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The Yijing and the Yijing Commentarial Traditions

November 2019 @ 17:00 - 19:00

The Yijing and the Yijing Commentarial Traditions

Prof. Dr. Tze-ki Hon (City University of Hong Kong)
Time: 29. November, 17:00
Venue: KWZ 0.603


Originally a divination manual, the Yijing 易經 (Book of Changes) is a composite text consisting of three distinct layers. Its first layer is comprised by the 8 trigrams and 64 hexagrams allegedly created by the mythical figure, Fu Xi. Its second layer are the hexagram statements and line statements allegedly written by King Wen and the Duke of Zhou during the 11th century BCE. Its third layer incorporates seven pieces of writings composed from 5th to 2nd century BCE. Divided into ten segments (hence, the name “Ten Wings”), the authors of these writings used the hexagrams to discuss cosmic patterns, the relations between humanity and nature, and the complexity of human life. By 125 BCE, these three textual layers were combined to form what we now call the Yijing.

Despite separate by hundreds of years, these three layers of the Yijing were traditionally considered as mutually reinforcing in illuminating the meanings of the classic. Yet, over the centuries, Chinese scholars disagreed on the sequence of reading. Some read the text chronologically, focusing on the visual images as the foundation of other parts. Others read the text historically, focused on the writings of King Wen and the Duke of Zhou to connect the hexagrams to the founding of the Zhou Dynasty. Yet others read the text retrospectively, focusing on the Ten Wings as the philosophical summation of the entire classic. In this talk, Prof. Hon will compare different commentarial traditions that interpreted the Yijing for different audiences.





Department of East Asian Studies
Academic Confucius Institute


Kulturwissenschaftliches Zentrum
Heinrich-Düker-Weg 14
37073 Göttingen, Germany
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