The Book of Lord Shang: Apologetics of the State Power in Early China

Shang Yang StatueYuri Pines: Research support from the Israeli Science Foundation, 2011-2014

My new study deals with The Book of Lord Shang, one of the major ideological texts of the Warring States period (453-221 BCE). This text is attributed to the famous reformer from the state of Qin, Shang Yang (d. 338 BCE); it presents in the most blatant way the idea of a “total state” which fully subjugates society, eliminates any autonomous source of power, intervenes in the lives of its inhabitants in every imaginable sphere, commits everybody to agriculture and warfare, and creates thereby the new sociopolitical order. I plan to provide a full translation of the book into English, supplementing it with a comprehensive study its composition and dating, and providing a new analysis of the book’s ideological and historical significance. This study will not only renew the scholarly interest in the long neglected important text, but also to serve as a foundation for the future comprehensive study of the state-society relations in pre-imperial China