Words hardly convey my combined delight and trepidation at joining the distinguished line of editorship that has produced the Journal of Song-Yuan Studies. I therefore foremost extend my thanks to my illustrious coterie of predecessors and especially to immediate-past editor Linda Walton for assisting me so fully in my transition to this role. I earnestly hope to maintain standards for the scholarship presented herein that at least approximate the high level of those that Linda, and Beverly Bossler, and Hugh Clark have already established.
My thanks do not stop here. Hilde De Weerdt, functioning with her customary adroitness as book review editor, has certainly made my own entrance easier than it might otherwise have been and, without the deft expertise of David W. Goodrich at Birdtrack Press, there would have been no editorial progress made at all, not to mention any resultant product such as the one we can now take some pride and satisfaction in reading. I furthermore acknowledge with genuine thanks the fact that this issue of the Journal has been published in part through a generous grant from the Chen Family Fund for East Asian Studies at Haverford College. Such will also be the case for the next two issues in succession. Finally, I would be remiss indeed if I were not to commend the dedicated members of the Journal’s corps of manuscript reviewers for their unflagging voluntarism. I have had frequent occasion to lament the constraints of confidentiality that deny these individuals the public recognition they deserve. Yet, my own gratefulness for our reviewers is without bounds because, to the benefit of all, the vital contributions made by so many of them have so far exceeded what was ever requested. Thus, in sum and as is fitting, I extend my heartfelt thanks as incoming editor to many quarters—named as well as unnamed. [End Page v]
With this volume, the Journal of Song-Yuan Studies (JSYS)—originally, the Sung Studies Newsletter and, subsequently, the Bulletin of Sung Yuan Studies—commences its fortieth year of existence. Given the humbleness of its origins and its sometimes unlikely duration, there is much reason to celebrate the Journal’s current state of health, and it is somehow appropriate that it is with a retrospective on those earliest beginnings that the content of this volume itself begins. Thereafter, the subjects featured in succession include: the emergence of civil prerequisites and prerogatives for the pre-Song military man; the relationship between poetry and gong’an in Chan Buddhism; an eminent Japanese scholar’s research in translation on temple cults and local governance during the Jin and Yuan dynasties; and the historical scholarship on the Jurchen thus far produced to date in Russia. Additionally, readers will find five reviews of six of the most current books. However, if any success has been achieved herein, readers will also find that the present volume distinguishes itself by being, at once, representative of the kinds of scholarship that have established the middle imperial period solidly as a field of study and yet responsive to the newest methodological directions that will undoubtedly typify our research in the future. [End Page vi]