Advance Comments
on the book series
Ancient China in Context

Warring States Project Seal

These comments were made in 2006, in letters of recommendation to our first distributor, the University of Massachusetts Press, for a program which included these books, as well as the Project's Sinological journal, Warring States Papers. Like the early reviews of The Original Analects (1998), they often noted the importance of the Project's work in general:

The idea that texts have dates, and that some dates are spans rather than years; that authority texts in particular may undergo growth while still in their formative phase, and under the control of their authors or proprietors; that texts and their authors are better understood in the context of what other authors were doing, and what other texts existed, at that time; - these ideas are normal and standard in other fields of humanistic endeavor. The revolution repeatedly mentioned above comes when these ideas are systematically applied to the early Chinese texts, a thing what has not been done before..

The Project's picture is one where the laws of gravity do apply, where early texts are earlier than later texts, where Aristotle follows Plato (and not all of Plato is by Plato), and where Mencius follows Confucius (and Jwangdz precedes neither). A worldl in which Horace resumed his poetic career after an interval, and surpassed his seemingly final (and seemingly unsurpassable) Third Book of Odes, both metrically and expressively, in the Fourth. Determining these relationships is the grunt work of Sinology, and has appealed no no one, over thousands of years. But it makes the Chinese past more intelligible to whose who care about it. We venture to recommend it.

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