Chinese Sages Series: A Selected Collection of the Great Learning
Language: English, modern Chinese, and classical Chinese
Published by Sinolingua, 2006
Format: Paperback, 100 pages, 145 mm x 210 mm
ISBN: 7802002176, 9787802002173
The Great Learning (大學 / 大学) is one of the Four Books (四书) which were selected by Zhu Xi during the Song Dynasty as foundational introduction to Confucianism. It was originally one chapter in the Book of Rites. A Selected Collection of the Great Learning contains chosen parts of the classic in classical Chinese, modern Chinese and English translation - with b&w illustrations.
The Chinese Sage Series contains the Four Books, which refers to the 4 canonical books of Confucianism, which have been compiled by the Neo-Confucian Zhu Xi in Song Dynasty:
大学 / 大學 Daxue (The Great Learning)
论语 / 論語 Lunyu (The Analects)
中庸 Zhongyong (The Doctrine of the Mean)
孟子 Mengzi (The Mencius)
A Selected Collection of the Great Learning, the Analects, the Doctrine of the Mean and Mencius, as a set of Chinese Sages Series, are compiled to introduce the essence of traditional Chinese culture to the world. These four books began to show their splendors as early as over 2400 years ago between the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States periods. Now they are published in classical-modern Chinese and English versions as a help to people of interest to know the basic ideas of Confucianism.
It has been generally agreed that The Great Learning, a component part of Liji (The Book of Rites), is the work of Confucians of the Qin and Han dynasties, though it has been said that it was written by Zeng Cen (505-436 B.C.), a disciple of Confucius. The fact that Sima Qian of the Han Dynasty authored The Meaning of “The Great Learning” indicates The Great Learning was already treasured at that time.
Zhu Xi of the Song Dynasty, following the ideas of Cheng Yi and Cheng Han, detached it from Liji, and, with a lifetime of meticulous effort, made it an independent book and a classic of Confucianism. It occupies an especially important place in the history of the development of Confucianism and Chinese traditional culture. It deserves careful reading if we are to understand and study Confucianism, and to spread its essence. But for a long time, only a few foreign-language versions of “The Great Learning” have been available. This greatly handicaps scholars and readers who study Chinese philosophy and Chinese culture through foreign languages. It also limits the spread of Chinese traditional culture.
Scholars who only speak foreign languages, and Chinese scholars who study and work abroad complain that China pays too little attention to the translation of ancient works of Chinese culture. If compared to Indian cultural legacy which is available in many foreign languages, especially English, Chinese traditional classics have been translated into relatively fewer foreign versions. And the few versions there are were written not by Chinese but by foreigners. The translation of Chinese classics can best be done if a modern Chinese version is available because it is much more difficult to translate directly from classical Chinese. Hence, Sinolingua plans to publish a series of foreign-language versions of Chinese classics, and The Great Learning is one of them.
The “Four Books” in classic Chinese-modern Chinese-English version published by Sinolingua have drawn great attention and now, as one of the Sages Series, A Selected Collection of the Great Learning is coming out. With more detailed explanations and fine illustrations, the book will be more practical and readable.