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Title: The study on Xushen's explanations of words in ancient literal meaning and the mystery culture of West and East Han dynasties
Other Titles: Xu Shen de zi yi xun gu yu liang Han de shen mi wen hua
Authors: Choi, Wai Yuk ( 蔡維玉)
Department: Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Mysticism -- China -- History.
Chinese language -- Religious aspects.
Notes: CityU Call Number: BL1812.M94 C45 2011
iv, 2, 301, 20, 23, 10 leaves : ill. 30 cm.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2011.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 287-300)
Type: thesis
Abstract: On the premise of mysterious culture, this study explores the roots underlying the fact that Xu Shen managed to interpret Chinese characters with the concept of I-Ching, Yin and Yang, Five Elements and Divination of Confucian. Xu Shen did not author Shuo Wen Jie Zi for the purpose of entertainment, nor did he intend to chase after the literal meaning of Chinese characters. The authors argue that he wrote the book to reach three ends, namely to explain Confucius classics; to understand and to learn Confucianism; and to fulfill personal ambition. Apart from the academic influences of his time, the purposes is his own academic orientation as well. Moreover, the author manages to address the following issues. A thorough exploration of Xu Shen's interpretation, in the opinion of the author, he based mostly on the Confucian Classics, while adopting some of the arugments and concepts in Weishu. Old Text School and New Text School have different views on mysterious culture. The author thinks that Xu Shen's explanations of the Chinese characters are not confined to the doctrines of either the Old or the New Text School, although he is good at both. In order to make his explanations convincing to the readers, Xu Shen's explanations of the Chinese characters entail the useful ideas of many other scholars. This made his explanations objective, convincing, but in a sense conservative. However, since dictionaries should comply with the basic principle of objectivity, conservatism may turn out to be an advantage of Xu Shen's explanations. Shuo Wen Jie Zi has 540 radicals. It starts from "Yi(一)", ends by "Hai(亥)", which indicates the continuous nature of the life cycle. Xu Shen has repeatedly emphasized the natural life cycle and reproduction when explaining the Heavenly Stems, Earthly Branches and Numeral system. The author believes that Xu Shen's analyses not only take into account of the principles used to explain the Confucius classics, but also reflect his intention to establish a plank road to the kingdom of mysterious culture by referring to the ideas of I-Ching, Yin and Yang and Five Elements. He intends to build up a kingdom of characters which provides a perfect structure to the reproduction of characters. As a whole, the author believes that Xu Shen's explanation of Chinese characters has great influence on later scholars. He helps later generations learn about ancient Chinese astronomy,techniques and figure-ology,history, politics, culture and so on. This dissertation conducted an investigation on Xu Shen's explanations of words in Ancient literal meaning from the perspective of "mysterious culture". It is found out that Xu Shen's explanations not only reveal his ideal and academic ideology, but also provide us with important clues and evidence to understand the mysterious Chinese culture. 本文以「神秘文化」為線索,藉此探求許慎以《易》學、陰陽、五行、讖 緯等思想概念解釋字義的原因。許慎撰寫《說文解字》並不是爲了自娛,也不 是爲了追求文字本義,他的目的有三:其一,為了解說儒家典籍;其二,輔助 後人瞭解、學習儒家思想;其三,施展個人抱負。因此,本文認為許慎如此為 之,除了是時代風氣薰染之外,亦是他個人的學術取向。 上述是本文申述的主要觀點,此外,文中還討論了以下幾個問題: 通過整理許慎對文字訓詁的解說,本文認為許慎對於文字的解說,儘量都 以儒經記述的內容為本,此外亦有部份解釋採納了緯書的觀點和概念。但他基 本採用儒經為主,緯書為輔的原則。 關於神秘文化的問題,古文經和今文經學派多持不同的論點,筆者據許慎 對文字的解說,以為他雖以古文經見稱,兼擅今文經,不以一家之見拘囿學術 的視野。 為使解說「信而有徵」,許慎對文字的解說,一般都結合了多人之見,其 優點在於客觀清晰,具說服力;缺點卻流於保守。然而,作為「工具書」而言, 「客觀」是最重要的原則,以此觀之,保守反而也了優點之一。 《說文解字》共設部敘五百四十部,首尾「始一終亥」,此安排含有生命 循環之意。書中對天干、地支、數目字的解說也一再強調生命的繁衍與循環。 本文認為許慎在進行字義訓詁的同時,不光考慮到解釋儒經的原則,並在書中 以《易》學、陰陽、五行等思想為線索,另修棧道通往神秘文化的國度。其意 在於建立一個文字的國度,使文字的生息、繁衍都得以在這個國度的架構下順 利進行。 整體來說,本文認為許慎對文字的解說對後學產生了重要的影響力。他通 過對文字的訓詁幫助後人認識了古代的天文、術數、歷史、政治和文化等方面 的概況。本文以神秘文化的角度,對其字義訓詁進行研究,認為其中解說不但 展現了他的理想和學術思想,也對我們瞭解中國的神秘文化提供了大量的重要 線索和依據。
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