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Emperor by the Introduction two




Available evidence suggests that at the basis of the Su wen is a layer of texts
written beginning in the second or first century b.c., with some of its conceptual
contents possibly dating from the third century b.c. Presumably in
the first or second century a.d., several compilers or teams of authors, all
unknown to us today, set out to bring together disparate texts of previous
decades, thereby generating a second textual layer, to which were added
further layers in subsequent centuries. The outcomes of these more or less
contemporary efforts to combine a selection of statements and texts from
an identical pool of writings by numerous previous authors in one authoritative
compilation have come down to us in four major works: in addition
to the Su wen and the Ling shu, the Nan jing and the Huang Di nei jing tai su
(Tai su).



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