What is the Book of Documents?

The “Shu-Jing,” or the book sometimes translated as “The Book of Documents,” is an obscure compilation of speeches and records of major political conversations dating back to Confucian China. The speeches typically take place between a king/emperor and his ministers.

Tradition holds that Confucius, himself, compiled the text. It was revised and re-worked over time leading to discrepancies between the “old text” and a “new text.” Even prominent writers like Mencius did not accept the authority of the text, after previous Han, Zhou, and Song dynasty revisions of the book.

It is a cryptic book that yields very little save for a glimpse into the aristocratic dogma of ancient China.

For this brief reading I used the James Legge translation.

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