Literary forms of argument in the Tsinghua Manuscript “Tang zai Chi Men” 湯在啻門

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The spate of texts excavated in the last decades from Warring States and Han tombs (mainly 3rd and 2nd cent BCE) have revealed, among many other things, a particular feature of early Chinese texts which has not been equally well preserved in the Han editions of the otherwise quite reliably transmitted texts. The range of literary forms of argument used in many of the excavated texts is generally broader, richer and more diverse than the literary forms we find in most of the received record, especially within the mainstream canonical texts classified as Classics (jing 經) and Masters (zi 子) in the early bibliographical treatises. Argumentation, logical consistency and literary style of some of the excavated texts might appear weak to modern readers, and the correspondence between this lack of literary and argumentative persuasiveness and the intensity of applying literary forms of argument in some of the excavated texts might arouse the suspicion that Han scholars regarded these forms as indicators of inferior texts and perhaps even associated this kind of argumentation with the technical, magico-religious and occult sphere of divination, omenology and physiognomy which they decided not to include into their main canon. The following chapter takes a small step towards pointing out and analysing literary forms of argument in the excavated manuscript “Tang zai Chi Men” 湯在啻門 (TZCM) from the Tsinghua Collection. The text will first be displayed in an analytical presentation revealing both the composition of parallelisms and catalogues as well as the structure of a genealogical tree, followed by a translation, and the respective literary forms will then be introduced and analysed one by one.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQinghuajian yanjiu 3: ‘Qinghua Daxue cang Zhanguo zhujian 5’ guoji xueshu yantaohui lunwenji 清華簡研究(第三輯)
Subtitle of host publication《清華大學藏戰國竹簡(伍)》國際學術研討會論文集
EditorsXueqin Li, Sarah Allan, Michael Lüdke
Place of PublicationShanghai
PublisherShanghai: ZhongXi shuju 中西書局
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9787547516478
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2019

Publication series

NameQinghuajian yanjiu series 清華簡研究
PublisherShanghai: ZhongXi shuju 中西書局


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