Zuo Qiuming, Zuoqiu Ming or Qiu Ming[note 1] (556–451 BCE or 502 – 422 BCE) was a Chinese historian who was a contemporary of Confucius. He lived in the State of Lu during the Spring and Autumn period. He was a historian, litterateur, thinker and essayist who worked as a Lu official.
The influential historical narrative Zuo Zhuan ("Commentary of Zuo") is traditionally attributed to him; as well as Guoyu ("Discourses of the States"). One tradition, according to the Records of the Grand Historian, holds that he was blind.
The basic philosophical outlook of Zuo Zhuan, attributed to Zuo Qiu Ming, is strongly Confucian in nature. The Zuo Zhuan's overarching theme is that haughty, evil, and stupid people generally bring disaster upon themselves, while those who are good, wise, and humble are usually justly rewarded. The Confucian principle of "ritual propriety" or "ceremony" (lǐ 禮) is seen as governing all actions, including war, and to bring bad consequences if transgressed. However, the observance of li is never shown as guaranteeing victory, and the Zuo Zhuan includes many examples of the good and innocent suffering senseless violence. Much of the Zuo Zhuan′s status as a literary masterpiece stems from its "relentlessly realistic portrayal of a turbulent era marked by violence, political strife, intrigues, and moral laxity".
The narratives of the Zuo Zhuan are highly didactic in nature, and are presented in such a way that they teach and illustrate moral principles. Unlike the Histories of Herodotus or the History of the Peloponnesian War of Thucydides, with which it is roughly contemporary, the Zuo Zhuan′s narration always remains in the third person perspective, and presents as a dispassionate recorder of facts. The German Sinologist Martin Kern observed: "Instead of offering authorial judgments or catechistic hermeneutics, the Zuo Zhuan lets its moral lessons unfold within the narrative itself, teaching at once history and historical judgment."
For instance, here Zuo Zhuan instructed how a 君子; jūnzǐ; 'noble man, gentleman, superior person' should behave.
Jing / Spring and Autumn Annals
In winter, Heigong, bringing Lan with him, came in flight.
Zhuan / Zuo
In winter, Heigong of Zhu, bringing Lan with him, came in flight. Although he was lowly, his name was written so as to show the importance of the land. The noble man said, "This is why one must be careful about names. Under certain circumstances it is better not to have fame. This man committed treason, bringing land with him, and though he was lowly, the land had to be recorded in writing. Thus, the man himself was named. In the end, his undutifulness could not be erased. Thus, the noble man ponders on ritual propriety whenever he acts and ponders on dutifulness whenever he moves. He does not deviate for the sake of profit and does not incur blame in matters of dutifulness. Some seek a name and do not achieve it, while others wish to hide their names but see them made public. That is the punishment for a failure of duty. [...]"— Duke Zhao's 31st year (511 BC) (Durrant, Li, and Schaberg, trans.)
Zuo Zhuan and Guoyu were both attributed to Zuo Qiuming.
Zuo Zhuan Edit
Zuo Zhuan is the earliest detailed and vividly narrated chronological history of China. At the same time, it is also a historical narrative with high literary quality. ("我国古代最早而又详细完备，叙事生动的编年史，同时也是文学成就很高的历史散文著作。")
Guo Yu Edit
Sima Qian first proposed that Zuo Qiuming was the author of Guoyu. Tang scholar Yan Shigu, while annotating Book of Han, also attributed Guoyu's authorship to Zuo Qiu Ming. Later other scholars doubted it and had different opinions on who is the author of Guo Yu, one example is Fu Xuan, who first raised the counterview that Zuo Qiuming isn't the author of Zuo Zhuan.
Guo Yu's compilation method is based on the classification of countries, in Chinese Guo; taking language, in Chinese Yu as the core, hence receives the name Guo Yu. ("它的编纂方法是以国分类，以语为主，故名'国语'.") Guo Yu is the first Chinese history book in national style. ("国语是第一部国别体史书。")
Historical Evaluations Edit
Zuo Qiu Ming is regarded as "the ancestor of hundreds of characters, the ancestor of ancient literature". ("百家文字之宗、万世古文之祖")
- The earliest extant mention of Zuo Zhuan is in Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian, where the narrative is named 左氏春秋 Zuǒshì Chūnqiū "Master Zuo's Spring and Autumn"; thus suggesting that the narrator's lineage surname (氏 shì) was 左 Zuǒ. Zhu Yizun 朱彝尊 (1629-1709) thought that the narrative's author bore a double-character surname 左丘 Zuǒqīu; Yu Zhengxie 俞正燮 (1775-1840) thought his surname is 丘 Qīu, while zuŏ 左 "was the designation of his office", short for zuǒshǐ 左史 "scribe to the left".
- Shiji "Volume 14 - Twelve Vassals' Chronology" quote: "魯君子左丘明懼弟子人人異端，各安其意，失其真，故因孔子史記具論其語，成左氏春秋。" Wai's 2013 translation: "A gentleman of Lu, Zuo Qiuming, was afraid that the disciples each had divergent ideas [about the meaning of the Annals], would be satisfied with his own conceptions, and lose the true meaning [of Confucius' messages]. Therefore he based himself on Confucius' scribal records, fully arrayed their words, and completed the Zuo Tradition of the Annals."
- Wai, Pauli (2013) Merging Horizons: Authority, Hermeneutics, and the Zuo Tradition from Western Han to Western Jin (2nd c. BCE -3rd c. CE) (PhD dissertation). University of California, Berkeley. p. 15-16
- Zhang, Weimin; Wang, Junlin (2001). "《左丘明姓氏推考》 A Study of Zuo Qiu ming's Family Names". 《管子学刊》 Guan Zi Journal (in Chinese). no. 1: 82–86. doi:10.3969/j.issn.1002-3828.2001.01.013.
- Theobald, Ulrich (2010) "Chunqiu 春秋 and Zuozhuan 左傳" ChinaKnowledge.de – An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art
- Zhou, Jixu (May 2011) "Confucius and Lao Zi" Their Differing Social Foundations and Cultures, Sino-Platonic Papers 211. p. 2
- Xing Lu (1998). Rhetoric in ancient China, fifth to third century, B.C.: a comparison with classical Greek rhetoric. University of South Carolina Press. p. 107. ISBN 1-57003-216-5.
- Sima Qian, Shiji, "Grand Historian's Autobiographical Postface". quote: "左丘失明，厥有國語"
- Analects "Gongye Chang" 25 quote: "子曰：「巧言、令色、足恭，左丘明恥之，丘亦恥之。匿怨而友其人，左丘明恥之，丘亦恥之。」". James Legge's translation: "The Master said, "Fine words, an insinuating appearance, and excessive respect – Zuo Qiu Ming was ashamed of them. I also am ashamed of them. To conceal resentment against a person, and appear friendly with him – Zuo Qiu Ming was ashamed of such conduct. I also am ashamed of it.""
- Wang, John C. Y. (1986). "Tso-chuan 左傳". In Nienhauser, William H. (ed.). The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 804–6.
- Wang (1986), p. 805.
- Watson, Burton (1989). The Tso chuan: Selections from China's Oldest Narrative History. New York，NY: Columbia University Press. pp. xviii-xix
- Durrant, Stephen (2001). "The Literary Features of Historical Writing". In Mair, Victor H. (ed.). The Columbia History of Chinese Literature. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 497 of pp. 493–510.
- Kern, Martin (2010). "Early Chinese literature, Beginnings through Western Han". In Owen, Stephen (ed.). The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature, Volume 1: To 1375. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 49 of pp. 1–115.
- Durrant, Stephen; Li, Wai-yee; Schaberg, David (2016). Zuo Tradition (Zuozhuan): Commentary on the "Spring and Autumn Annals". Seattle: University of Washington Press. pp. 1710-1711, 1714-1715
- Baichuan, Cheng. 中國文學大辭典 (in Chinese). 天津: 百川書局. ISBN 957-9651-02-7. OCLC 813872527.
- Sima Qian, "Letter to Ren An", in Book of Han "Vol. 62 - Account of Sima Qian" quote: "左丘失明，厥有國語"
- (东汉), 班固 (2019). 汉书. Si chuan mei shu chu ban she. ISBN 978-7-5410-7229-1. OCLC 1243205757.
- Ban Gu, Book of Han; annotated by Yan Shigu. "Vol. 30 - Treatises about Literature", main text: "國語二十一篇。", annotation: "左丘明著。"
- Kong Yingda, True Meaning of Chunqiu Zuozhuan "vol. 60: Duke Ai's 13th year - zhuan" p. 20 of 146, quote: "傅玄云：《國語》非丘明所作。凡有共說一事而二文不同，必《國語》虛而《左傳》實，其言相反，不可強合也。" translation: "Fu Xuan said: '′Discourses of the States′ was not authored by Qiu Ming. Wherever they both narrate one thing yet their wordings differ, certainly ′Zuo tradition′['s narrative] is authentic while ′Discourses of the States′['s narrative] is spurious. The contradictory wordings cannot be forcibly reconciled.' "
- Qiuming, Zuo (1 March 2016). Zuo Zhuan (in Classical Chinese). China: Zhonghua Book Company. ISBN 978-7-5348-6504-6. OCLC 1083218529.
- Li Daoyuan, Commentary on the Water Classic, "vol. 24 Wen river"; quote: "樂正子春謂其弟子曰：子適齊過肥，肥有君子焉。" translation: "Yuezheng Zichun said to his disciples: 'The Master went to Qi and passed by Fei; there was a gentleman in Fei'."
- Sima, Qian. Records of the grand historian of China (in Classical Chinese). ISBN 0-231-08164-2. OCLC 1162016514.