuozhuan,” Harvard journal of Asiatic Studies 49 [1989], 448–49)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For a similarly stimulating discussion on the synchronic ideological differences between the Zuo protagonists, see Seiichi, Onozawa 小野決精一, “Shunjū goki kenjin setsuwa no shisō shi teki kosatsu josetsu, Chūtetsubun gakkaihō 中哲文學會報 1 (1974), 7095Google Scholar.

80. I distributed the text of the Zuo into equal, consecutive divisions to avoid a problem of unequal distribution of the narrative over the years. The distribution into equal periods of time brings similar results. See Rui, You 尤說 (Pines, Yuri), “Guanyu chongjian Chunqiu shidai sixiang shi: zai lun Zuo zhuan de kekaoxing” 關于重建春秋時代思想史:再論左傳的可靠性, paper presented at the “Zibo International Conference on the Chun qiu and Commentaries,” 09 1996Google Scholar.

81. The relative paucity of occurrences of xiao and ren may be detrimental to statistical validity, but their distinct distribution throughout: the narrative is nevertheless meaningful, particularly when provided in addition to Dao and de.

82. For the changing meaning and usage of ren, xiao, and de in the Zuo speeches, see Yuri Pines, “Intellectual Developments in the Chunqiu Era,” 353–84.

83. For the different theories on the origins of li, see Buke, Yan 閻步克, “Lizhi zhixu yu shidafu zhengzhi de yuanyuan” 禮治秩序與士大夫政治的淵源, Guoxue yanjiu 國學硏究 1 (Beijing, 1993), 296303Google Scholar; and Qun, Yang 楊群, “Cong kaogu faxian kan li he lizhi de qiyuan yu fazhan” 從考古發現看禮和禮治的起源與發展, Kongzi yanjiu 孔子研究 3 (1990), 311Google Scholar. Recent studies strongly suggest that the Western Zhou ritual system took shape in the late Western Zhou ritual reform. See Rawson, Jessica, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M Sackler Collections (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990), 93125Google Scholar; Shaughnessy, From Liturgy to Literature,” 160–64Google Scholar; Falkenhausen, , “Issues in Western Zhou Studies,” 205–7Google Scholar, and Falkenhausen's detailed discussion in The Western Zhou Ritual Reform and its Reflection in Bronze Art,” unpublished lecture manuscript presented at the University of Kansas, 10 17, 1996Google Scholar.

84. Shuo wen jie zi 說文解字 (zhu, Shuo wen jie zi 注 ed. [Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 1981]), lA.4bGoogle Scholar, defines li as follows: “Li 禮 is li 履, by it spirits are served to bring good fortune. It comes from ‘to expose’ (shi 示) and ‘vessel’ (feng 豐).” Indeed, on the oracle bones li 禮 appears as ceremonial vessel 豐; see Fuguan, Xu, Zhongguo renxinglun shi, 4143Google Scholar.

85. Both yi and weiyi referred to precise, orderly performance of the complicated ceremonies, where each participant should behave according to his rank and seniority in his lineage. See the discussion of the term weiyi in Kunwu, Jiang 姜昆武, “Xian Qin lizhi zhong de ‘weiyi’ shuo” 先秦禮制中的威儀說, Zhongguo gudaishi luncong 中國古代史論叢 3 (1981), 137–41Google Scholar.

86. In the Shi jing, for instance, li is mentioned only ten times, and in all but one case (Shi jing, “Shi yue zhi jiao” 十月之交 [Mao 193]) it refers to sacrificial rites. Yi 儀 and weiyi are mentioned thirty-five times, often as the most important obligation of the ruler and other dignitaries (see Shi jing, “Bin zhi chu yan” 賓之初筵 [Mao 220], “Min lao” 民勞 [Mao 253], “Ban” 板 [Mao 254], “Yi” 抑 [Mao 256], and especially “Jia le” 假樂 [Mao 249]). The Shu jing uses the term yi 葬 (originally meaning sacrificial vessel) instead of I i for the broad concept of ritual propriety; see Fuguan, Xu, Zhongguo renxinglun shi, 4347Google Scholar. “Li of the family and the state” is mentioned in the later part of the “Jin teng” chapter of the Shu jing (Shu jing, 13.197), but this part is of apparently later origin; see Shaughnessy, Edward L., “The Duke of Zhou's Retirement in the East and the Beginnings of Minister-Monarch Debate in Chinese Political Philosophy,” Early China 18 (1993), 6465CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The terms yi and weiyi prevail in bronze inscriptions, while li is never mentioned there. See, for instance, the mid-ninth century B.C. Guoshu Lii 虢叔旅 zhong and Shu Xiang Fuyu 叔向父禹 gui (Shizuka, Shirakawa, Kinbun tsūshaku 金文通釋 [Kobe: Hakustsuru Bijutsukan, 1962-84], vol. 26 [no. 155] and vol. 27 [no. 161])Google Scholar.

87. Shi jing, “Yi,” 18.554 (Mao 256).

88. See, for instance, Shi jing, “Huangyi” 皇矣, 16.522 (Mao 241). On the importance of the Western Zhou concept of imitating the ruler and the ancestors, see Vasil'ev, K.V, “Religiozno-Magicheskaia Interpretatsiia Vlasti Vana v Zapadnochzhouskikh epigraficheskikh tekstakh,” in Kitai: Obshchestvo I Gosudarstvo (Moscow: Nauka, 1973), 1011Google Scholar; and Savage, William D., “Archetypes, Model Emulation, and the Confucian Gentleman,” Early China 17 (1992), 125CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

89. The process of the erosion of centralized power in the Chunqiu period is first depicted in the Lunyu, 16.2; cf. Zhu Xi's analysis in Zhuzi yulei, 93.2148–49. The consequent “usurpation” of the superiors' ceremonial rights is vividly depicted in the Zuo, which records over eighty instances of non-ritual (fei li 非禮 or bu li 不禮) or “irreverent” (bu jing 不敬) behavior by the rulers and the highest dignitaries. Archaeological discoveries likewise indicate the increasing pace of usurping the superiors' sumptuary privileges, especially by the end of the Chunqiu period. See Haruki, Emura 江禾寸治樹, “Seidō reiki kara mita Shunjū jidai shakai hendō, Nagoya daigaku bungakubu kenkyū ronshū 名古屋大學文學部研究論集 34 (1988), 7982Google Scholar; and Lothar von Falkenhausen, “The Waning of the Bronze Age: Material Culture and Social Developments 770–481 BC,” in The Cambridge History of Ancient China (forthcoming).

90. Li ji, “Qu li shang” 曲禮上, 81–82.

91. Zuo, Yin 5, 41–44.

92. In translating wu 物 as “color” I follow Yang Bojun's gloss (p. 88).

93. I.e. ancestral temple.

94. Zuo, Huan 2, 86–89. In translating this speech I partly follow Legge, James, Chinese Classics, vol. 5, “The Ch'un Ts'ew with the Tso Chuen” (Hongkong: Hong Kong University Press, 1960), 40Google Scholar.

95. See Zuo, Yin 6, 51; Yin 9, 65; Yin 10, 70; Huan 2 90–91; Zhuang 10, 184; Zhuang 16, 202. In the later periods “uncourteous” (bu li 不禮)behavior was still sometimes used as the pretext for launching an assault, even if the real reason behind the invasion lay elsewhere (Zuo, Xi 28, 457; Xi 30, 478; Xi 33, 497).

96. In 661–659, Duke Huan restored the states of Wei 衛 and Xing 邢 which had been previously destroyed by the Di 狄 tribesmen; in 646, he restored the state of Qi 才己.He demonstrated his reverence to the Zhou king during the assault on Chu in 656, and during the Kuiqiu 葵丘 meeting in 651; similar reverence was demonstrated by Duke Huan's chief aide, Guan Zhong 管仲 in 648. In 653, Duke Huan accepted Guan Zhong's advice, and rejected the offer of heir-apparent Hua of Zheng 鄭大子華 to organize a coup against Hua's father and Duke Huan's adversary, Duke Wen 文公 (r. 672–628), since this would mean “violation of ritual.”

97. That the ritual prescribed preservation of the smaller states can be learned from Zuo, Xi 21, 392; and Xi 28, 474. On the pace of annihilation of these states in the Chunqiu period, see Zuo, Xiang 25, 1106; and Xiang 29, 1160. See also Cho-yun, Hsu, Ancient China in Transition, 5862Google Scholar.

98. See Michimasa, Yoshimoto, “Shunjū Shinpa kō” 春秋晉霸考, Shirin 史林 76 (1993), 392401Google Scholar. I use Yoshimoto's statistics, although I do not necessarily agree with his analysis.

99. The turmoil set off by the unsophisticated southerners in the international ceremonial system is vividly depicted at Zuo, Ai 8, 1640–41; Ai 12, 1672; Ai 13, 1672.

100. For the term “pan-liism 〃, see Hsiao, Harry H.I., “Filial Piety in Ancient China” (Ph.D. diss., University of British Columbia, 1978), 89Google Scholar.

101. “Inner families” refer to the collateral branches of the ruling lineage, and “outer families” to the other lineages. See Michiko, Abe 安倍道子, “Guanyu Chunqiu shidai de Chu wangquan” 關于春秋時代的楚王權, xin Chushi yanjiu zhuanji 楚史研究專輯, ed. yanjiuhui, Hubeisheng Chushi 湖北省楚史研究會 (Wuhan, 1983), 250Google Scholar. For more on the Chu administration, see Blakeley, Barry B., “King, Clan and Courtier in Ancient Chu,” Asia Major, third ser., 5.2 (1992), 140Google Scholar.

102. Zuo, Xuan 12, 724–25.

103. Zuo, Cheng 12, 858.

104. Zuo, Xiang 26, 1120–21.

105. According to Lewis's translation in Sanctioned Violence, 17, “in the sacrifices one takes the meat from the sacrifices in the ancestral temple, and in warfare [before setting out on campaign] one receives the meat from the sacrifices at the she altar.”

106. Zuo, Cheng 13, 860–61.

107. Beigong's prediction failed: shortly after Zi Chan's death, the domestic and international power of Zheng began rapidly declining, and the state suffered from incessant turmoil and foreign incursions until its final annihilation in 375.

108. The quoted passage is from Shi jing, “Sang rou” 桑柔, 18.559 (Mao 257).

109. Zuo, Xiang 31, 1191.

110. Shi jing, “Yi,” 18.554 (Mao 256).

111. Shi jing, “Bo zhou” 柏舟, 2.297 (Mao 45).

112. Shi jing, “Ji zui” 既醉, 17.536 (Mao 247).

113. The quoted document is lost.

114. Shi jing, “Huangyi,” 16.522 (Mao 241).

115. Zuo, Xiang 31, 1193–95 (I modify the translation by Schaberg, , “Foundations of Chinese Historiography,” 453–54Google Scholar).

116. The line cited from the “Huangyi” 皇矣 ode (“Without knowing, without understanding, comply with Di's pattern'') was particularly popular throughout the Eastern Zhou period as the quintessence of blind obedience to superiors. See, for instance, the quotations in Mozi, “Tian zhi xia” 天志下, 323; and Xunzi (Xianqian, Wang 王先謙, Xunzi jijie 苟子集解 [Beijing: Zhonghua, 1992]), “Xiu shen” 修身, 34Google Scholar.

117. See Zuo, Xiang 21, 1063; Zhao 2, 1229; Zhao 5, 1266–67; Zhao 11, 1327; Zhao 15, 1374.

118. In 541 Lu invaded the state of Ju 宫 and seized the town of Yun 鄆: this action violated Lu's obligations according to the 546 peace agreement.

119. Earlier in the same year three major aristocratic lineages—Jisun 季孫, Mengsun 孟孫, and Shusun 叔孫—distributed the entire state revenues among themselves, virtually nullifying the ruler's economic might.

120. Zuo, Zhao 5, 1266.

121. Zuo, Zhao 16, 1377.

122. I disagree with Du Yu's interpreting lan 濫 as “[do not] lose office”: it seems from the context of the speech that Yanzi worried that the shi ± will “overwhelm” the nobles (dafu 大夫). Note that Yanzi himself belonged to the hereditary aristocracy.

123. That is, officials do not usurp the power of their superiors, especially that of the duke.

124. Zuo, Zhao 26, 1480.

125. Note that if the Li ji is to be trusted, Yan Ying himself was not the staunch supporter of the ceremonial norms; hence he is criticized several times. See Li ji, “Tan gong xia” 壇公下, 267; and “Li qi” 禮器, 647.

126. Zhuzi yulei, 93.2171.

127. I omit from the discussion another important speech that deals with the ritual, namely that of Zi Taishu 子大叔(Zuo, Zhao 25, 1457–59), since it is an obvious later interpolation. The reasons for my decision are detailed in Appendix 2.

128. See, for instance, Lunyu, 4.12 and 4.16; and Mengzi, 1.1 and 12.4.

129. See Mozi, “Jian ai” 兼愛, 158–81;; Shang jun shu 商君書 (Jue, Zhang 張覺, Shang jun shu quanyi 商君書全言睪 [Guiyang: Guizhou renmin, 1993]), 7.4, 102Google Scholar

130. The quotation is taken from Weihe, Huang 黃偉合, “Cong Xi Zhou dao chunqiu yi li sixiang de fazhan guiji” 從西周到春秋義利思想的發展軌跡, Xueshu yuekan 學月刊 1 (1990), 20Google Scholar (I have not located it in Zhu Xi's writings). Some scholars, such as Guojie, Luo 羅國杰, “Guanyu Kongzi yi li guan de yidian sikao” 關于孔子義利觀的一點思考, Zhongguo zhexueshi 中國哲學史 8 (1994), 4951Google Scholar, and especially Zhaozi, Jin 金兆梓, “Yi li bian” 義利辨, in Tunchang yexuelei gao 范廠冶學類稿 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1949), 4866Google Scholar, argue that the Confucian attitude towards benefit-seeking was less negative than depicted by Zhu Xi. I would suggest that in this case Zhu Xi's understanding of the Confucian heritage was correct.

131. Zhuzi yulei, 93. 2149.

132. Weizhong, Pu, “Lun junzi yue,” 63Google Scholar.

133. For a brief discussion of the changing attitude towards li in the Western Zhou and Chunqiu age, see Weihe, HuangCong Xi Zhou dao Chunqiu yi li sixiang,” 2325Google Scholar.

134. In the “Da tian” 大田 ode of the Shi jing (Shi jing, 14.477 [Mao 212]), farmers are urged to benefit the widows, while in the “Sang rou” 桑柔 ode (Shi jing, 18.560 [Mao 257]), the Zhou King Li 厲王 is condemned for hurting the people (爲民不利). In the “Pan geng” 盤庚 chapter of the Shu jing (Shu jing, 9.170), the Shang king Pan Geng claims that former rulers “considered the people's profit when moving [the capital]” (視民利用遷).The “Pan geng” chapter, though attributed to Shang times, was perhaps compiled in the Western Zhou. Li is mentioned once more in the “Jin teng” chapter (Shu jing, 13.197), when Guan Shu 管叔 accuses the Duke of Zhou of intending to hurt (不利) young King Cheng.

135. Zuo, Huan 6, 111.

136. Zuo, Xi 9, 328.

137. Zuo’ Xi 22, 398.

138. Zuo, Xi 27, 445.

139. Zuo, Xi 28, 467.

140. Zuo, Xuan 15, 760.

141. Zuo, Cheng 16, 880–81.

142. Zuo, Wen 13, 597–98.

143. On the inter-connections between land and power in the Chunqiu period, see Thatcher, Melvin P., “Central Governments of the State of Ch'in in the Spring and Autumn Period,” Journal of Orientai Studies 23.1 (1985), 45Google Scholar; Fenghan, Zhu 朱鳳氣 Shang Zhoujiazu xingtai yanjiu 商周家族形態硏究 (Tianjin: Guji, 1990), 492593Google Scholar; and Hang, Qian 錢杭׳ Zhoudai zongfa zhidu yanjiu 周代宗法制度研究 (Shanghai: Xuelin, 1991), 124–28Google Scholar.

144. Zuo, Xiang 22, 1068.

145. Zuo, Xiang 28, 1150.

146. Zuo, Zhao 10, 1317.

147. See Zuo, Zhao 3, 1238. Curiously, the first documented attribution of li to merchants' profit-seeking occurred in the highly commercialized state of Qi.

148. Zuo, Zhao 20, 1410.

149. Zuo, Zhao 27, 1486.

150. Zuo, Ding 4, 1547. Lu Jin refused to make use of his previous assistance to the defeated King Zhao of Chu in order to achieve the king's favors.

151. Zuo, Ai 15, 1693.

152. Zuo, Ai 16, 1702.

153. See Zuo, Ai 16, 1703; Ai 25, 1726; Ai 26, 1730.

154. Several other aspects of Chunqiu intellectual developments are discussed in Pines, “Intellectual Developments in the Chunqiu Era.” For more on Chunqiu history, see Hsu, Ancient China in Transition.

155. This is not to say that every one of the Zuo speeches is based on authentic Chunqiu sources. Some might have been invented or significantly edited by the early author/compiler, while others were definitely added by the later transmitters. More scrutiny is required to identify the spurious speeches. For initial efforts in this direction, see Appendix 2.

156. Falkenhausen, Issues in Western Zhou Studies,” 171Google Scholar.

157. The use of archaic linguistic constructions in texts in order to give the appearance of an early origin may be identified in other instances, such as the spurious chapters of the Shu jing.

158. I used primarily the analyses of Nianyi, Hu 胡念貝台, “Zuo zhuan de zhenwei he xiezuo shidai kaobian” 左傳的眞僞和寫作時代考辦, Wenshi 文史 11 (1981), [17–28Google Scholar; Guangxian, Zhao 趙光賢, “Zuo zhuan bianzhuan kao” 左傳編撰考, Zhongguo lishi wenxian yanjiu jikan 中國歷史文獻硏究集刊, pt. 2.2 (1982), 5456Google Scholar; He, WangZuo zhuan yuyan” and “Zuo zhuan cailiao,” 4547Google Scholar; and especially Handong, Zhang 張漢東, “Zuo zhuan ji qi xiang Chunqiuxue de yanbian” 左傳及其舂秋學的演變, Zhongguoshi yanjiu 中國史研究 4 (1988), 158–60Google Scholar.

159. Shi jing, “Huangyi,” 16.520 (Mao 241). I translate the poem in accord with Cheng Zhuan's interpretations which sometimes differ from the extant glosses. See the detailed discussion in Schaberg, , “Foundations of Chinese Historiography,” 458–59Google Scholar.

160. I modify translation by Schaberg, in “Foundations of Chinese Historiography,” 458–59Google Scholar.

161. See, for instance, Zuo, Ding 1, 1522–23.

162. Shiji, 39.1684.

163. See Xi, Zhu, Sishu zhangju jizhu 四書章句集注 (Shanghai: Shanghai shudian, 1987), 12Google Scholar.

164. The passage from the lost Bielu regarding this chain is quoted by Kong Yingda at Chun qiu Zuo zhuan zhengyi, “Xu,” 1.1703: “Zuo Qiuming made a commentary [the Zuo] and passed it to Zeng Shen 曾申 (a son of Confucius's disciple Zeng Can 曾參), Shen passed it to Wu Qi 吳起 of Wei 衛, Qi 起 passed it to his son Qi 期, Qi 期 passed it to Duo Jiao 鐸椒 of Chu (a tutor of King Wei of Chu 威王 [r. 339–329]), Jiao passed it to Yu Qing 虞卽 of Zhao 趙 (a chancellor of King Xiaocheng 孝成王 (r. 265–245]), Qing passed it to Xun Qing 荀卿, named Kuang 況 from the same commandery (i.e. Xunzi 荀子, d. c. 238), Kuang passed it to Zhang Cang 張蒼 of Wuwei 武威 (a Han prime minister, d. 152), Cang passed it to Jia Yi 賈誼 (199–166) of Luoyang 洛陽.”

165. Zi Xia was widely noted for his mastery of the Chun qiu and historical writings in general, as attested in Lüshi chunqiu, “Chafu” 察傅, 22.1527; Han Feizi (Jue, Zhang 張覺, Han Feizi quanyi 韓非子全言睪 [Guiyang: Guizhou renmin, 1990])Google Scholar, “Waichu shuo you shang” 外儲說右上, 34.705; and Chunqiu fanlu 春秋繁露 (Yu, Su 蘇輿, Chunqiu fanlu yizheng 春秋繁露義證 [Beijing: Zhonghua, 1992])Google Scholar, “Yu xu” 俞序, 17.160.

166. See Zuo, Min 1, 259–60; and Zhao 28, 1497.

167. Wu Qi apparently succeeded in convincing Duke Wen that history was useful to the duke's purposes. Ban Gu mentions: “Of the rulers of the six states, Duke Wen of Wei was the most fond of antiquity” (Han shu, 30.712). For more on Wu Qi's career, see Shiji chapter 65.

168. The royal house was in a deep crisis due to the 520 rebellion of Prince Chao 王子朝. Zhao Jianzi intended to dispatch overlords' garrisons to guard the royal capital against Chao's supporters.

169. Yang Bojun suggests that the quotation from Zi Chan ends here. Many other scholars, however, regard the entire discussion of li, continuing to the end of Zi Taishu's response, as the words of Zi Chan; I cautiously support the latter option.

170. “Two things” presumably refer to yin and yang.

171. I partly follow Schaberg's translation (“Foundations of Chinese Historiography,” 643).

172. Song, the descendant of the Shang dynasty, enjoyed a special status as the “guest” rather than “vassal” of the Zhou royal house.

173. The northern alliance had been officially established at Jiantu in 632.

174. Itano, “Saden no sakusei,” and especially Kondō, “Saden no seritsu, 〃 relied on the content of Zi Taishu's speech as the major argument in favor of dating the Zuo to the late Zhanguo or early Han. Their arguments, as we see, did not take into consideration the easy explanation that Zi Taishu's speech does not belong to the original text of the Zuo.

175. The tripartite formula “Heaven- Earth- Man” originated in all likelihood in military writings of the early to middle Zhanguo; by the late Zhanguo it was adopted for general political and philosophical discussions. See Lequn, Jiang 將樂群, “Tian, di, ren xinlun” 天地人新論, Zhejiang xuekan 浙江學刊 1 (1996), 4244Google Scholar.

176. The term chengren appears once in the Lunyu in a passage that apparently belongs to the later layer of this work (Lunyu, 14.12).

177. These are discussed in Handong, Zhang, “Zuo zhuan ji qi xiang Chunqiuxue de yanbian,” 158–60Google Scholar; for further details on spurious speeches, see Pines, , “Intellectual Developments in the Chunqiu Era,” Appendix 4, 426–39Google Scholar.