The two most shameless offenders in this respect are Wu Ch‘i and Huai-nan Tzŭ, both of them important historical personages in their day. The former lived only a century after the alleged date of Sun Tzŭ, and his death is known to have taken place in 381 B. C. It was to him, according to Liu Hsiang, that 曾申 Tsêng Shên delivered the Tso Chuan, which had been entrusted to him by its author. Now the fact that quotations from the Art of War, acknowledged or otherwise, are to be found in so many authors of different epochs, establishes a very strong probability that there was some common source anterior to them all, — in other words, that Sun Tzŭ’s treatise was already in existence towards the end of the 5th century B. C. Further proof of Sun Tzŭ’s antiquity is furnished by the archaic or wholly obsolete meanings attaching to a number of the words he uses. A list of these, which might perhaps be extended, is given in the Hsü Lu; and though some of the interpretations are doubtful, the main argument is hardly affected thereby. Again, it must not be forgotten that Yeh Shui-hsin, a scholar and critic of the ﬁrst rank, deliberately pronounces the style of the 13 chapters to
- See Legge's Classics, vol. V, Prolegomena p. 27. Legge thinks that the Tso Chuan must have been written in the 5th century, but not before 424 B. C.
- The instances quoted are: — III. 14, 15: 同 is said to be equivalent to 冒; II. 15: 𦮼 = 萁; VII. 28: 歸 = 息; XI. 60: 詳 = 佯; XI. 24: the use of 鬥 instead of 鬭 (the later form); XI. 64: 誅 = 治; IX. 3: 絶 = 越; III. 11: 周 and 隙 antithetically opposed in the sense of 無缺 and 有缺; XI. 56: 犯 = 動; XI. 31: 方 = 縛.
either the substance or the actual words have been appropriated by early authors: VII. 9.; IX. 17; I. 24 (戰國策). IX. 23; IX. 1, 3, 77; V. 1; III. 18; XI. 58; VII. 31; VII. 24; VII. 26; IX. 15; IX. 4 (bis) (吳子). III. 8; IV. 7 (尉繚子). VII. 19; V. 14; III 2 (鶡冠子). III. 8; XI. 2; I. 19; XI. 58; X. 10 & VI. 1 (史記. Two of the above are given as quotations). V. 13; IV. 2 (呂氏春秋). IX. 11, 12; XI. 30; I. 13; VII 19 & IV. 7; VII. 32; VII. 25; IV. 20 & V. 23; IX. 43; V. 15; VII. 26; V. 4 & XI. 39; VIII. 11; VI. 4 (淮南子). V. 4 (太元經). II. 20; X. 14 (潛夫論).