Karl Bünger’s monograph on the sources for the history of law in the Tang period, Quellen zur Rechtsgeschichte der T’ang-Zeit, was recently published in a Chinese translation under the title Tangfa shiyuan 唐法史源 by The Commercial Press in Beijing. Thus the work has returned to its place of origin, where it was written in the early 1940s during the author’s stay in the city, called Peiping at the time, and originally published there in 1946 by Catholic University Press. It first appeared as vol. IX of the Monumenta Serica Monograph Series and was republished, in a new, enlarged edition by the Monumenta Serica Institute fifty years later, in 1996.
The original edition consists of two parts, a description of Tang legislation (Chapters 1–5) and German translations of the chapters on criminal law (“Xingfa zhi” 刑法志) from Jiu Tangshu 旧唐书 and Xin Tangshu 新唐书 as well as selected chapters from Tang huiyao 唐会要. Various tables, registers and indices supplement the study.
The translator, Professor Jin Jing 金晶 of Zhongguo zhengfa daxue 中国政法大学 (China University of Political Science and Law), presents the following parts in Chinese translation: Bünger’s original preface, Chapters 1–5, and Bünger’s copious footnotes to the translated sources. In place of his German translations, the punctuated Chinese source texts from Jiu Tangshu, Xin Tangshu and Tang huiyao are provided. The Chinese edition also reproduces Bünger’s supplementary materials and gives translations where needed. The present edition does not include translations of materials added to the enlarged edition of 1996, e.g., a foreword by Dennis Twitchett, reviews of the 1946 edition and three articles by Karl Bünger on other aspects of Tang law.
Jin Jing started working on this translation while studying for her Ph.D. degree at the University of Münster in Germany in 2014. The two Chinese prefaces by Pan Handian 潘汉典 and Chen Huixin 陈惠馨 highlight Bünger’s meticulous scholarship, his erudition regarding Chinese legal sources, and his merits in explaining the Chinese legal system to the Western reader.
Tangfa shiyuan 唐法史源
[De 德] Ka’er Bingge’er zhu 卡尔•宾格尔 著, Jin Jing yi 金晶 译
Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan / The Commercial Press, 2023. ii, vii, 228 pp.
Price: 48 RMB