The Book of Lord Shang

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The Book of Lord Shang
Traditional Chinese 商君書
Simplified Chinese 商君书

The Book of Lord Shang (Chinese: 商君書; pinyin: Shāng jūn shū) was an early Legalist work generally[1] attributed to the eponymous Lord Shang.


It is a foundational[2] work of the Legalist tradition: ""The Book of Lord Shang teaches that laws are designed to maintain the stability of the state from the people, who are innately selfish and ignorant. There is no such thing as objective goodness or virtue; it is obedience that is of paramount importance."[3] The philosophy espoused in this work is quite explicitly anti-Confucian:


  • Duyvendak, J. J. L. (1928). The Book of Lord Shang. London: Arthur Probsthain; reprinted (1963), Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • (French) Levi, Jean (1981). Le Livre du prince Shang [The Book of Prince Shang]. Paris: Flammarion.


  1. ^ " The work Shang Chün shu (“Book of the Lord of Shang”) probably contains writings and ideas of Shang Yang, although the exact authorship of the book is in doubt.""Shang Yang." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 19 Sept. 2006 [1].
    See also "Other figures associated with an early form of legalism are Shang Yang (d. 338 BCE), the putative author of The Book of Lord Shang, and Shen Pu-hai (d. 337 BCE)."[2]
  2. ^ "It is one of the major works of the highly pragmatic and authoritarian Legalist school of Chinese philosophy." "Shang Yang." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 19 Sept. 2006 [3].
  3. ^ [4]
Works cited
  • Levi, Jean (1993). "Shang chün shu 商君書". In Loewe, Michael. Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide. Berkeley: Society for the Study of Early China; Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California Berkeley. pp. 368–375. ISBN 978-1-55729-043-4. 

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Text of the work[edit]

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