The Adaptive Commentary of Du Yu (222-284): Schematizing the Presence and Absence of "Norms" (li [phrase omitted]) in the Tri-Partite Annals through the Zuo Tradition.

Author:Tashima, Pauli
Position:Critical essay

    The commentary of Western Jin scholar Du Yu [phrase omitted] (222-284), courtesy name Yuankai [phrase omitted], dominates the premodern Chinese history of scholarship on the Zuo Tradition [phrase omitted] (ca. 4th c. BCE), traditionally treated as exegesis to the Spring and Autumn Annals [phrase omitted] (covering the period 722-479 BCE; hereafter Annals). One of Du's major commentaries, the Collected Explanations of the Classic and Tradition of the Annals (Chunqiu jingzhuan [phrase omitted], hereafter Jijie), (1) compiled in 283 CE and still virtually intact today in thirty fascicles (Juan [phrase omitted]), (2) ranks as the most influential commentary on the Zuo Tradition from early medieval China (2nd-7th c), while competing commentaries gradually disappeared. (3) Benefitting from his philological expertise, (4) scholars transmitted Du's commentary alongside other commentaries on the Zuo for most of the Six Dynasties, but by Sui times Du Yu's influence had eclipsed all others. (5) His influence led the Tang court to canonize Du's Jijie as the official commentary for the Chunqiu Zuozhuan zhengyi [phrase omitted] (Corrected meaning of the Annals and Zuo Tradition, compiled in 639, sixty fascicles). This canonization not only caused competing Six Dynasties commentaries to eventually become lost or severely fragmented, but also established Du's conception of the Annals and Zuo Tradition as authoritative. Aside from esteeming Du's work. Western scholarship has yet to look more closely at how Du Yu refashions previous ideas into new conceptions, instantiating such adaptations in both his discursive expositions and line-by-line comments. (6)

    Limited in range but relatively well preserved, Du Yu's extant corpus of textual exegesis consists of the Jijie and the Chunqiu shili [phrase omitted] (hereafter Shili), (7) both of which explicate the Annals and Zuo alike. (8) Du's glosses, annotations, and short comments on the chronologically intercalated Annals-Zuo text make up the bulk of the Jijie. (9) Approximately half of the original Shili remains, after the Siku quanshu editors salvaged the Shili from the damaged Yongle dadian [phrase omitted] (completed 1407) and patched it up with citations mostly from the Zuozhuan zhengyi. (10) Du's major expository works consist of a lengthy "Preface" (Chunqiu xu [phrase omitted], 1,610 characters) and a shorter "Postface" (Houxu [phrase omitted], 896 characters) to the Jijie, (11) as well as a "Concluding Chapter" (Zhongpian [phrase omitted], 877 characters salvaged) to the Shili. The Shili also contains discussions spanning a paragraph to a few pages on each of the forty-two topics he creates. (12) Throughout all of these works, Du Yu treats the Annals and Zuo Tradition as one integrated text, consistently using them to throw light on each other. (13)

    This article concentrates on a fraction of Du Yu's expository writings and running comments, (14) targeting his specific assertions about his tripartite conception of the Annals and the Zuo Tradition's ability to explicate that conception. Time and again, the Zuozhuan zhengyi editors express their inability to find precedent for this conception. (15) I have chosen only those textual examples that exemplify the theoretical principles behind Du's division of the Annals into three categories of meaning, as expounded upon in his discursive writings. Whereas the vast majority of Du's comments fail to touch upon this theoretical conception, because they primarily explicate objects, names, places, lexicon, etc., the examples considered here capture the instances when Du Yu "applies" his theoretical conceptions to his commentarial practice. (16)

    Du Yu both resists and adapts his predecessors' ideas, even as he practices Han scholars' dominant hermeneutic in assuming that moral judgments are intentionally embedded in the Annals' specific wording. (17) Making a novel contribution, he stratifies the Annals into three categories of material: he proposes that Western Zhou institutional norms compose the foundational category, the product of Confucius' editorial work composes the secondary category, and straightforward historical records compose the final category. Meanwhile, Du champions the unofficial Zuo Tradition exclusively as the exponent par excellence of this segmented Annals, while he dismisses the rival Gongyang [phrase omitted] and Guliang [phrase omitted] exegetical traditions, which had been made official long ago in the Western Han. (18) Whereas Han commentators on the Zuo voluntarily borrow the ideologies or interpretations of Gongyang/Guliang exegetes, (19) Du vocally rejects these borrowings in certain respects, and in this way seeks to dissociate himself from Han commentators: (20) for instance, Du disavows the Gongyang proponents' veneration of Confucius as the "uncrowned king" [phrase omitted] who "demoted Zhou and made Lu rule as kings" [phrase omitted]. (21) Whereas Gongyang/Guliang exegetes treat the Annals as one undifferentiated text attributed to Confucius alone, Du advances his own tripartite division of an Annals attributed to three kinds of authority, with Confucius figuring as only one of them. This paper examines both the conservative and innovative aspects of Du Yu's thought, revealing them as attempts calculated to elevate the Zuo Tradition above the Gongyang and Guliang traditions in status.

    This article joins a growing body of research on Chinese commentaries by studying how a major commentator in the Western Jin theorizes about the Annals and Zuo Tradition while both inheriting and redirecting the concerns of his Han predecessors. This essay neither details the formal characteristics of Du's comments nor tests the validity of his categorizations against the actual textual terrain of the Annals and Zuo, (22) Finally, my parallel treatment of Du Yu's expository writings and discrete comments illuminates the points at which his theoretical discourse and actual commentarial practice converge. (23)


    Part of Du Yu's adaptation lies in his argument that Western Zhou institutional culture forms the backbone of the Annals, (24) and that the Zuo Tradition offers exegesis that explicates this primary category of meaning. This argument represents Du's adaptation of the hagiography on the Duke of Zhou [phrase omitted] (personal name Dan [phrase omitted], ca. 11th c. BCE), developed over many centuries as writers idealized this figure by attaching to him an increasing number of virtues. (25) Contributing to this accretion of ideas about the duke, Du ascribes the creation of specific scribal rules to the duke also, thus adding a new spin to the cult of the Duke of Zhou expanding into the Han to Wei-Jin period. (26) By the Eastern Han, four of the Five Classics had at least been partially attributed to the duke, while the Annals remained the only Classic still solely attributed to Confucius. (27) Du Yu's ascription of the foundational part of the Annals to the duke gives a more hoary distinction to the Classic and elevates the status of Zuo's exegesis, particularly exegesis on parts of the Annals he claims date back to the Western Zhou. (28) As will be demonstrated shortly, Du Yu becomes the first scholar to designate the Duke of Zhou as the primary "co-author" of material incorporated into the Annals,

    2.1 General Scribal Norms as Zhou Paradigms

    In both Du Yu's "Preface" and his comments in the Jijie, he advances his conception of the Annals as a critical source preserving Western Zhou ritual and administrative models by stressing a connection between Lu scribal records and the Duke of Zhou, as first intimated in the Zuo Tradition. To highlight that the Lu annals embody the duke's charisma, Du quotes exact language (underlined below) from a well-known episode in the Zuo featuring Han Xuanzi [phrase omitted] (personal name Qi [phrase omitted] 566-514 BCE), as it is one of a few rare explicit references to a textual chunqiu [phrase omitted] in the Zuo: (29)

    Zuo Tradition (Zhao 2): [phrase omitted] (30) The Marquis of Jin sent Han Xuanzi here on an official visit.... He viewed documents kept at the offices of the Grand Scribe and saw the images of the Changes and the Lu annals. (31) He remarked, "All of the rituals of Zhou are in Lu. Only now do I understand the charismatic power of the Duke of Zhou and why Zhou ruled as kings." Du Yu's "Preface": [phrase omitted]. (32) When Han Xuanzi traveled to Lu, he saw the images of the Changes and the Lu annals. He remarked, "All of the rituals of Zhou are in Lu. Only now do I understand the charismatic power of the Duke of Zhou and why Zhou ruled as kings." The things Hanzi saw were presumably the old authoritative documents and ritual guidelines of Zhou. The above passage from Du's "Preface" is lifted almost directly out of the Zuo Tradition. The only important difference between the two passages is Du's addition of a declaration, after the word gai [phrase omitted] (presumably), (33)that the set of texts Han Xuanzi saw were the "old authoritative documents and ritual guidelines of Zhou" [phrase omitted]. Technically, as Han Xuanzi preceded the time of Confucius, the "Lu annals" in both passages here would not refer to the Annals Confucius authored/compiled, as first famously alluded to in Mencius 3B.9. (34) Instead, Du Yu defines the "Lu annals" partly with language adopted from Mencius 4B.21, the Shiji, and Hanshu, all of which allude to the historical sources Confucius drew upon: (35)

    Du Yu's comment in his Jijie (Zhao 2): [phrase omitted] The "Lu annals" are the scribal records on connected slips. These annals adhere to the authoritative documents of the Duke of Zhou to order affairs. The first part of Du Yu's definition of the Lu annals as "scribal records" represents a continuation of the older understanding that emphasizes the availability of source materials to Confucius. The Eastern...

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