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The Xinshu 新書 Reexamined: An Emphasis on Usability over Authenticity

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DOI: 10.4236/chnstd.2013.21002    4,278 Downloads   9,162 Views   Citations
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ABSTRACT

A collection of texts conventionally ascribed to Jia Yi 賈誼 (200-168 BC), the Xinshu 新書 has been subjected to an ages-long debate regarding its authenticity. The present study disclaims the discovery of any adequate evidence to prove the text trustworthy; but it finds the arguments for its forgery ill founded. Rather than present merely an account of this dilemma or attempt to corroborate either position in the debate, this paper argues against the approach in textual criticism that views early texts through a dualistic prism of authenticity vs. forgery. A case of forgery should be established upon no less concrete evidence than should one of authenticity. The mere lack of positive evidence can hardly be regarded or used as any negative evidence to disprove a text. Given the dilemma, the paper suggests treating the Xinshu nonetheless as a workable and even currently reliable source for our study of Jia Yi until that very day dawns upon us with any unequivocal evidence of its forgery detected or, better still, excavated.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Luo, S. (2013). The Xinshu 新書 Reexamined: An Emphasis on Usability over Authenticity. Chinese Studies, 2, 8-24. doi: 10.4236/chnstd.2013.21002.

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