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The Most Venerable Book


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The various authors of The Most Venerable Book (Shang Shu) are anonymous. There are many arguments about the age and authenticity of the different sections. Parts of the text were never recovered after The First Emperor's attempts to eradicate it, other parts are clearly later. Some sections have been retrieved from tombs dating to the 3rd century BC and the last additions were made in the 4th century AD. Martin Palmer (who translated the book with Victoria Finlay and Jay Ramsay) is Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education and Culture (ICOREC) and Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC). His previous translations include The Book of Chuang Tzu (Penguin Classics), The Dao de Jing and The I Ching.


The text is alive with the deeds and misdeeds of Chinese rulers, some told in graphic and gory detail . . . Palmer's introduction is witty and eschews any sign of academic-speak . . . There has been a revival in interest in China in Confucian ethics in recent years as people search for moral points of reference . . . The Shang Shu is part of this, and Martin Palmer has presented the English reading audience with an excellent route to an understanding of these ideas * China Daily - European Weekly *

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