Wednesday, December 8

Reading assignment:  The Spring and Autumn Annals

The Spring and Autumn Annals is one of the strangest books in the Chinese tradition, because it was clearly composed without the slightest intent of being important. Unlike the Yi jing, which it resembles in important ways, the composers of the Annals did not anticipate that their text would be interpreted as bearing any type of wisdom - secret or otherwise. Their text is essentially a bureaucratic log book, written for the files. Yet it came to be regarded by many as the most esoteric of all wisdom books, and that transformation will be the subject of Wednesday's class. Your online reading will introduce you to the text and provide samples to illustrate how, over its early history, it came to be understood.