Heaven and Earth in Early Han Thought: Chapters Three, Four, and Five of the Huainanzi

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SUNY Press, Jan 1, 1993 - Science - 388 pages
The Huainanzi has in recent years been recognized by scholars as one of the seminal works of Chinese thought at the beginning of the imperial era, a summary of the full flowering of early Taoist philosophy. This book presents a study of three key chapters of the Huainanzi, "The Treatise on the Patterns of Heaven," "The Treatise on Topography," and "The Treatise on the Seasonal Rules," which collectively comprise the most comprehensive extant statement of cosmological thinking in the early Han period.

Major presents, for the first time, full English translations of these treatises. He supplements the translations with detailed commentaries that clarify the sometimes arcane language of the text and presents a fascinating picture of the ancient Chinese view of how the world was formed and sustained, and of the role of humans in the cosmos.
 

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Contents

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS
1
A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO EARLY HAN COSMOLOGY
21
Tianwenxun THE TREATISE ON THE PATTERNS OF HEAVEN
53
Dixingxun THE TREATISE ON TOPOGRAPHY
139
Shicixun THE TREATISE ON THE SEASONAL RULES
215
A CHINESE ERATOSTHENES OF THE FLAT EARTH A Study of a Fragment of Cosmology in Huainanzi by Christopher Cullen
267
THE HEAVENLY STEMS THE EARTHLY BRANCHES AND THE SEXEGENARY CYCLE
289
Technical and Textual Notes
291
Reference Notes
321
Bibliography
345
Index
375
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About the author (1993)

John S. Major is Senior Editor of the Book-of-the-Month Club, Inc., formerly taught Chinese and Japanese history at Dartmouth College, and was the Director of the China Council of the Asia Society from 1984 to 1986. He is coauthor with Joseph Needham, et al. of The Hall of Heavenly Records and author of The Land and People of China.

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