Over the last few decades a large number of bamboo manuscripts of hitherto unknown texts dating to the 4th to the 1st centuries BCE have been excavated from various sites in China. This wealth of new material has led many scholars to rethink longstanding assumptions about early Chinese thought. In order to enable students to engage directly with the recently discovered texts and cutting-edge research on them, this course will briefly introduce students to the received classics of the pre-Qin period, such as the Analects, the Mozi, the Mencius, the Xunzi, the Daodejing, the Zhuangzi, and the Hanfeizi. Rather than merely providing an introduction to these traditional texts, we will study how recently discovered texts challenge traditional readings of pre-Qin works and lead us to question traditional classifications of pre-Qin works into “schools of thought” or isms such as Confucianism, Legalism, Daoism, etc.

Gen Eds: PH, WB