CHAPTER 2
The Making of a Classic

Without the Ten Wings, it is extremely unlikely that the basic text of the Changes would have become anything more than a technical divination manual, one of many such documents circulating in the late Warring States period. But as it turned out, this particular collection of commentaries, which evolved over several centuries, proved ideally suited to the political, social, intellectual, and cultural climate of China during the long and distinguished reign of Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty (r. 141–87 BCE). In the first place, the Ten Wings reflected the eclecticism, cosmology, and “Confucian” values that came to be esteemed by Emperor Wu’s scholarly advisers. But perhaps even more important, although the individual wings were quite heterogeneous and obviously the products of different periods and editorial hands, Chinese scholars in the second century BCE, including the Grand Historian, Sima Qian (ca. 145–86 BCE), ascribed them to Confucius (ca. 551–479 BCE). This now-questionable association with the Sage invested the basic text with great stature and encouraged Chinese scholars from

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The I Ching: A Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Lives of Great Religious Books ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • The Hexagrams xi
  • Chronology of Chinese Dynasties xvii
  • Preliminary Remarks and Acknowledgments xix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One - The Domestic Evolution of the Yijing 15
  • Chaptar 1 - Genesis of the Changes 19
  • Chapter 2 - The Making of a Classic 48
  • Chapter 3 - Interpreting the Changes 75
  • Part Two - The Transnational Travels of the Yijing 125
  • Chapter 4 - The Changes in East Asia 129
  • Chapter 5 - The Westward Travels of the Changes 170
  • Concluding Remarks 211
  • Notes 225
  • Bibliography 251
  • Index 265
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