Chinese Classic Texts
Chinese classics texts or Chinese canonical texts are the classical literature in the Chinese culture which are considered by Chinese culture to be one of the best or to be the most valuable. These include both poetry and prose, some dating from the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (1122 BC - 256 BC). Some of them are attributed to Confucius but he might only be the editor of them. One of the aspects of the Chinese culture that allows its continuity is the importance given to those ancient texts, that shape the philosophies of the culture.
Sì shū wǔ jīng (四書五經), the Four Books and the Five Classics, were mandated study of those Confucian scholars who wished to become government officials. Any political discussion was full of references to this background and one couldn't be one of the literati, or even a military officer, without knowing them perfectly.
Chinese children first studied the Chinese characters with the Hundred Family Surnames (Bai Jia Xing) and the Three Character Classic (三字經 San Zi Jing). Then, they studied the following Classics, in order to climb the social hierarchy.
List of Chinese Classic Texts
- The Four Books (四書 Sì shū)
- The Great Learning, (大學 Dà Xué), the name of a chapter in the Classic of Rites.
- The Doctrine of the Golden Mean (中庸 Zhōng Yóng), the name of another chapter in the Classic of Rites.
- The Analects of Confucius (論語 Lùn Yǔ), a book of pithy sayings attributed to Confucius and recorded by his disciples.
- The Mencius (孟子 Mèng Zǐ), a book of conversations between Mencius and some kings of his time.
- The Five Classics (五經 Wǔ jīng)
- The I Ching (易經 Yì Jīng; Classic of Changes or Book of Changes) is a manual of divination based on the eight trigrams attributed to the mythical emperor Fu Xi. (By Confucius' time these eight trigrams had been multiplied to sixty-four hexagrams.) The I Ching is still used by adherents of folk religion.
- The Classic of Poetry or The Book of Odes (詩
經 Shī Jīng), made up of 305 poems divided into 160 folk songs; seventy-four minor festal songs, traditionally sung at court festivities; 31 major festal songs, sung at more solemn court ceremonies; and forty hymns and eulogies, sung at sacrifices to gods and ancestral spirits of the royal house. This book is traditionally credited as a compilation from Confucius.
- The Classic of Rites (禮記 Lǐ Jì), social forms and ceremonies (also spelled Liki), a restoration of the original Lijing, lost in the 3rd century BCE, describes ancient rites and court ceremonies.
- The Classic of History (書經 Shū Jīng) is a collection of documents and speeches alleged to have been written by rulers and officials of the early Zhou period and before. It contains examples of early Chinese prose.
- The Spring and Autumn Annals (春秋 Chūn Qiū, also known as 麟經 Lín Jīng), a historical record of the state of Lu, Confucius' native state, from 722 BCE to 479 BCE written (or edited) by Confucius, with implied condemnation of usurpations, murder, incest, etc.
- The Classic of Music (樂經) (Yueh Ching) is sometime referred to as the sixth classic, but is lost by the time of the Han dynasty.
- The Classics of Taoism
- The Classic of The Way and Its Virtue or Tao Te Ching (道德經 Dao De Jing), attributed to Lao Zi.
- Zhuang Zi, attributed to the philosopher of the same name, Zhuang Zi.
- The True Classic of Perfect Emptiness, attributed to Lie Zi.
- The Classic of Mohism
- Mozi, attributed to the philosopher, Mozi.
- The Classics of Legalism
- Guan Zi, attributed to Guan Zhong.
- Han Fei Zi, attributed to Han Fei.
- Shen Zi, attributed to Shen Buhai, is lost.
- Shen Zi, attributed to Shen Dao, is presumably lost.
- The Book of Law or Fa Jing, attributed to Li Kui.
- Classics of Military Science
- The Art of War, attributed to Sun Tzu.
- Thirty-Six Strategies, recently uncovered.
- The Three Strategies of Master Yellow Stone (黃石公三略, Huangshigong sanlue)
- Li Weigong answering the questions of Tang Taizong (唐太宗李衛公問對, Tang Taizong Li Weigong Wendui), attributed to Li Jing
- The Methods of the Minister of War (司馬法, Sima Fa), attributed to Sima Rangju (司馬穰苴)/Tian Rangju (田穰苴)
- Wuzi (吳子), attributed to Wu Qi (吳起)
- Weiliaozi (尉繚子, also pronounced Yuliaozi), attributed to Wei Liao (尉繚)
- Classics of the History of China
- Twenty-Four Histories, a dynastic format collection of authoritative references of the history of China, including the Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian and the Book of Han by Ban Gu.
- The Spring and Autumn Annals of Zuo, Annals of Zuo or Zuo Zhuan, attributed to Zuo Qiuming.
- The Discourses of the States or Guoyu, a collection of historical records of numerous states during the Spring and Autumn Period.
- The Strategies of the Warring States or Zhan Guo Ce, attributed to Liu Xiang.
- The Spring and Autumn Annals of Wu and Yue or Wuyue Chunqiu, a historical record of the states of Wu and Yue during the Spring and Autumn Period, attributed to Zhao Ye.
- The Spring and Autumn Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms or Shiliuguo Chunqiu, a historical record of the Sixteen Kingdoms, attributed to Cui Hong, is lost.
- The Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government or Zizhi Tongjian, attributed to Sima Guang.
- The Annals of Lǚ Bùwéi or Lǚshì Chūnqiū (呂氏春秋), attributed to Lǚ Bùwéi.
- Other Classics
- The Classic of Filial Piety or Xiao Jing (孝經 Xiao Jing)
- The Thousand Character Classic (千字文)