Talk:Book of Documents

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Versions[edit]

I ran across a quotation that is supposedly from the Shujing that read as so:

"Of old in the beginning, there was the great chaos, without form and dark. The five elements [planets] had not begun to revolve, nor the sun and moon to shine. You, O Spiritual Sovereign, first divided the grosser parts from the purer. You made heaven. You made earth. You made man. All things with their reproducing power got their being".
"Thou hast vouchsafed, O Di, to hear us for, Thou regardest us as a Father. I, Thy child, dull and unenlightened, am unable so show forth the dutiful feelings".
"Thy sovereign goodness is infinite. As a potter, Thou hast made all living thing. Thy sovereign goodness is infinite. Great and small are sheltered [by Thee]. As engraven on the heart of Thy poor servant is the sense of Thy goodness, so that my feelings cannot be fully displayed. With great kindness Thou dost bear us, and not withstanding our shortcomings, dost grant us life and prosperity."
Original source: Shu Ching, Book of History/Documents

This is not in Legges translation. Can anyone verify if this is authentic?

Thanks, mamgeorge 17:01, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

-- No, It's not authentic. Bao Pu (talk) 15:31, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

According to [1], This translation by Damascene is from a prayer in a book of Ming era. Matteo Ricci has arrived to china during the Ming era, so if this is indeed a translation of a chinese text, it might be a christian-influenced text. The duke (talk) 07:11, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

Should the titles of these articles be consistent?[edit]

Should the "classics" (yi jing, shu jing, shi jing, li ji) not all have a consistent title? At the moment we have: Shi Jing, Book of Rites, Book of History, and I Ching. That's two English, one pinyin, and one Wade-Giles. I don't understand the logic there. If no one objects, can we change them all to "Book of..."? I suppose I Ching is simple: Book of Changes, but what about Shi Jing? Book of Odes, Songs, Poems? I prefer Odes. Is someone able to do this? --TheSoundAndTheFury (talk) 09:24, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

I would like to know how long I have to wait, and how I can change the names to make them consistent. I'm a stickler for consistency! --TheSoundAndTheFury (talk) 07:13, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

In answer to your question, not necessarily. Review Wikipedia policy: for each article, we should go with the most common English-language. That means not using "Book of Changes"; it means not using "Yijing"; it means using "I Ching". If you feel English culture as a whole isn't consistent... well, it's not. As for Wiki policy, you can try to change it or move on to getting a job with Encyclopaedia Britannica, but I personally feel this is the best compromise available. — LlywelynII 09:06, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved. Jenks24 (talk) 11:36, 22 June 2012 (UTC)



Classic of HistoryBook of Documents – According to this ngram, a more common title than "Classic of History". It's also common for authors to use the abbreviated form Documents for repeated references, which is easier to follow if the title includes that word. The standard English translations of the work are Legge's The Shû King or the Book of Historical Documents and Karlgren's The Book of Documents. Kanguole 16:15, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Support. The proposed name seems to be a standard translation, as you can see here and here. Lots of things are "Book of Documents", so the Ngram doesn't help much. Kauffner (talk) 03:09, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Note that ngrams distinguish case but the ordinary Google books search doesn't. The ngram can be slightly refined by adding "the" at the front of each name.[2] Kanguole 07:39, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Wish I'd seen this before. It's really rather unclear how many of those hits were related to the Chinese book and how many not. TheSoundAndTheFury (talk) 12:19, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

If you feel strongly about it, I'm willing to reopen the discussion. Jenks24 (talk) 12:28, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Remember that ngrams are case-sensitive, while the Google books searches aren't. I don't see many occurrences of "the Book of Documents" (with that capitalization) in this Google books search that aren't referring to the Chinese classic. Kanguole 12:38, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't feel particularly strongly but since I've contributed to this page I just wanted to see that the best and most accurate outcome was being found. I'm having trouble figuring out a methodology to get a good answer. Look at this search for example:
With this "the Book of Documents" -"china" -"chinese" -"chou" -"shi" -"zhouyi" -"wu" -"chuang" -"kung" -"zhuangzi" -"karlgren" -"shu" -"confucian" -"tao" -"confucius" (last page of search result) I'm trying to get out all the words related to the Chinese version to find out how many other ways "Book of documents" is used. But the results are highly misleading. But now look at the second last page - it says there are 7,770 results! There were in fact only 201 results. I'm not sure if all the searches are plagued with false information like that. TheSoundAndTheFury (talk) 13:31, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
It's true that the counts on Google searches are commonly huge overestimates (but ngrams give accurate numbers). Another approach is to just look through the Google books search for "the Book of Documents"; I got to page 8 before I found one that wasn't talking about the Chinese classic. Kanguole 13:57, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Yeah; I noticed that, too. Without other compelling evidence, I would say this is the most appropriate title for the page. Sorry for the post-move drama! TheSoundAndTheFury (talk) 14:10, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
I know how you feel: this is such an ugly name and an unfamiliar one from anything I've seen. Looking through ngram and Google Books, though, it does seem to be what modern Sinologists prefer among themselves at the moment, so we may need to wait a few decades before we revisit moving this back to Classic of History or Shujing. — LlywelynII 09:12, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Quotation from Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature[edit]

Why should we include a quotation from a tertiary source like Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (ISBN 0-87779-042-6) when we have good subject-specific secondary sources on the same issue? What special authority does the anonymous author of that entry have? Kanguole 10:53, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

An additional problem is that it differs from the better sources by giving an end-date of the 4th century BC for the New Text chapters, when Shaughnessy (1993) and Nylan (2001) say some may postdate the Qin unification. Per WP:TERTIARY, we should not be using this two-paragraph article from a general encyclopedia of literature when in-depth expert sources are available. Kanguole 00:24, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
The key word is "may". The "expert source" i.e. Nylan (2001) is talking in speculative terms, using "possibly" and "may" ("can possibly date much earlier than Qin unification in 221 BC, and some may postdate unification"). There is nothing concrete about them. Its fine to include these sources, but it is clear these authors are not absolutely sure in terms of the dates as well. That Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature reference gave a concrete date in which the readers can easily see. The whole point of an encyclopedia article is to present different perspectives. They don't necessarily contradict each other, but it is simply an opinion of that particular source.--Sevilledade (talk) 04:11, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't think there's any doubt that Nylan and Shaughnessy are respected authorities in the field. The uncertainty they describe is an accurate reflection of scholarship on this text – the concreteness you want just doesn't exist. Our policy is quite clear that we should prefer such secondary sources to tertiary ones, particularly those as limited as the anonymous 170-word entry in the MW encyclopedia. You also haven't presented any argument for retaining the quotation. Kanguole 12:18, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
The argument for retaining the quotation was that the encyclopedia has given a precise date, which can be useful to readers, whereas the other authors didn't.--Sevilledade (talk) 10:10, 12 December 2013 (UTC)
I believe Kanguole probably has the right idea here. Regardless of how unclear the Nylan source is (whether or not he and Shaughnessy are correct, which I personally doubt, is moot here), I don't think the M-W EoL is an appropriate source for an article like this, as there are a decent number of much higher quality works to draw from.
As long as I'm here, though, I'd like to voice my dissatisfaction with Kanguole's revision of the two lead paragraphs I wrote. Specifically, the complete removal of the paragraph summarizing the Shangshu's contents now means the "Contents" section isn't represented at all in the lead (other than the simple number of chapters), which goes against the fundamental purpose of leads themselves. If you wanted to trim it down, that's fine, but completely removing it was excessive.  White Whirlwind  咨  04:20, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
I didn't delete the paragraph – I moved it to the Contents section, because it contained detail not present in the body of the article. But sure, the lead should include a brief summary of the contents, though not down to the chapter level. Kanguole 12:32, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
A major problem with the recent arrangement of the article is that almost the entire lede and the focal point has become about the "controversy". For a general article not specifically about controversy, it shouldn't be that way.--Sevilledade (talk) 10:10, 12 December 2013 (UTC)
Kanguole – you did: you deleted it from the lead, which was my whole point. In any case, thank you for fixing it. I agree with Sevilledade that the "controversy" paragraph is currently too prominent in the lead. Not to sound like broken record, but my original arrangement had it as the final lead paragraph before Kanguole went to work, and I would suggest reverting it to that position. I think that would solve the problem... which shouldn't have existed in the first place.  White Whirlwind  咨  04:16, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
The problem with surveying the contents first is that it would be implicitly focussed on the New Text chapters only, before the New/Old Text distinction had been introduced. That distinction is fundamental to any discussion of this work, though perhaps there could be less emphasis on the controversy aspect. Kanguole 10:35, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

comments about gào chapters[edit]

Two things:

  • I don't think we should be citing an 11th century scholar (Su Shi) unless his views were particularly influential, in which we'd have modern scholarship about it to cite.
  • Why is it important that the character 誥 appears on bronze vessels, when we have the same word being written with 告 on the oracle bones? That seems more about paleography than text.

Kanguole 16:43, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

In light of Tsinghua bamboo slips, Old text is not necessarily a forgery[edit]

Ma Wenzeng of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, on a paper presented here: http://www.guoxue.com/?p=18687 Demonstrates how the Tsinghua bamboo slips, together with quotations from the classic of rites and Guo Yu, indicate that Confucius edited version of the book of documents is actually the old text, more than it indicates that the old text is a forgery.
This puts the forgery claim in doubt again.
The duke (talk) 10:05, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Relation to Declaration of Independence[edit]

I made a change that suggests a relation to the Declaration of Independence. This was based on an extensively-researched academic article that underwent double-blind peer review. I don't think it is up to you (whoever you may be) to override that scholarly judgement. Can we discuss? Sarah Schneewind (talk) 01:24, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

@Sarah Schneewind: Hi, and welcome to Wikipedia. You may wish to familiarize yourself with the some of the rules, practices, and guidelines here prior to editing. The major ones are WP:Notability, WP:Identifying Reliable Sources, WP:Neutral Point of View, WP:Citing sources, and the WP:Manual of Style.
The "Neutral Point of View" guideline has a section on "Due and Undue Weight" that is germane here. The community-defined Wikipedia policies instruct us to be careful with the content of articles so that we only give as much weight to novel, unusual, or otherwise WP:FRINGE content as they receive in the community of experts and scholars at large. While I'm sure you did some nice research for your article, the identification of some possible similarities or influences between a chapter of the Documents and the Declaration of Independence has not achieved any significant acceptance in the scholarly community (Google Scholar identifies only one minor citation of it), and in any case is not notable enough for inclusion in the main Documents article. It might theoretically be notable in an article on the "Tai shi 泰誓" chapter, though such an article does not exist (and probably does not warrant existence due to a lack of notability, as given in the Notability guidelines).
Also, Wikipedia does not forbid the addition of one's own publications as sources, but does advise caution: see WP:SELFCITE, which is a sub-section of the WP:Conflict of Interest guidelines.
I hope this makes the reasons for my revert clearer. There are a few other China experts on here who would, I'm sure, be happy to respond to any other concerns or questions you might have.  White Whirlwind  咨  02:35, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks once again, White whirlwind, for bringing up a topic for discussion and giving us the push to get things right. Your explanation in response is exemplary in avoiding a charge of Biting the Newbies.
I have suggested a slightly expanded version of the material that was cut. I have read Schneewind’s article and one of her books, the Two Melons. Here are some of her publications: Long Live the Emperor! : Uses of the Ming Founder across Six Centuries of East Asian History. (Minneapolis: Society for Ming Studies, Ming Studies Research Series, 2008); Community Schools and the State in Ming China. (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2006); A Tale of Two Melons : Emperor and Subject in Ming China. (2006); "Clean Politics: Race and Class, Imperialism and Nationalism, Etiquette and Consumption in the Chinese and American Revolutions," Asia-Pacific Journal Japan Focus ' '7.45 (2009).
The section puts forth an idea that has legs – that Enlightenment thinkers looked East. Of the works I have here at home, I quickly found that Jefferson’s knowledge of China is discussed in Alfred Owen Aldridge. The Dragon and the Eagle: The Presence of China in the American Enlightenment. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1993), pp. 95-97, which quotes Herlee Glessner Creel comparing Jefferson and Confucius; links Jefferson and Franklin’s knowledge of China to their connection to the Physiocrats, whose use of the Shujing could be discussed in the article more extensively; and traces Jefferson’s knowledge of Chinese Classics (though not specifically the Shujing). So this specific possibility is entirely possible, sourced, and stated reasonably.ch (talk) 16:37, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
As you say, the Aldridge passage doesn't relate to the Documents but Chinese culture more broadly; he quotes Jefferson recommending the 13th-century play The Orphan of Zhao and the 17th-century novel Haoqiu zhuan. That is extremely weak support for the claim. So we have a conjectur of a connection which the author describes as "possible, but not proven or even provable", and which no-one else seems to have run with. I can't imagine this material in the United States Declaration of Independence article, and it seems undue to give it any weight in this article either. Kanguole 21:00, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
@CWH: I agree with Kanguole (talk · contribs): I can't imagine how this completely speculative content could warrant inclusion in this article. There are not, as far as I am aware, any major scholarly works that discuss any of the supposed influences or connections, and I can't see why we would here.  White Whirlwind  咨  02:21, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks,all, for this discussion and explanation for me, a newbie. I appreciate particularly CWH's reading the article and vouching for my scholarship, because it seems intellectually wrong to dismiss something as completely speculative before one has read the evidence. Just this week, a scholar of the political science who works on the Declaration and other early American texts, and whom I do not know personally, described the article as "fascinating" and the evidence as "circumstantial but very weighty." CWH is right that the connection between knowledge about China, on the one hand, the Founding Fathers and the Enlightenment generally on the other is very well established, and to me the virtue of raising any particular instance of this, where-ever it is relevant, is to direct people toward that larger point, which should help break down false and dangerous barriers between the people of different nations. It certainly does belong on the page for the United States Declaration of Independence, but that one was semi-locked. I appreciate all of your care about this!Sarah Schneewind (talk) 14:34, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
I have read the article, and it is certainly speculative. There is no evidence that Jefferson had ever seen the Documents; the emphasis is on possibilities. Even the abstract admits the lack of evidence, and hedges its bets: "Whether or not the connection exists, the comparison of the two texts can be pedagogically useful in history classes." To place this in a section entitled "Influences on Modern Thought" or "Influence in the West" is completely unjustified. Kanguole 16:20, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
The Jesuit bit isn't really influence either – more interpretation, and pretty marginal at that. It's common for missionaries (especially the Jesuits) to draw parallels between local traditions and scripture, but there's nothing to suggest it affected their worldview (especially back in Europe). Kanguole 23:48, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Friends: I second SS's thanks to Kanguole and White whirlwind, who have made strong points, and I agree that this is at best a borderline case, one that needs to be stated carefully. WP:FRINGE mentions “Flat Earth” and other theories which do not cover this case. WP:UNDUE states that to give “due weight” an article should
fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources. Giving due weight and avoiding giving undue weight mean that articles should not give minority views or aspects as much of or as detailed a description as more widely held views or widely supported aspects.
The argument, we seem to agree, is “speculative.” But we are not forbidden to speculate. A “speculation” is defined by my American Heritage Dictionary (3rd) as 1) To meditate on ... reflect. 2) To engage in a course of reasoning based on inconclusive evidence.” The section “Synonyms” distinguishes “speculation” from “conjecture,” which implies “without sufficient evidence,” or “surmise,” based on intuition, while “speculation” implies a “process of reasoning based on inconclusive evidence,” e.g. scientists speculate on the origins of the universe.”
The problem is to give background in few enough words as to maintain Due Weight (the present paragraph is 89 words, out of an article total of c. 2,000). I would be happy to see the text re-phrased as something like
Thomas Jefferson was among those Americans who admired Chinese classics, especially through their connection with the French physiocrats when he lived in France. An American scholar notes that the structure of King Wu's "Grand Pronouncement" parallels that of the United States Declaration of Independence. She speculates that Jefferson could have read Gaubil's translation and, although it is not provable, that it influenced him. (63 words)
Further: I’m not sure which part of the section is referenced or what to make of the comment that “There are not, as far as I am aware, any major scholarly works that discuss any of the supposed influences or connections,” or that “The Jesuit bit isn't really influence either – more interpretation, and pretty marginal at that...” For the influence of Confucius on the Jesuits, see any of the several dozen references in the Google Book search “Shujing Jesuits.” In the Thierry volume in the footnote, there are 42 mentions of Shujing in particular.
SS's contribution calls attention to the fact that our articles on the ancient Classics (e.g. Four Books and Five Classics or Mozi (book)) have overlooked an important aspect, that is, "Influence Outside China" (I named the section here "Influence in the West," but probably that should be changed). Of course, this Talk Page is not the place to make such a suggestion. I bring it up for your consideration and to suggest that it is not always good to dismiss a new point without considering all aspects – or, to adapt the advice of improv comedians, avoid saying “no” instead of “Yes, and....
Cheers in any case and thanks for your patience.ch (talk) 03:40, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Certainly the issue is not fringe, but rather due weight. Is this speculation a "significant viewpoint"? I would say not, given that it it so thinly supported and no-one else has picked up on it. In a huge literature on the Documents, it is one article, and equivocal about the claim at that. The proportional prominince would round to zero in a considerably longer article than this one.
The Jesuits certainly studied the Documents and other classics. Whether it influenced them is a different question.
I agree about the broader question, but as you say, that's for another place. Kanguole 18:48, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
We are to treat "all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources", but in this case the issue isn't even remotely "significant". There is no major treatment of the Documents that mentions this speculative theory, and thus this article should not do so, either. I find it bizarre that we're still even considering this.  White Whirlwind  咨  00:04, 8 July 2016 (UTC)