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Chinese 鬼谷子
Wang Xu
Traditional Chinese 王詡
Simplified Chinese 王诩

Gui Gu Zi (鬼谷子) is the Chinese title given to a group of writings thought to have been compiled between the late Warring States period and the end of the Han Dynasty. The work, between 6,000-7,000 Chinese characters, discusses techniques of political lobbying based in Daoist thinking.

There has been much speculation about the identity of the writer of "Gui Gu Zi", the origin of his name (literally 'The Sage of Ghost Valley') and the authenticity of the work as a whole. While there has been no final outcome to this discussion, Chinese scholars believe that the compilation reflects a genuine corpus of Warring States period writings on political lobbying. Most writers doubt the assertion that the "Gui Gu Zi" was written by a single personality, Guigu Xiansheng (鬼谷先生), who was said in the 'Annals of the Grand Historian, Sima Qian' (司馬遷《史記》蘇秦列傳) to have been the teacher of the late Warring States political lobbyists Su Qin (蘇秦) and Zhang Yi (張儀). A tradition that Guigu Xiansheng was the teacher of renowned Warring States generals Sun Bin (孫臏)and Pang Juan (龐涓)is also considered to be a late confabulation. The association of the name Wang Xu (王詡) is not generally held to be supported. There is no material in the text to support the view held by some that "Guiguzi" is a book on military tactics.

The contents of the Gui Gu Zi text cover the relationship between lobbying techniques and the Yin-Yang Theory, techniques of political evaluation of the state, evaluation of political relationships between state leaders and ministers, psychological profiling of lobbying targets and rhetorical devices.

There have been translations of "Gui Gu Zi" into modern Chinese, German and English. Almost all modern annotated texts and western translations rely heavily on the explanations of the texts attributed to the Eastern Jin scholar Tao Hongjing (陶弘景).


蕭登福《鬼谷子研究》。 2001 文津出版社

陈宇《鬼谷子兵法破解》。 ISBN 7-5065-4584-5/E.2024

Broschat, Michael Robert. "'Guiguzi': A Textual Study and Translation". University of Washington PhD Thesis, 1985

Chung Se Kimm, "Kuei-Kuh-Tse: Der Philosoph vom Teufelstal". 1927

Robert van Gulik: 'Kuei-ku-tzu, The Philosopher of the Ghost Vale", "China", XIII, no 2 (May 1939)