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    This web site contains the full scholarly apparatus for the book The Art of War by Sun Tzu, translated by the Denma Translation Group (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 2001). That work consists of a translation of the Sun Tzu with commentary and essays. This site addresses the textual issues that lie behind the Denma group's choices of translation. It is written by Kidder Smith.

    Electronic media allow levels of annotation not often possible in print versions of a text. In this document we discuss the interpretation of individual words, offer arguments in the exegesis of each passage, note parallels with other texts, and consider these ideas against China's broader history. We also address issues of a specifically textual nature, providing three versions of the Chinese text: a critical edition, the archaeologically recovered text from Yinqueshan, and the Song dynasty version of the received text found in the Shiyijia zhu Sunzi as edited by Guo Huaruo. Though we note important textual variants, we do not seek to include them all. That has been accomplished in part by Wu Jiulong (Sunzi jiaoshi) and in its totality by Huang Weibo (Sunzi shisanpian jijiao bianzheng).

    In nearly every instance our edition follows the Yinqueshan text, referred to in The Art of War as "the bamboo text." We prefer it for several reasons. It is a witness from the early second century B.C., almost 400 years before the commentary of Cao Cao, itself preserved only through the manuscript traditions. Even more important, in two main regards its variant readings are almost always stronger than the received text. First, their logic is often more difficult. For example, in chapter 4 the received text says, "Attack when you have a surplus, defend when you are insufficient," which maintains the military convention of gaining victory through attack. The Yinqueshan text, however, points to the vulnerability of attack and the subtle power of defense, saying "Defend and one has a surplus. Attack and one is insufficient." Second, the diction of the Yinqueshan text is generally cruder than the received text, which tends to transform it into the parallel constructions admired in Chinese prosody. Thus, also in chapter 4, the Yinqueshan text says, "One skilled at defense hides below the nine earths and moves above the nine heavens." The received text reads: "One skilled at defense hides below the nine earths, one skilled at attack moves above the nine heavens." We are convinced that the Yinqueshan manuscript preserves an extremely strong witness of the Sunzi, but we will argue this out on a case-by-case basis in what follows.

    That manuscript contains only about forty percent of the received text. Where it is missing, we sometimes modify the text in light of the medieval encyclopedias, especially the Tongdian �q�� and the Taiping yulan �ӥ��s��. These, of course, are not always reliable, and we provide a detailed line of reasoning each time we follow their readings.

    The single best guide to these variants is Yang Bing'an's Sunzi huijian. His extensive knowledge of the ancient corpus has also directed us to parallel passages in numerous texts, from Spring and Autumn through Tang times. The works we have most used are:

      �ȳ��s�~�Ӧ�²��z�p�աA�ȳ��s�~�Ӧ�², vol. 1 (1985)
      �����w�A�]�l�|�� (�e�n�G���w�j�y�A 1986)
      �d�E�s�A�]�l���� (1990)
      ���s�A�]�l�j����s (1995)
      ���s�A�d�]�l�o�L (1997)
      ���ƭY�A�Q�@�a�`�]�l (1973)
      �G�}��A�]�l���� (�x�_�G�ǥ͡A 1974)
      �����աA�]�l�Q�T�g��տ륿 (�����G�_��A 1995)

    We have also benefited from the use of D.C. Lau, ed., A Concordance to the Militarists in the ICS Ancient Chinese Text Concordance Series (Taipei: Commercial Press, 1992).

    We have indicated rhyming passages throughout. Jiang Yougao's ������ Yinxue shishu ���ǤQ�� identifies only a small portion of the Sunzi rhymes. Long Yuchun's �s�t�� "XianQin sanwenzhong di yunwen" �������夤������ (Chung Chi Journal, 2.2 [1963], pp. 137ff.) contains a few additions. Our work has identified many more. We include non-standard near-rhymes whenever the rhyming intent of the passage has seemed clear, providing in every case the reconstruction of early pronunciation as indicated in Zhou Fagao's �P�k�� A Pronouncing Dictionary of Chinese Characters (Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 1974).

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