Review by
Victor Mair
Sino-Platonic Papers #90 (January 1999), 1-3.

We here excerpt only the first page of this review, which is still in print and available in the SPP monograph listed above:

"This is one of the most important Sinological works, not only of the twentieth century, but of all time. What the great Bernhard Karlgren did for historical phonology, E Bruce Brooks and A Taeko Brooks have done for the analysis of ancient Chinese texts. After Karlgren, nobody could ever again look upon the sounds of Middle Sinitic and Old Sinitic as impenetrable and unknowable. After the Brookses, no one will ever again be able to look at so-called "pre-Chin (or pre-Han) texts" as monolithic and unproblematic. Of course, both Karlgren and the Brookses have their predecessors in China, Japan, and the West. But it was Karlgren and the Brookses who first established their respective Sinological subfields as rigorous, systematic disciplines and who first applied these disciplines in a coherent and thorough fashion. And, just as dozens of scholars have dedicated their careers to refining and revising Karlgren's monumental achievements in Grammata Serica Recensa and other works, so too will scores of future scholars devote themselves to improving and embellishing The Original Analects (hereafter TOA) and related publications by the Brookses."

"Now, what exactly have the Brookses accomplished? By application of what is termed the accretion theory, they have demonstrated that the Analects was not written at a single time nor by a single individual (or editorial group). Furthermore, they have shown that only one of the classic's twenty chapters (namely number 4), dating to 479 BCE, contains the ipsissima verba of the sage. The other chapters were added later, layer by layer, between that year and 249 BCE."

"It needs to be emphasized that TOA is but one part of a grand project that includes the critical reappraisal of all "pre-Chin (Han)" texts. In fact, it would not have been possible for the Brookses to write TOA had they not simultaneously been dissecting by means of the same processes more than 25 other texts. In the view of the Brookses, an accurate historical understanding of early Chinese texts demands that they be treated not in isolation and independently, but as interlocking and interrelated. Thus, in a sense, we may say that "all pre-Chin (Han) texts" are in dialogue with each other. For a sort of prospectus of their methodology, the reader may consult E Bruce Brooks's review article entitled "The Present State and Future Prospects of Pre-Han Text Studies," Sino-Platonic Papers #46 (July 1994), and also E Bruce Brooks' chapter in a forthcoming Oxford University . . . "

Calligraphic Separator

[The chapter in question is now available as Word Philology in Van Norden, Confucius (2001). It contains a detailed walkthrough of our Analects solution centering on LY 9, and the single passage which was later interpolated at the head of it as the present LY *9:1].

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