Works of Xunzi: Two Juan


Xunzi is a collection of writing attributed to the famous Chinese philosopher and materialistic thinker Xun Kuang, also called Xunzi (circa 313‒circa 238 BC), who lived toward the end of the Warring States period. The pieces reflect Xunzi’s philosophical thoughts on ethics, politics, and economics. Sima Qian in his work Shi ji (Records of the grand historian) considered Xunzi and Mencius as the two great masters of Confucianism. Liu Xiang (circa 77‒circa 6 BC) of Western Han was the first person to collect and edit Xunzi’s works, a compilation of 32 pieces entitled Sun Qing xin shu (New works of Sun Qing). Sun Qing was an honorific name of Xunzi. Works of Xunzi issued during the time between the Han and Sui dynasties all followed the format of this 32-work collection. During the Tang dynasty Yang Jing annotated and rearranged Xunzi’s works, based on a 12-juan edition entitled Sun Qing zi (Master Sun Qing), and issued the work in 20 juan, giving it the title of Xunzi. That edition became the earliest annotated Xunzi, and it continues in circulation to this day. During the Xining and Yuanfeng eras (1068‒85) of Song, it was revised and reprinted by the Imperial Academy. In the eighth year (1181) of the Chunxi reign of Southern Song, Tang Zhongyou, prefect of Taizhou, had the Imperial Academy edition reprinted at the Taizhou Prefectural Treasury; the reprint was known as the Taizhou edition. In the same year, another edition was issued in Jiangxi, by Qian Dian, the Jiangxi fiscal commissioner. In addition to the Imperial Academy edition, he also used several other editions to prepare the earliest collated edition, called the edition of Qian Dian. Presented here are parts of the reprint of an edition issued during the Southern Song reign of Emperor Ningzong (ruled 1195‒1224), in which the taboo words of the names of Zhao Dun (Emperor Guangzong) and Zhao Kuo (Emperor Ningzong) were avoided. Its format and layout adhere to those of the Imperial Academy edition. It is, in fact, a variation of that edition. This presentation includes the preface, table of contents, and juan 1‒2.

Last updated: April 14, 2017