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Xu Shen's compilation of Shuo Wen Jie Zi conformed to the trend of society at that time. The Eastern Han Dynasty was a period of fierce debate between the ancient and the modern classics (the former refers to the classics written in ancient characters before the Han Dynasty, while the latter to those written in new characters after the founding of the Han Dynasty). To enhance the ancient classics' influence and refute the false claims in the new classics caused by the misunderstanding of the ancient characters, Xu Shen determined to make the structure, pronunciation and meaning of the ancient characters clear. Based on his study of the ancient characters, Xu Shen started compiling Shuo Wen Jie Zi. About 30 years later, the compilation of Shuo Wen Jie Zi was completed, becoming the world's first dictionary.