Research Project


Pattern Precognition in Three “Spring and Autumn” Weft Texts

Prof. Dr. Grégoire Espesset

Weft literature blossomed under Wang Mang (9-23 CE) and was officially edited in 56 CE by the first ruler of the restored Han dynasty (25-220 CE). However, it came to be prohibited on a regular basis as early as the end of the Han era and was almost extinct by the Song dynasty (960-1279). It subsists today mostly in fragmentary form. On the assumption that this literature should be seen, and heuristically used, as a repository of alternative knowledge, this project focuses on the precognitive materials found in fragments of three Weft companions to the “Spring and Autumn&lrquo; (Chunqiu) Lu state chronicle-Weft texts assumed to reflect one of the earliest stages of Weft production. A fair amount of these materials consists in interconnected patterns of observed atmospheric, astronomic, telluric, and otherwise abnormal phenomena, whose correct reading ensures the precognition of political and social events, plus natural or supernatural disasters, all of which were of direct concern to the ruling sphere in early imperial Chinese society-the sovereign, his entourage and relatives, and the government. On the premise that these data belong to a larger cognitive grid obeying the rationality of a peculiar epistemological framework, the project proposes to deconstruct the precognitive logic at work by undertaking a morphological, philological, and statistical analysis.

back to "Notions of Fate and Prognostication and their Taxonomies" overview