An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Shijiu 史糾 and Du Shijiu miu 讀史糾謬

Feb 5, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald

Shijiu 史糾 "Entanglements in history" is a critique on history books written by the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Zhu Minghao 朱明鎬 (dates unknown), courtesy name Fengji 豐芑, who hailed from Taicang 太倉 (close to modern Changshu 常熟, Jiangsu).

The 6-juan long book discusses problems of historiography at the hand of selected texts, mostly the official dynastic histories like the Sanguozhi 三國志 or the Yuanshi 元史. Each chapter is dedicated to one history book and discusses the probabilities of statements.

At the end of the book, Zhu added comparative discussions about parallel passages in the official histories, the Shushi yitong 書史異同, as well as a chapter called Xin-Jiu tangshu yitong 新舊唐書異同 focusing on the Jiutangshu 舊唐書 and Xintangshu 新唐書. These two supplements are written in different style of the rest of the book, so it can be assumed that they were written by a different person and added later. The argumentative style of Zhu Minghao is very clear and proves that the author was a true expert on what he wrote about. The Shijiu is therefore a comparatively reliable critique on history books.

It is included in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Niu Yunzhen 牛運震 (1706-1785), courtesy name Jieping 階平, style Zhengu 真谷 or Kongshan 空山, from Ciyang 滋陽 (today's Yanzhou 兖州, Shandong) wrote a 15-juan long commentary on the Shijiu, called Du Shijiu miu 讀史糾謬.

He was magistrate (zhixian 知縣) of Pingfan 平番, Gansu, and put down the military revolt of Guyuan 固原 with the help of the local population, which cost him his job. Niu was interested in studies of the Confucian Classics, bronze and stone inscriptions and wrote several important books on these matters, namely the comments to the Classics Kongshan Yi jie 空山易解 and Kongshantang Chunqiu zhuan 空山堂春秋傳, two books on inscriptions, Jinshi jingyan lu 金石經眼錄 and Jinshitu 金石圖, and his commentary to the Shijiu.

Niu was of the opinion that Zhu Minghao's text was not arranged well and difficult to read, and therefore brought a new chronological order into the text, and added some information. Besides the new arrangement, he discussed Zhu's critique in a very balanced manner and rectified the original text in important points. There are, nonetheless, also some points where Niu brought forward inappropriate critique or presented mundane statements. The text is found in his collected writings Kongshantang quanji 空山堂全集.

Cong Yulong 叢玉龍 (2010)." Zhu Minggao yu Shijiu de pingshi lilun 朱明鎬與《史糾》的評史理論", Puyang Zhiye Jishu Xueyuan xuebao 濮陽職業技術學院學報, 2010 (4)
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 1520, 1531.
Qu Lindong 瞿林東 (2009). "Du Shijiu miu yu lidai zhengshi 《讀史糾謬》與歷代代正史", Qingshi yanjiu 清史研究, 2009 (8).