A Discussion of the Meaning of the Character Shen (矧)
|Keywords:||尚書;王引之;語境;訓詁;Shangshu;Wang Yinzhi;Context;Classical exegisis||Issue Date:||Jun-2009||Source:||臺大中文學報||Start page/Pages:||001-050||Abstract:||
The character shen (矧) is commonly seen in the Shangshu (尚書). The commentary on this classic supposedly authored by Kong Anguo (孔傳) glosses this character consistently as kuang (況). This definition went unchallenged until Wang Yinzhi (王引之) suggested that in some cases glossing this character as kuang was not appropriate. Wang’s suggestion has been widely accepted, and since then some scholars have gone on to point out that there are even more instances in the Shangshu where shen should not be glossed as kuang.
In this article, we argue that, contrary to the assertions of Wang and others, shen can in fact be understood as kuang when it occurs in the Shangshu. It is just that in these questionable cases, shen is being used in a comparative sense for emphasis. In such cases, however, the object being used to set up the comparison is either omitted in the original text or is difficult to ascertain.
In this paper we will first look at how shen is used in other pre-Qin texts and, after screening out questionable examples, we will show that this character was indeed commonly glossed as kuang. From there, we will look at examples in which shen is used to indicate a sense of emphasis to see that an object of comparison is needed to achieve this sense. Next, we hypothesize that the reason why earlier scholars questioned glossing shen with kuang was due to the object of comparison in the sentence being either omitted or being difficult to ascertain. At the same time, we argue that from context it is possible to determine the object of comparison in each of these examples. As a result, we are not able to explain the text, we are also able to obtain a better understanding of the meaning of the original.
|Appears in Collections:||中國文學系|
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