Ancient China in Context
The creation of the Chinese Empire in 221 BC was the culmination of centuries of political development, in which the palace states of the 08th century (the "Spring and Autumn" period) were gradually transformed into the effective resource bureaucracies of the 04th century (the "Warring States"), a time of state rebuilding, law creation, and military progress. This period saw the rise of public controversy between the many individuals and schools which held conflicting ideas about where society should be going, how to get there, or in some cases, how to opt out. This was the Golden Age of Chinese thought, which to this day remains a treasure of the world cultural heritage.
Understanding of these centuries has been hampered by uncertainty about the nature and date of the texts. To this problem, the Project brings the fruits of decades of historical-critical research, those classical methods being enriched by a new stylistic difference measure, which helps to clarify both the structure of one text, and its relations with other texts.
Our first publication was The Original Analects (Columbia 1998). The first of the Project's own publications was The Emergence of China (2015), a survey of the Warring States period which weaves together the contributions of the major Warring States schools of thought into a consecutive account of the intellectual and social history of this classic age. Spring and Autumn, based on the neglected contemporary evidence of the court chronicle of the state of Lu, gives a vivid contemporary picture of what life was like in the centuries before Confucius. Other volumes represent the major schools of classical thought (Confucian, Dauist, and Mician), as well as the military manuals which are still so relevant that they are studied by the general staffs of all modern nations.
The projected titles in the Context series are here listed in rough chronological order of their contents, with the overview Emergence of China volume at the end.
Spring and Autumn: The Chinese World Before Confucius
Arts of War: The Classical Chinese Military Tradition
Waging Peace: The Mician Alternative in Ancient China
Quiet Ways: The Dau/Dv Jing and Chinese Statecraft
Mencius: A Disputed Heritage
Before the Yi: China's First Divination Manual
A Usable Past: The Chinese Classic of Documents
The Emergence of China: From Confucius to the Empire (2015)All currently available titles in this series may be ordered here.