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The History of Chinese Buddhist Bibliography: Censorship and Transformation of the Tr ...

Chapter 1:  Chinese Catalogs of Traditional (Non-Buddhist) Literature
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The History of Chinese Buddhist Bibliography:

Chapter 1

Chinese Catalogs of
Traditional (Non-Buddhist)
Literature

Buddhist catalogs in China developed under the influence of a rich tradition of cataloging the Confucian classics and Chinese national literature, a tradition that started long before Buddhist scriptures were first translated into Chinese. Beginning with the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), book cataloging came to be viewed as a highly respectable field of knowledge and a task worthy of the most distinguished historians. Particularly, under the influence of two historians, Liu Xiang (79–8 BCE) and Ban Gu (32–92 CE), knowledge about books both lost and preserved, dynasties under whose rule books were written, and the lives of their authors became indispensable information—knowledge believed to have contributed to the advancement of civilization itself. Therefore, to fully appreciate the genre of catalog writing in the Chinese Buddhist tradition, one must first develop some understanding of traditional Chinese non-Buddhist catalog literature.1