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Song-Yuan xue an 宋元學案

Jun 30, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Song-Yuan xue an 宋元學案 "Scholarly annals of Song and Yuan Period [Confucians]" is a history of Song 宋 (960-1279) and Yuan 元 (1279-1368) period philosophy drafted by the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Huang Zongxi 黄宗羲 (1610-1695) and finished by his son Huang Baijia 黃百家, and Quan Zuwang 全祖望. Later on Wang Zicai 王梓材, Feng Yunhao 馮云濠 and Ren Shaoji 任紹基 undertook a critical revision of the book. It has thus a compilation history of more than a hundred years. The 100 juan "scrolls long final version, compiled by He Wen'an 何文安, is divided into 87 chapters arranged as "scholarly cases" (xue an 學案) reporting the main teachings of various philosophers and philosophical schools. Additionally, the book includes two "concise" descriptions (xuelüe 學略) and two "factional cases" (dang'an 黨案). The book describes the lives and teachings of more than 2,700 scholars, most of them Neo-Confucians of the Lian 濂, Luo 洛, Guan 關 and Min 閩 schools, and their opponents of the Xiangshan 象山, Yongjia 永嘉, Yongkang 永康 and Jinhua 金華 schools. The author himself seems to favour the teachings of the Lianxi 濂溪 and Xiangshan schools. At the beginning of the book, Quan Zuwang has added a preface of 88 chapters that explains the connections and developments of the various Neo-Confucian schools during the Song period. The authors added their own comments and criticism to the various philosophers and so provide a coherent overview oft his period in the history of Chinese thought.
The history of publication is likewise complicated. Planned to he printed in 1838 the final publication was delayed for four decades, until 1879, when it was printed in Changsha 長沙, Hunan, by Zhang Rulin 張汝霖. The Song-Yuan xue an is included in the reprint series Sibu beiyao 四部備要 and the specialized collectenaum Sichao xue an 四朝學案 that also includes Huang Zongxi's other philosophical histories, the Ming ruxue an 明儒學案 and Yuan ruxue an 元儒學案. Wang Zicai has added a supplement, the Song-Yuan xue an buyi 宋元學案補遺 that is included in the fifth series of the reprint series Siming congshu 四明叢書. Modern reprints have been published by the Zhonghua Book Company 中華書局 and in Huang Zongxi's collected works, the Huang Zongxi quanji 黃宗羲全集.

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