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Channel Theory and the Ultimate Sources of the Inner Classic - Part Two

Channel Theory and the Ultimate Sources of the Inner Classic - Part Two
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Volume 4 Issue 2 - Summer 2009

by Jason D. Robertson

In the previous issue, I sketched an overview of how the ideas from the Han dynasty likely came forward to us as the Inner Classic we consult today. The focus of the following section will be on time going back from the Han dynasty. How did the Inner Classic, so revered in Chinese culture, develop from the mists of pre-history? What follows is a very brief summary of some recent research on the earliest period of Chinese medicine. At the very point when portions of the Inner Classic were likely compiled, the relative opacity of Chinese pre-history begins to clarify with written, verifiable texts. This was a time of significant development not only for the field of medicine but for Chinese culture in general. Most notably for the field of medicine, historians seem to agree that the last centuries B.C. witnessed a kind of intellectual cross-fertilization amongst traditions of self-cultivation and the earliest form of needle therapy. The result is the concept of a system of qi circulation in the body that finally culminated with the compilation of many of the texts which were eventually incorporated into the Inner Classic in the process described in the previous issue.
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