Introduction: the excavated Guodian 郭店 bamboo manuscripts

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Newly recovered ancient Chinese texts, particularly those found in the last 40 years, have provided numerous fresh insights into our understanding of Chinese intellectual history and the development of early Chinese thought. Among the manuscript treasures are some 800 bamboo slips found in a fourth-century bce tomb in the village of Guodian 郭店, near Jingmen 荆門 City, Hubei 湖北, China. Discovered in 1993, these texts and their archaeological contexts bear invaluable evidence of development in early Chinese thought, history, culture, and language, some of which have been lost for more than 2000 years. They have augmented the transmitted record with original materials, providing new insight into the formation of socio-political and ethical systems, and challenging the traditional typology of schools of thought and genres. Interred in an early tomb, as the contributors will show in this volume, these recovered documents present philosophical debates and conceptualizations different from those found in the so-called received texts—those that have been continuously handed down to the present. Crucially, the excavated texts have been preserved from centuries of selection and redaction that have adulterated the transmitted corpora. As such, the Guodian manuscripts offer a unique opportunity to re-explore the philosophical discourse in ancient China.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDao companion to the excavated Guodian bamboo manuscripts
EditorsShirley Chan
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783030046330
ISBN (Print)9783030046323
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameDao Companions to Chinese Philosophy
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISSN (Print)2211-0275
ISSN (Electronic)2542-8780


  • Chinese philosophy
  • ancient history
  • excavated texts
  • Classical Chinese
  • Chinese language
  • Chinese history


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