1st Edition

Interpretation and Intellectual Change Chinese Hermeneutics in Historical Perspective

Edited By Ching-I Tu Copyright 2005
    366 Pages
    by Routledge

    380 Pages
    by Routledge

    This volume deals with the development of Chinese hermeneutics, or exegetic systems, from their beginnings to the twentieth century. The contributors address critical issues in the study of Chinese hermeneutics by focusing on key periods during which the hermeneutic tradition in China underwent significant changes.

    The volume is divided into six parts, corresponding to the six major periods of intellectual change in traditional and contemporary China. Part 1 considers the foundational period of Chinese hermeneutics, examining Confucian classics such as the Analects, Mencius, and the Book of Odes. Part 2 traces the broadening of the hermeneutic tradition from Confucian classics to the military canon, political discourse, astronomy, and Buddhist exegesis from the Han to the Chinese Middle Ages. In Part 3 the focus is on Zhu Xi's monumental synthesis and redefinition of the Confucian tradition at the beginning of the early modern period. His vision of Confucian thought remained influential throughout the imperial period, and his interpretations of the Confucian classics became state orthodoxy starting with the thirteenth century. Part 4 focuses on this challenge and discusses the intellectual changes that took place during the late imperial period and their profound effects on Chinese hermeneutics. Part 5 documents the challenges to traditional Chinese hermeneutics in the modern era and the emergence of a new, critical hermeneutics in the beginning of the twentieth century. The volume concludes with Part 6, which explores Chinese hermeneutics from a comparative perspective and identifies its distinctive features.

    The understanding of Chinese hermeneutics gained from these essays is that of a dynamic plurality of traditions that has endured into the twentieth century and continues to shape contemporary intellectual debates.

    1: Hermeneutics of Confucian Classics; 1: Weighing the Way: Metaphoric Balance in Analects 9:30; 2: An Alternative Hermeneutics of Truth: Cui Shu’s Evidential Scholarship on Confucius; 3: Text and Context: Mencius’ View on Understanding the Poems of the Ancients; 4: The Book of Odes : A Case Study of the Chinese Hermeneutic Tradition; 2: Chinese Hermeneutics Beyond the Confucian Classics; 5: Early Modes on Interpretation of the Military Canons: The Case of the Sunzi bingfa; 6: Purifying the World: A Political Discourse in the Late Han; 7: Early Medieval Scholars’ Hermeneutics of the Calendrical Classics and the Astronomical Heavens; 8: Storytelling and the Earliest Buddhist Oral Text in China: Clues from Kumârajîva’s Commentary on the Vimalakîrti-sûtra; 3: Zhu Xi’s Construction of Neo-Confucian Hermeneutics; 9: The Debate on Ren Between Zhu Xi and the Huxiang Scholars; 10: Zhu Xi’s Poetic Hermeneutics and the Polemics of the “Licentious Poems”; 11: Two Ages, One Agenda? Zhu Xi’s Rules of Interpretation Versus Wang Yi’s Exegesis of the Songs of Chu; 4: Paradigm Shifts and Interpretative Strategies in the Ming-Qing Period; 12: Paradigm Shifts through Different Interpretations of the Classics in the Transitional Period from the Late Ming to the Early Qing; 13: Commentaries and Subcommentaries: The Relationship Between Zhu and Shu in the Confucian Hermeneutic Tradition; 14: Inter-Explanation of the Classics: Qing Scholars’ Methods for Interpreting the Five Classics; 15: Gender and Interpretation: Form and Rhetoric in Ming-Qing Women’s Poetry Criticism; 5: Chinese Hermeneutics in Modern Times; 16: In Defense of History: Zhang Binglin’s Interpretation of the Zuo Commentary; 17: Tradition, Modernity, and Critical Historical Consciousness: Lu Xun’s Reflections on History; 18: Toward a Humanist Interpretation of Tradition: The Hermeneutics of the “Critical Review Group”; 6: Chinese Hermeneutics: East and West; 19: Historical Narrative and Universal Principles in the Confucian Classics; 20: Affinity and Aporia: A Confucian Engagement with Gadamer’s Hermeneutics; 21: Chinese “Hermeneutics”—A Chimera? Preliminary Remarks on Differences of Understanding; 22: Inquiring into the Primary Model: The Yijing and the Structure of the Chinese Hermeneutic Tradition


    Ching-I Tu