The Reception of Zuozhuan and the Zhenguan Perspective, as Revealed in a Citation of “Hua Yuan Feeding His Soldiers” in the Qunshu Zhiyao
Keywords:群書治要, 華元食士, 貞觀政要, 左傳, 魏徵, Qunshu zhiyao, “Hua Yuan Feeding His Soldiers”, Zhenguan zhengyao, Zuozhuan, Wei Zheng
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract also in English.
The Qunshu zhiyao is an anthology compiled by Wei Zheng (580-643) and his team in 603. Does this book embrace any specific ideology? If so, how should one ensure understanding of such an ideology? According to the preface to the Qunshu zhiyao, Wei Zheng intended to compile an anthology that would differentiate itself from two predecessors, the Huanglan and Bianlue. By laying emphasis on the meaning of the text, he aimed to reveal the causes and effects of events in order to illustrate governing principles and provide practical solutions to contemporary issues. Therefore, the book was intended to uncover the implicit interpretation of the editors of the sources from which he excerpted the texts that became the entries of his compilation. Practicality is one such key principle. The present article discusses a Zhuozhuan narrative on “Hua Yuan Feeding His Soldiers” anthologized in the Qunshu zhiyao, contrasting the perspective and meaning in this excerpt in the Tang compilation with the Zhuozhuan original context.
This article has three goals: (1) to identify the differences between the original Zhuozhuan and its edited version by means of restoration of the original status of the classic; (2) to reconstruct the Tang preferences of interpretation through collecting and surveying historical interpretations of the narrative on “Hua Yuan Feeding His Soldiers”; and (3) to explain the differences and similarities between the critical perspectives of “Yang Zhen Causing Downfall of His State” and “Hua Yuan Feeding His Soldiers” to discover how the ideology embedded within was intended to be justified and illuminated in light of the context of the Zhenguan zhengyao and the editorial principles of the Qunshu zhiyao.
The present study comes to a conclusion that the narrative on “Hua Yuan Feeding His Soldiers” centers on “winning people‘s hearts” and “humbling oneself to win support from people.” The former reveals human affections while the latter concerns relationship management. While it is apparent that the Qunshu zhiyao reflects ideologies of the Tang dynasty, there is also a clear attempt by the editors to proclaim their interpretations when selecting excerpts from ancient classics rather than writing new works. Therefore, comparative and interpretative study of these texts is essential in deepening our understanding of the ideology of the Qunshu zhiyao.
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