Indeed, they achieve almost canonical import, for they are the yardstick by which the attribution of many other essays are measured.
Yet even these three responses, Loewe notes, likely have been edited p. Because of the uncertainty regarding various issues surrounding Dong's life and work, prominent authorities such as Benjamin Wallacker, and even Loewe himself, are suspicious of the extent of Dong's influence on early Han intellectual and political developments. Wallacker does not clearly detect evidence for any of Dong's attested statements having salient effect during his lifetime and, more broadly, the effect of Han Confucianism in general on official thinking in early Han p.
The case against Dong Zhongshu's presumed historical influence is further strengthened when we consider the very high probability that much of the venerable Chunqiu Fanlu is falsely ascribed to him, or to another contemporaneous author, and is more likely an amalgamation of the work of various writers as with numerous other celebrated early Chinese texts , none of which may be Dong Zhongshu himself. Even the meaning of Fanlu , ostensibly a string of beads hanging down from a hat, is undetermined.
Were they meant merely to be symbolic of the adornments to the headgear of someone of high rank and, thus, of the rank of the person for whom these sayings are composed? Are they a line of dewdrops? When considering the topics and viewpoints associated with Dong Zhongshu in the various works attributed to him, such as the Chunqiu Fanlu , if their authenticity is measured through a comparison to the contents of the three responses mentioned above, we must be extremely circumspect, for their points of intellectual contact, Loewe repeatedly demonstrates, are limited.
The ascribed theses should be treated less as elaborations or extensions of Dong's own thought than as permutations of current trends and issues he considered.
For instance, the assertion of the importance of seasonal abnormalities for political events, though drawing in certain aspects of Dong's thought, does not directly originate from it. In the first response, Dong propounds that heaven conveys warnings through disasters p. With regard specifically to the Chunqiu Fanlu , by the Southern Song, there was a wide range of scholarly opinions about its conception. For example, while Lou Yue, a Southern Song bibliophile, after scouring several corrupted versions, judged that, because the subject matter of the three responses were found in what he perceived the most authentic version p.
Clearly, by the Southern Song, manuscripts of the Chunqiu Fanlu were of varying lengths and contents, suggesting strongly that the versions received in that period had either already been corrupted or were in various stages of editorial composition and formation. These final three summary chapters are a boon for scholars wishing to survey the contents of the Chunqiu Fanlu. Indeed, Loewe's impressive tome provides a surfeit of information and commentarial references. Its only vital shortcoming, in my lowly opinion, is its comparative lack of sure analysis.
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In those instances when evidence is insecure or absent, unsupported statements sometimes remain under the guise of substantiated argument. For example, Loewe, in view of the textual evidence, reasonably maintains that Zou Yan ca. Loewe's assertion of the First Emperor of Qin's probable reaction is merely to suggest a plausible explanation for wu xing not being mentioned in discussions of imperial succession in the later years of early Han, a happenstance that could verily permit other explanations p.
A final compositional shortcoming, resulting from the sheer magnitude of Loewe's erudition, is the almost gnomic concision required for its display. Rehearsed commentaries are often reduced to a single sentence or two.
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Thus, to reiterate, the volume should be handled more as a bibliographic reference than an exhaustive study. Nevertheless, it is an indispensable guide for the research on Dong Zhongshu that remains to be done. Volume 41 , Issue The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account.
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