- Hardcover: 536 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (April 8, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0520233220
- ISBN-13: 978-0520233225
- Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,727,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen: Nature, Knowledge, Imagery in an Ancient Chinese Medical Text 1st Edition
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Top customer reviews
While not a book for the general public looking for lay information on Chinese medicine, this is a must read for those interested in the history of medicine, Chinese culture, and the influence prevailing cultural paradigms can have on even medical thought. Students and practitioners of Chinese medicine should also find this book valuable as there is so little documented information on the roots of this rapidly growing healing tradition.
I would also like to add that I do not believe Unschuld set out to do a hatchet job on holistic concepts as one reviewer seemed to think. I am a supporter of such concepts and do not always agree with everything Unschuld concludes. I feel however, that although one may disagree with some of his conclusions, one cannot argue with the scholarly rigor with which he supports those conclusions. This is a great book for the right audiance and will undoubtedly stand as a valuable reference for years to come.
As others have noted, this is not a translation of the Su Wen, but a thorough commentary. It could also be titled "Everything You Could Possibly Want to Know About the Su Wen." Unschuld is an expert in this field and I'm not sure what a previous reviewer meant by self appointed. I think his experience, education, previous works, and position as director of his academic department speak for themselves!
I don't agree with every conclusion the author makes, but I love mulling over the issues he brings up.
Yes, this book is scholarly, and you may need a dictionary here and there. But is that a bad thing?
It is not for someone who just wants to practice in blissful ignorance. It is not for a beginning student. It is not for someone who wants to mystify Chinese medicine.
It is for those who want to find deeper ways of looking at our medicine, and for those who like a little challenge to their own way of thinking. I will happily pre-order any book Unschuld writes.
It is critical to note that Dr. Unschuld scoffs at nothing. Dr. Unschuld apparently fails to treat the theme of "holistic" Chinese medicine with the hands-off reverence Mr. Iannone apparently demands. But this is Mr. Iannone's ax to grind and scoffing at holism is neither Dr. Unchuld's theme nor a fair description of the text. Chinese medicine evolved to serve the universal desire for a long and happy life not to answer the fragmentation of modern life the philosophy of holism attempts to address. To accuse Dr. Unschuld of scoffing at his sources is no different than accusing the ancient Chinese of failing to satisfy the needs of a time and place they could not have imagined. Not only were the social and philosophical milieu to which holism responds two millenia in the future but China in the era of the "Huang Di Nei Jing" had its own philosophies and these, Taoism, Confucianism, and Legalism, are the philosophical currents Dr. Unschuld's research considers, not because he scoffs at holism, but because these were the concerns of the culture from which the "Huang Di Nei Jing" derives.
While Mr. Iannone clearly feels that some darling of his own desire has been abused, that is again Mr. Iannone's response, not a description of the text. Indeed, perhaps the most considerable disservice in Mr. Iannone's review is the impression it gives readers that Dr. Unschuld's "Huang Di Nei Jing" is merely an opinion piece, not more than a viewpoint. It is not. It is the result of the largest East-West scholarly enterprise ever undertaken; it is the result of the largest collection of artifacts and textual references ever assembled in regard to a seminal Chinese text. It is the result of expertise drawn from many sources, many scholars and disciplines. The text does indeed point-out contradictions within the corpus of the surviving text but these are described as windows into the creation of an as-yet unfinished human enterprise, not the debunking of a philosophy of the distant future.
The "full text" (as if ancient documents were books to be pulled from a shelf) is not present, not as Mr. Iannone implies, to hide some holistic gem, but because this is the introductory volume, the preface if you will, of a multi-volume series that will include, not only textual sources but concordances, indexes and further commentaries. What the review hides from the reader is that direct quotations of the sources are plentiful, well-referenced and perfectly directed to the themes discussed.
What the "Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen: Nature, Knowledge, Imagery in an Ancient Chinese Medical Text" accomplishes is an overview of what has been revealed by a vast research into the extant sources. It is not a text for everyone; it is certainly not a text for someone hoping to resolve the contradictions and difficulties of life in technological societies. It is however an ideal book for those who would look at Chinese medicine through its sources. For those who want to see the roots of
today's Chinese medicine rich with the patina of an ancient time and uncensored by modern fashion and commercial expectation.