Monday, September 11, 2006

I have been handed a colorfully illustrated pdf file of a book from China - a modern-day replica of Sima Qian's Shi Ji. Dr. Chen and I argued once or twice about the validity of the historical "facts" in the Han dynasty text. He believes in its truths like Christians believe in the Bible. Perhaps it is his Chinese upbringing, perhaps it is because he also happens to be a Christian. I believe history almost certainly never accurately records events. Dr. Chen insists he is right, because, he claims, the Chinese government has found artifacts that back up what Sima Qian wrote.

We could argue back and forth through our precious lunch hour, but neither of us will know because we have not experienced history first-hand, have we? Plus, I'm trying to eat, not philosophize...

Nevertheless, it's clear we both love ancient Chinese history. I intend to read the book. It will be difficult because my Chinese is rusty, and thus far, slogging through the text (I am at Da Yu's construction plans) has made me drowsy...but I think I will get through because of my interest in knowing what was written, even if it was by one man 2000 years ago.


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