In this hermeneutical approach, characters, phrases, and concepts in early Chinese medical texts are viewed as the findings of a newly discovered ancient civilization whose true nature is only just coming to light.
The techniques of Classical Text Archaeology begin by identifying basic items for study. All references to the character, phrase, or principle are then located in the source text, and the text passages in which they are included are translated in their entirety. These passages are then investigated to uncover essential themes and interpretations that run through them. When key themes become apparent, they are subjected to a number of additional confirmation steps. These new interpretations are then used as the basis to reinterpret the original source text.
New definitions are refined through ongoing research, teaching, and clinical practice. Classical Text Archaeology represents the first formal methodology that can be used to evaluate early medical texts among a diverse community of scholars in a systematic way. Its discoveries are transforming our understanding of Chinese medicine and the nature of health and illness by retelling its original narrative.