The Emergence of China presents the classical period in its own terms. It contains more than 500 translated excerpts from the classical texts, linked by a running commentary which traces the evolution and interaction of the different schools of thought. These are shown in dialogue about issues from tax policy to the length of the mourning period for a parent. Some texts labor to establish the legal and political structures of the new state, while others passionately oppose its war orientation, or amusingly ridicule those who supported it. Here are the arguments of the Hundred Schools of classical thought, for the first time restored to life and vividly presented. There are six topical chapters, each treating a major subject in chronological order, framed by a preliminary background chapter and a concluding survey of the eventual Empire. Each chapter includes several brief Methodological Moments, as samples of the philological method on which the work is based. Occasional footnotes point to historical parallels in Greece, Rome, the Ancient Near East, and the mediaeval-to-modern transition in Europe, which at many points the Chinese classical period resembles. At the back of the book are a guide to alternate Chinese romanizations, a list of passages translated, and a subject index. A preliminary version of The Emergence of China was classroom-tested, and the suggestions of teachers and students were incorporated into the final version. The results of those classroom trials, in both history and philosophy classes, were favorable. This is the only account of early Chinese thought which presents it against the background of the momentous changes taking place in the early Chinese state, and the only account of the early Chinese state which follows its development, by correctly dated documents, from its beginnings in the palace states of Spring and Autumn to the economically sophisticated bureaucracies of late Warring States times. In this larger context, the insights of the philosophers remain, but their failure to influence events is also noted. The fun of the Jwangdz is transmitted, but along with its underlying pain. The achievements of the Chinese Imperial formation process are duly registered, but so is their human cost. Special attention is given to the contribution of non-Chinese peoples to the eventual Chinese civilization.
About the Author
E. BRUCE BROOKS is research professor of Chinese and A. TAEKO BROOKS is research associate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Antiquity 2. The Economy 3. The State 4. War and Peace 5. The Civilian Elite 6. The People 7. Transcendence 8. The Empire
What People are Saying About This
The picture the Brookses have built up, piece by piece, over the years deeply alters our understanding of the classical texts, of the nature of the dialogue among thinkers, and of the actual history of early China.
Through a systematic effort, we get a general chronology including all the major texts, and this effort has shown a degree of interconnectedness that few would have anticipated.
The work of Bruce and Taeko Brooks is unique.... They have brought to the field the proven methodology of Classical philology and applied it to long unsolved problems concerning the date and structure of the Chinese classical texts... the result has been a revolution in the understanding of these texts, and in their proper use as sources for history.
“I like the matter-of-fact tone of the book. It is amazing how much there is, and yet the book is easily approachable.
I will definitely use it in my course. It solves a problem I have had from the beginning: to give context for the philosophical texts.... A stylistically economical, accessible, gripping, and substantive book.
“Wonderfully rich and informative, lucidly outlined, tightly written, packed with fascinating excerpts, and simply a joy to read. I wish someone would do this for early Greek history, including the focus on methodology and mythography.”
Every one of the publications planned in this series will make a major contribution in establishing a new paradigm for our understanding of the key philosophical, political, and historical texts...how these texts spoke to each other, and how they evolved in dynamic dialogue with each other.
“One bit I enjoyed in the Antiquity chapter was the irrefutable and murderously efficient demonstration that the idea that there was some sort of military or economic restructuring under Chí Hwán-g ng (as in the Gw n Jùng legends) is a historically worthless fantasy.”