定位, 宗親, 后戚, 揚善懲惡, 九品論人, 《七略》, 裁士
The “Tables of Ancient and Contemporary Individuals” and “Monograph on Belles-lettres” comprise two sections of the Hanshu (History of the Former Han Dynasty), but how they are related to each other has remained unheeded in relevant scholarship. The present study examines the author’s placement of certain important historical figures in the “Tables” and his positive or negative evaluation of them. This historiographical approach and practice is in fact quite similar to that of the “Monograph.” Although the Hanshu is attributed to Ban Gu (32–92), the “Monograph” was for the most part derived from Liu Xiang (77–6 B.C.) and his son Liu Xin’s (d. A.D. 23) Seven Synopses and Classified Catalogue. This allows a speculation: given the similarities between the “Tables” and “Monograph,” the former might also have been drafted by the Lius. Following this logic, the present essay is a comparative study of some selected historical figures and analyzes the rationales behind their three-grade classification system (in which each individual is classified as “high,” “middle,” or “low”). The comparison between this appraisement system and that of the Liu father and son shows that they indeed share some intrinsic similarities. Therefore, it is possible to attribute the “Tables” to Liu Xiang and Liu Xin. There is much room for further consideration and reflection on the “Tables” in modern scholarship.
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