in the 漢官解詁 “Wei Wu Ti strung together Sun Wu’s Art of War,” which in turn may have resulted from a misunderstanding of the final words of Ts‘ao Kung’s preface: 故撰為略解焉. This, as Sun Hsing-yen points out, is only a modest way of saying that he made an explanatory paraphrase, or in other words, wrote a commentary on it. On the whole, the theory has met with very little acceptance. Thus, the 四庫全書 says: “The mention of the 13 chapters in the Shih Chi shows that they were in existence before the Han Chih, and that later accretions are not to be considered part of the original work. Tu Mu’s assertion can certainly not be taken as proof.”
There is every reason to suppose, then, that the 13 chapters existed in the time of Ssŭ-ma Ch‘ien practically as we have them now. That the work was then well known he tells us in so many words: “Sun Tzŭ’s 13 Chapters and Wu Ch‘i’s Art of War are the two books that people commonly refer to on the subject of military matters. Both of  But as we go further back, serious difficulties begin to arise. The salient fact, which has to be faced is that the Tso Chuan, the great contemporary record, makes no mention whatever of Sunare widely distributed, so I will not discuss them here.”
- See 孫子兵法序
- Ch. 99, fol. 5 r°
- Shih Chi, ch. 65 ad fin: 世俗所稱師旅皆道孫子十三篇吳起兵法世多有故弗論.