;This thesis focuses on Shao Jinhan’s historiography, and how the Shao family learning left a mark on him. The Shaos in Yuyao, East Zhejiang, represented the scholarship of textual criticism attributed to the Qianlong and Jiaqing period.
The first chapter addresses the origin of East Zhejiang scholarship as seen in Zhang Xuecheng’s essay East Zhejiang Scholarship and summarizes the contents and characteristics of East Zhejiang scholarship. The intellectual heritage of the Shao family is also analyzed. The Shaos including Tingcai, Xiangrong, and Shengbi, who never cut loose with East Zhejiang scholarship, changed their focus from the study of human nature to that of historical classics.
Chapters two to five narrates the four phases of Shao Jinhan’s historiography. In the first phase, Shao, at his early age, studied with his grandfather Xiangrong to learn the scholarship of the forefather Shao Tingcai as well as the works by East Zhejiang scholars, such as Wang Shouren, Liu Zongzhou, Huang Zongxi, Wan Sitong, and Quan Zuwang. Shao Jinhan henceforth accumulated his learning and found interest in composing poems and writing history. During the second phase, after having passed the civil service examinations on local level, he went on to the imperial capital to study with Qian Daxin and Zhu Yun. There he also met with the distinguished scholars, such as Dai Zhen and Duan Yucai. Thanks to their influence, he was inclined to specialize in exegetics and textual criticism (known also as Puxue). What he had learned at this time made manifest in his work entitled Textual Criticism of the Exegesis of the Book of Songs by Han Ying (Hanshi Neizhuan Kao). The third phase began from the winter of the 36th year of Qian Long’s reign to next year’s fall, during which Shao had in-depth discussions on history, with Zhang Xuecheng at Zhu Yun’s home. He re-read Shao Tingcai’s treatises and attached an importance to writing systematically with refined style and to clarifying the purpose of historiography. Entering into the fourth phase in the 38th year of Qian Long’s reign, Shao had been working as the compiler of Complete Library in Four Sections (Siku Quanshu), mainly in charge of Old History of Five Dynasties (Jiu Wudaishi) and the like. He endowed these books with a historian’s profound thoughts. His academic attitude was markedly affected by the lexical taboos and emperor’s interference.
The conclusion of this thesis is that Shao Jinhan’s ambition to amend History of the Song Dynasty (Song Shi), was practically in line with Huang Zongxi and Quan Zuwang. His effort, however, failed to come about on account of his personal problems and the political environment at that time. Yet his works passed down till now clearly mirror his cultural heritage and his spirit of realistic pragmatism. Undoubtedly, Shao Jinhan was an indispensable heir to East Zhejiang scholarship.