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The Art of War Criticism

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The positive reception of The Art of War began very early in China after its appearance. By the second century B.C., the thirteen chapters of the inner text had already become a fixed, core document, as proven by texts found during excavations at Yin-ch'üeh-shan, entitled Sun-Tzu with Eleven Commentaries. This manuscript is substantially similar to the next earliest manuscript, dating from the Sung dynasty (907–1276 A.D.), which implies that someone valued Sun-Tzu's work enough to preserve it for over a millennium. Furthermore, that the Sung version is fuller and more extensive than the Han version suggests that commentators and annotators had significant interest in Sun-Tzu, wishing to add to the growing body of ideas, as well as become associated with a legendary intellectual figure.

Peters advances the theory that the name Sun-Tzu is actually an intentionally crafted legendary pseudonym, a...

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