Between Science and Divination: Modes of Ordering the World

Workshop in Celebration of the 1000th Anniversary of Shao Yong (* Jan. 21, 1012; † July 27, 1077)

January 20–21, 2012

Convenor: Martin Doesch


According to traditional sources, Shao Yong 邵雍 was born in the xinhai 辛亥 year of the xiangfu 祥符 period of the Northern Song emperor Zhenzong 真宗 (r. 998-1022), which is only approximately the same as the western year 1011. According to recent calculations, the birth of Shao Yong actually occurred in early 1012 – exactly a thousand years ago. By celebrating the thousandth birthday of the widely known philosopher, poet, and historian, the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities (IKGF) aims to examine Shao Yong's legacy in greater depth.

With this workshop, the consortium brings together leading international specialists on the most curious of the Five ('Neo-Confucian') Masters of the Northern Song (960-1127). Shao Yong is not only an arcane but also a highly complex, multi-faceted figure who has left us with a double legacy: he is now conceived of not only as a systematic thinker, but also as being intimately linked with the divinatory practices of the elite and popular culture.

Analysing this dichotomy, the workshop covers five facets of Shao Yong's systematic thinking: phonology, Yijing studies, numbers, history, and mysticism. In the concluding round table, we hope to consolidate these aspects with respect to "Fate, Freedom and Prognostication".


Friday, January 20, 2012
2:00 p.m. Opening Remarks
Michael Lackner (Director, IKGF)
Martin Doesch (IKGF)
2:30 p.m. Content and Principles of Shao Yong's Table of Sounds
Alain Arrault (École française d'Extrême-Orient, Paris)
3:30 p.m. Coffee Break
4:00 p.m. Shao Yong and His Yi 易 Learning
Chu Ping-tzu (National Tsing Hua University)
5:00 p.m. Shao Yong and Number
Peter K. Bol (Harvard University)
6:00 p.m. End
Saturday, January 21, 2012
9:30 a.m. The Transcendence of the Past: Objectivity, Relativism, and Moralism in the Historical Thought of Shao Yong
Don J. Wyatt (Middlebury College)
10:30 a.m. Coffee Break
10:45 a.m. From Mysticism of Unity to Mysticism of Connection: The Intellectual / Spiritual Path of Shao Yong
Sophia Katz (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
11:45 a.m. First Summary
12:30 p.m. Lunch Break
2:30 p.m. Birthday Symposion ('Round Table'): Shao Yong and Divination
4:30 p.m. Résumé – Concluding Remarks
5:00 p.m. End

→  Read abstracts…


IKGF Seminar Room
Ulrich-Schalk-Straße 3a – 91056 Erlangen


Conference Flyer (254 KB)
Conference Poster A3 (250 KB)


Please register via our online registration form.


If you have any questions, please contact Martin Doesch at