, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 535-557

The obscuration and rediscovery of the original Confucian thought of moral politics: Deciphering work on the Guodian, Shangbo and the transmitted versions of Ziyi


By analyzing the author of Ziyi 缁衣 (Black Costumes) as well as Ziyi’s transmission and evolution by studying and analyzing the ancient text, one can see that Ziyi was a work of Zisi or the Zisi and Mencius School. Comparing the similarities and differences between the transmitted version of Ziyi and its Guodian 郭店 and Shangbo 上博 versions, one finds that the original version of Ziyi had been significantly revised by Confucian classics teachers in the unstable political and social climate during the Western Han Dynasty, specifically, the thought of moral politics of the original Confucians contained in the work was garbled and concealed, and the idea of law and the legal system was highlighted accordingly. The uncovered Guodian and Shangbo versions of Ziyi have removed the shroud that Confucians in the Han Dynasty had spread over it for 2, 000 years, revealing the thought of moral politics of the original Confucians.


运用文献考据和思想考古的方法对 «缁衣» 的作者及其传承演变情况进行分析, 可以看出 «缁衣» 原本为子思或思孟学派的著述。 比较 «缁衣» 传世本与郭店本和上博本的异同, 可以看出 «缁衣» 原本在西汉专制政治社会环境中被经师作了重大改动, 其中包涵的原始儒家德性政治思想被混淆和遮蔽, 而纲纪观念相应得以凸显。 «缁衣» 郭店本和上博本的面世, 拂开了汉儒笼盖其上的长达2000 年之久的假面, 使原始儒家德性政治思想得以重光。

Translated by Huang Deyuan from Kongzi Yanjiu 孔子研究 (Confucius Studies), 2007, (1): 30–41