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Commentaries on the Confucian Classics

Oct 5, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

The number of commentaries written on the Confucian Classics is vast, yet only a relatively handy number of commentaries and collections of such played an important role in the history of Chinese thought. These are the standard commentaries to the Classics, as combined in the paradigmatic collection Shisanjing zhushu 十三經注疏, with the important edition of the late Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ruan Yuan 阮元 (1764-1849).

The commentaries on each classic were embedded in the subcategories to the Classics category of the 18th-century series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, while the texts of the Classics themselves are not separately reproduced there. Besides commentaries on individual Classics, there were also commentaries to groups of them, be it the three ritual classics (sanli 三禮: Zhouli 周禮, Liji 禮記, and Yili 儀禮), the Five Classics (wujing 五經: Yijing 儀經, Shangshu 尚書, Shijing 詩經, Liji, and Chunqiu-Zuozhuan 春秋左傳), the Four Books (sishu 四書: Lunyu 論語, Mengzi 孟子, Daxue 大學, and Zhongyong 中庸), the Nine Classics (jiujing 九經, varying titles), or the whole corpus of the Thirteen Classics (shisanjing 十三經).

Other commentaries tried to fathom the meaning of the whole corpus. There was also a small number of private ritual regulations, the most important of which was Zhu Xi's 朱熹 (1130-1200) "house rituals" Jiali 家禮.

The table below provides access to a selected number of important commentaries on the Confucian Classics, and collections of commentaries in the shape of so-called congshu series.

Table 1. Commentaries on the Classics
For essential commentaries on individual Classics (e.g. Kong Yingda's 孔穎達 Maoshi zhengyi 毛詩正義), see the respective Classic.
Part of Siku quanshu 四庫全書
Part of Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書
發墨守 一卷
箴膏肓 一卷
起廢疾 一卷
Fa moshou
Zhen gaohuang
Qi Feiji
(Han) 鄭玄 Zheng Xuan
三禮圖 * Sanlitu (Han) 鄭玄 Zheng Xuan
五經異義 *
駁五經異義 一卷
Wujing yiyi
Bo Wujing yiyi
(Han) 許慎 Xu Shen
(Han) 鄭玄 Zheng Xuan
毛詩草木鳥獸蟲魚疏 二卷 Maoshi caomu niaoshou chongyu shu (Sanguo-Wu) 陸璣 Lu Ji
五經大義 * Wujing dayi (Jin) 戴逵 Dai Kui
五經正義 * Wujing zhengyiSeries (Tang) 孔穎達 Kong Yingda (comp.)
鄭志 三卷 Zhengzhi (Wei) 鄭小同 Zheng Xiaotong
經典釋文 三十卷 Jingdian shiwen (Tang) 陸德明 Lu Deming (comp.)
三禮圖集注 二十卷 Sanlitu jizhu (Five Dynasties) 聶崇義 Nie Chongyi
六經正誤 六卷 Liujing zhengwu (Song) 毛居正 Mao Juzheng
禹貢指南 四卷 Yugong zhinan (Song) 毛晃 Mao Huang
禹貢說斷 四卷 Yugong shuoduan (Song) 傅寅 Fu Yin
禮書 百五十卷 Lishu (Song) 陳祥道 Chen Xiangdao
相臺五經 (相臺九經) * Xiangtai wujing (Xiangtai jiujing) → Series (Song) 岳珂 Yue Ke
書儀 十卷 Shuyi (Song) 司馬光 Sima Guang
家禮 (朱子家禮) 五卷 Jiali (Zhuzi jiali) (Song) 朱熹 Zhu Xi
四書章句集注 十九卷 Sishu zhangju jizhuSeries (Song) 朱熹 Zhu Xi
五經大全 百二十八卷 Wujing daquan (Ming) 胡廣 Hu Guang (comp.)
四書大全 四十卷 Sishu daquan (Ming) 胡廣 Hu Guang (comp.)
禹貢圖說 (續修) Yugong tushuo 1) (Ming) 鄭曉 Zheng Xiao, 2) (Qing) 周之翰 Zhou Zhihan, 3) 馬俊良 Ma Junliang, 4) 譚沄 Tan Yun
經學五書 * Jingxue wushu (Ming/Qing) 萬斯大 Wan Sida
通志堂經解 Tongzhitang jingjieSeries (Qing) 納蘭性德 Nalan Xingde
古微書 三十六卷 GuweishuSeries (Ming) 孫瑴 Sun Que
九經集解 (介庵經說) 十卷 (續修) Jiujing jijie (Jie'an jingshuo) (Qing) 雷學淇 Lei Xueqi
禹貢錐指 二十卷 Yugong zhuizhi (Qing) 胡渭 Hu Wei
(惜抱軒)九經說 十七卷 (續修) (Xibaoxuan) Jiujingshuo (Qing) 姚鼐 Yao Nai
九經古義 十六卷 Jiujing guyi (Qing) 惠棟 Hui Dong
群經補義 五卷 Qunjing buyi (Qing) 江永 Jiang Yong
禮書綱目 八十五卷 Lishu gangmu (Qing) 江永 Jiang Yong
古經解鉤沉 三十卷 Gu jingjie gouchen (Qing) 余蕭客 Yu Xiaoke
國朝漢學師承記 八卷 (續修) Guochao hanxue shicheng ji (Qing) 江藩 Jiang Fan
十三經注疏 Shisanjing zhushuSeries (Qing) 阮元 Ruan Yuan (comp.)
皇清經解 Huang-Qing jingjieSeries (Qing) 阮元 Ruan Yuan (comp.)
皇清經解續編 Huang-Qing jingjie xubianSeries (Qing) 王先謙 Wang Xianqian (comp.)
古經解彙函 Gu jingjie huihanSeries (Qing) 鐘謙鈞 Zhong Qianjun (comp.)