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ShiziChina's First Syncretist$
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Paul Fischer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159067

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159067.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Paul Fischer
Columbia University Press

This book presents the first full English translation of China's first overtly Syncretist text, the Shizi. As an early form of Chinese Syncretism, the Shizi presents a simple blending of philosophies that were current c. 300 BCE. As such, it offers a glimpse into several themes that probably enjoyed a broad consensus during this watershed period in China's intellectual history. Authored by Shi Jiao (c. 390–330 BCE), the Shizi engages topics ranging from the cosmic order to the importance of learning, the utility of timeliness, the exploits of sage-rulers, and the logic of results-based practicality. This book describes the content and history of the Shizi, contextualizes the text within its intellectual milieu and its relevance to modern academia, and analyzes its main themes. It also traces the transmission of the Shizi from its earliest attestation down through the last of its several reconstructions. The book concludes with an annotated translation of the Shizi.

Keywords:   intellectual history, China, Shizi, Syncretism, Shi Jiao, cosmic order, learning, timeliness, sage-ruler

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