A Taeko Brooks
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
The Impact of Defense (MZ 51-71)
Panel: War and Peace in Early China
AAS Convention, Boston, Saturday 24 March 2007

A Taeko Brooks


I am here concerned not to analyze the Mician military writings, but to ask when the art of defensive warfare was first taken up by the Mician movement, and what effect its adoption may have had on the separate body of Mician ethical writings.

I find that defensive warfare may have been originally the specialty of a group led by Chin Gu-li, which was organizationally absorbed into the Mician movement sometime toward the end of the 04th century, and that though the classic triplet of Mician essays against offensive war (MZ 17-19) had been finished and canonized by that time, later Mician ethical essays do reflect the presence of the former Chin Gu-li group. In those essays, defensive strength becomes one of the signs of a well-ordered state, and Mwodz himself is increasingly reconconfigured as a master of the defense of cities.

Throughout the paper, I implicitly emphasize the gain in understanding that results if we consider together the pieces of text evidence from each successive period. This requires coordinating the parallel growth and mutual influence of several major Warring States texts: not only the Mwodz, but also the Gwandz, the Dau/Dv Jing, the Sywndz, the Lw-shr Chun/Chyou, and the military classics: Sundz, Wudz, and Szma Fa. This joint philosophical development, an escalation of ideas, is potentially of great interest for Chinese intellectual history. It must be added that an equally vigorous escalation in the real world arts of attack and defense eventually reach a situation, in the second half of the 03rd century, which philosophy was powerless either to avert or to affect, and which only a destructive war to the finish would finally end.

[For the full text of this paper, click HERE]

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