Qu Wanli once wrote, “Of all the Classics, the Documents is the most difficult to put in good order.” In an attempt to untangle the complex, often contradictory statements about that text found in pre-Han, Han, and immediately post-Han sources, this article takes on a seemingly minor part of the larger puzzle requiring resolution: did there exist during pre-Han and Han times a preface/postface (xu 序) to a 100-pian Documents, representing a compilation by Kongzi (Confucius) himself that passed down uninterruptedly for centuries within the Kong family? Clearly, if such a work existed, it would have served as a supremely authoritative guide for how to read the classic, and hence a reliable witness to the entire history of the distant Chinese past with its many sage-kings and worthy ministers. Contra much recent scholarship devoted to the so-called 100-pian xu, this article adopts the view that no such genuinely early xu existed for the Documents.


《尚書》歷來是儒家五經中糾紛最多、最難讀通的一部。本文僅嘗試對其中 一個小問題進行探索:是否存在一部由孔子編纂並在孔氏家族內部一直流傳到漢 代的百篇《書序》?如果存在,它無疑會是人們讀經的權威指導和三代歷史的可信 見證。但我們得出的結論是否定的。


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pp. 377-426
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