Classic of documents

Classic of History

The Classic of History is a compilation of documentary records related to events in ancient history of China. It is also commonly known as the Shàngshū (literally: Esteemed Documents), or simply Shū (colloquially: Documents). The title is translated in western texts variously as "Classic of History", "Classic of Documents", "Book of History", "Book of Documents".


The book consists of 58 chapters (including eight subsections), of which 33 are generally considered authentic works of the 6th century BC. The first five chapters of the book purport to preserve the sayings and recall the deeds of such illustrious emperors as Yao and Shun, who reigned during legendary age; the next 4 are devoted to the Xia Dynasty, the historicity of which has not been definitively established; the next 17 chapters deal with the Shang Dynasty and its collapse. The blame for this is placed on the last Shang ruler, who is described as oppressive, murderous, extravagant, and lustful. The final 32 chapters cover the Zhou Dynasty until the reign of Duke Mu of Qin. It contains examples of early Chinese prose, and is generally considered one of the Five Classics. The Shujing is possibly the earliest narrative of China, and may predate the Historiai of Herodotus as a history by a century. Many citations of the Shangshu can be found in the bamboo slips texts from the tombs of Guodian, in Hubei, dated to the 300 BC.

Transmitting of texts

In the transmission of the book, there are three main variations: the New Text version, the Old Text version, and the forged Old Text version.

  • The first, transmitted by Fu Sheng after the fall of the Qin Dynasty, was a New Text version in 33 chapters (originally 29 or 28, but some chapters have been divided by Du Lin during the 1st century), which had lost more than 72 chapters of the original.
  • The second version was an Old Text version found by Prince Liu Yu and transmitted by Kong Anguo during the last half of the 2nd century BC, which added some 16 new chapters and were part of the Old Text Classics later championed by the scholar Liu Xin during the beginning of 1st century, the chapters were lost during the later times.
  • The third, was a forged version of the Old Text with 26 chapters (including one preface), which had been allegedly rediscovered by the scholar Mei Ze during the 4th century, and presented to the imperial court of the Eastern Jin. His version consists of 59 chapters which stemmed from both 33 extended chapters (originally Fu Sheng's 29 chapters, if including The Great Speech) and the final 26 chapters added. By then most of the versions of Old Text had been lost since then.

Since the Song Dynasty, starting from Zhu Xi, many doubts had been expressed concerning the provenance of the existing Old Text chapters of the book, but it was not until Yan Ruoju's research and the definitive conclusions he drew in his unpublished but widely distributed manuscript entitled Evidential analysis of the Old Text Documents that the question was considered settled by the 17th century.



































## Chinese Translation
New Text version; "forged" Old Text version
01 (01) 虞書 堯典
 Document of Yu [Shun]
 The Canon of Yao
02 (02)
 The Canon of Shun
(originally a section under Yao)
03 (01) 
 The Counsels of Great Yu
04 (03)
 The Counsels of Gaotao
05 (04)
 Yi and Ji
(originally a section under Gaotao)
06 (05) 夏書
 Document of Xia [Dynasty]
 The Tribute of [Great] Yu
07 (06)
 The Speech at [the Battle of] Gan
08 (02)
 The Songs of the [King Taikang's] Five Brothers
09 (03)
 The Punitive Expedition [on King Zhongkang] of Yin
10 (07) 商書
 Document of Shang [Dynasty]
 The Speech of [King] Tang
11 (04)
 The Announcement of Zhonghui
12 (05)
 The Announcement of [King] Tang
13 (06)
 The Instructions of Yi [Yin]
14 (07-09)
 King Taijia Part 1, 2 & 3
15 (10)
 The Common Possession of Pure Virtue
16 (08-10)
 King Pangeng Part 1, 2 & 3
17 (11-13)
 The Charge to Yue [of Fuxian]  Part 1, 2 & 3
18 (11)
 The Day of the Supplementary Sacrifice of King Gaozong [Wuding]
19 (12) 西戡黎
 The Chief of the West [King Wen]'s Conquest of [the State of] Li
20 (13) 微子
 Prince Weizi
21 (14-16) 周書 泰誓上中下
 Document of Zhou [Dynasty]
  The Great Speech Part 1, 2 & 3
22 (14) 牧誓
 The Speech at [the Battle of] Muye
23 (17) 武成
 The Successful Completion of the War [on Shang]
24 (15) 洪範
 The Great Plan [of Jizi]
25 (18) 旅獒
 The Hounds of [the Western Tribesmen] Lu
26 (16) 金滕
 The Golden Coffer [of Zhou Gong]
27 (17) 大誥
 The Great Announcement
28 (19) 微子之命
 The Charge to Prince Weizi
29 (18) 康誥
 The Announcement to Prince Kang
30 (19) 酒誥
 The Announcement about Drunkenness
31 (20) 梓材
 The Timber of Rottlera
32 (21) 召誥
 The Announcement of Duke Shao
33 (22) 洛誥
 The Announcement Concerning Luoyang
34 (23) 多士
 The Numerous Officers
35 (24) 無逸
 Against Luxurious Ease
36 (25) 君奭
 Lord Shi [Duke Shao]
37 (20) 蔡仲之命
 The Charge to Cai Zhong
38 (26) 多方
 The Numerous Regions
39 (27) 立政
 The Establishment of Government
40 (21) 周官
 The Offices of Zhou
41 (22) 君陳
 Lord Chen
42 (28) 顧命
 The Testamentary Charge
43 (29) 康王之誥
 The Announcement of King Kang
(originally a section under Testamentary
44 (23) 畢命
 The Charge to the Duke of Bi
45 (24) 君牙
 Lord Ya
46 (25) 冏命
 The Charge to Jiong
47 (30) 呂刑
 Marquis Lu on Punishments
48 (31) 文侯之命
 The Charge to Marquis Wen [of Jin]
49 (32) 費誓
 The Speech at [the Battle of] Fei
50 (33) 秦誓
 The Speech of [the Duke Mu of] Qin


  • Liao Mingchun (2001). A Preliminary Study on the Newly-unearthed Bamboo Inscriptions of the Chu Kingdom: An Investigation of the Materials from and about the Shangshu in the Guodian Chu Slips. Taipei: Taiwan Guji Publishing Co.. ISBN 957-0414-59-6.

External links

Original Chinese text at Chinese Wikisource (zh:首頁) :

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