University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Warring States Project

South College

The Project's research began by focusing on the classical Chinese texts, those from the "Warring States" period, the basis of China's philosophical heritage and its modern identity. This work culminated in a definitive study of the Analects of Confucius, and continues with studies of the other major texts. It has been complemented in recent decades by investigations in the Biblical and Homeric texts, which are central to the religious and secular traditions of Europe. Standard critical methods have been applied, along with a new stylistic difference test which permits close study of the rhetoric of one text, and the degree of relatedness among several texts. These results point to a little noticed universal in the study of antiquity: how canonical texts come into being and form an authority system in a given culture. They offer a more nuanced understanding of intellectual history, in both East and West.

This work goes back some sixty years. The present Project was founded at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1993, and achieved Department status in 2004. At its office in South College, meetings with colleagues and students may be arranged by appointment. The Project has hosted thirty conferences of its own at UMass and elsewhere, and has sponsored panels at regional and national conventions in various disciplines. Project principals E Bruce Brooks and A Taeko Brooks have presented papers at conferences in this country and in Paris, Leiden, Tokyo, and Singapore. The publication program has the benefit of advice from American and international scholars. Recent book publications include a survey of the Warring States period and an account of the early Jesus Movement. Research results are made available in the Project's two journals.

This site introduces the Project, shares its sense of the methods appropriate to the study of ancient texts, summarizes its previous and present work, and ends by introducing its publication program. Others are invited to take part, whether in discussion of the problems (on several dedicated E-lists) or as contributors to our journals. In principle, all study is a collaborative enterprise, and any study advances faster when it is collaborative in fact. We will be glad to hear from interested persons.

All materials on this site are Copyright © 1993 or subsequently by the Warring States Project or by individual authors

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