Sun Tzu Biography | Author of The Art of War

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The question of authorship for The Art of War is a complicated debate, including at least three competing theories. A couple of things are absolutely certain, however. Sun-Tzu is an honorary title, means Master Sun, and whoever actually composed the text had significant military and diplomatic experience.

The first theory is that there are two Master Suns who are related, and the latter Sun annotated and expanded his ancestor's writings. The Historical Records of 91 B.C. includes two writers: Sun Wu (544–496 B.C.) and Sun Pin (380–316 B.C.). Also, History of the Han Dynasty, an index of imperial records (first century A.D.), refers to both a Sun Wu and a Sun Pin and differentiates their writings.

The second theory proposes that Sun-Tzu's writings were produced by a single historical person, who lived during the time of Confucius. Recent scholarship, though, has mostly been able...

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This section contains 3,306 words
(approx. 9 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Art of War Study Guide
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