It was requested that the following be printed together with the "Reply" of Edward Slingerland in Philosophy East & West (January 2000). This request was refused by the editor, Roger Ames. The material is given below as our final comment.
Despite Professor Slingerland's continuing problems with the "natural sciences," and his illogical inference that recognition of one influence on the text rules out other influences, he seems willing in the end to decide the Analects question on the basis of evidence. Though he disregards our formal evidence, we think that even at the level of literal or implicit chronological references, the case for an accretional Analects is strong.
It seems to us plausible, not suspicious, that such open anachronisms as the mention of Lu Ai-gung by his posthumous name (which "Confucius" could not have known) are confined to its 05c layers, and vanish in the 04c, when the text can be seen to develop a sense of history (2:23) and a concept of philosophical rigor (*15:24). A wariness of anachronism could easily have been part of this later sophistication.
It seems to us plausible, not dubious, that the style of the later Analects layers is different from that of the earlier ones, as Tswei Shu long ago noted, but that, at the same time, though they adopt stretches of identical wording from their philosophical rivals (Gwandz in LY 12-13, Mwodz in 12:22, Sywndz in *13:3, the Dau/Dv Jing in *14:34, Mencius in 17:2a, and Jwangdz in 18:5-7), the middle and later layers maintain a minimum stylistic self-identity, and do not surrender themselves altogether to the "stylistic and philosophical developments of their own age," as Professor Slingerland seems to expect them to do.
We find Waley's attempt to explain 18:5-7 as "hostile interpolations" ludicrous (see our page 183), and any attempt to invoke a similar theory for the contacts with such texts as the Gwandz simply preposterous. Direct quotation and later interpolation are also ruled out as explanations for the two-way interchanges in the text (see our Appendix 3). Such situations forbid the idea that any single date can be attached to the Analects.
We find Professor Slingerland's demand that the whole of the text shall betray its post-Confucian origin to be simply baffling. It is not required that every word of a constructed text be so transparently false that a reader thousands of years later can detect it. If a text contains any demonstrably late passages or features, and if those cannot plausibly be explained as later intrusions, then the entire text is implicated in the falsity. That is how philology is practiced in the more rational disciplines.
We are sorry to see Sinology claiming exemption from those methodological precedents.
As a larger point of the same type, we should emphasize that our Analects theory is part of an integrated chronology covering most of the major Warring States texts, and not a theory of the Analects alone. This proposed chronology, in its large outlines, will undoubtedly stand or fall as a single proposal. That proposal's prediction, in 1994, of a truncated Dau/Dv Jing in the vicinity of c0300 was thus a major risk, whose failure would surely have counted against the soundness of the whole. It is in this context that the 1998 unveiling of a truncated Dau/Dv Jing in a Gwodyen tomb dating from the vicinity of c0300 should be granted its proper weight as relevant evidence. It supports a complex chronology of which our Analects chronology is one strand.
Predictions put a theory on the line. Successful predictions are properly seen as strengthening that theory.
And finally: Did the Analects emerge in isolation, by self-generation? Or did it respond to the cataclysmic political events and the Hundred Schools philosophical commotion around it? Between an isolated Analects and one that participates in a wider philosophical dialogue, philosophers and general readers alike must now choose.
We cannot but think that, in the end, the "isolated" option will find few takers.
E Bruce Brooks
A Taeko Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
18 February 1999
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