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Chinese Literature
Yiyinshu 伊尹書 "The Book of Governor Yi"


The Yiyinshu 伊尹書 "Book of Governor Yi" is a Daoist treatise attributed to the Shang period 商 (17th-11th cent. BCE) minister Yi Yin 伊尹, personal name Yi Zhi 伊挚. He was a counsellor of Tang the Perfect 成湯, the founder of the Shang dynasty. The imperial bibliography Yiwenzhi 藝文志 of the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書 lists a book Yiyinshu with a length of 51 chapters in the Daoist section and a book Yiyinshuo 伊尹說 "Stories of Governor Yi" with a length of 27 chapters in the section of novels. Both books are long since lost, but the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰 collected all surviving fragments in the books Yizhoushu 逸周書, Lüshu chunqiu 呂氏春秋, Qilüe 七略, Bielu 別錄, Shizi 尸子, Shuoyuan 說苑, Qimin yaoshu 齊民要術 etc. He came to 11 paragraphs that he was able to put together to 5 chapters. It is included in Ma's collectaneum Yuhan shanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書. It is not known which of the fragments come from the Yiyinshu, and which from the novella Yiyinshuo. The content of most fragments is actually not Daoist, but must be called "miscellaneous", following the traditional Chinese classification. About the date of compilation of the Yiyinshu, scholars do not have a common opinion, yet it seems that it must have been written as late as the Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE). It mainly deals with advices how to govern a state by means of decreting laws and statutes, and by exerting a rule of benevolence. This seems to be a mixture of legalist and Confucian concepts.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2277. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

Contents
四方令 Sifangling
本味 Benwei
先己 Xianji
九主 Jiuzhu
區田 Qutian
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

August 27, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail