Research Project


Methodology, Revelation and Philology. Strategies of recognize the signs of fate in the Yijing Commentary "Shiyi"

Na Schädlich

The project deals with the conception of fate in “Shiyi” (十翼) from a critical philological perspective. This is an exegetical work of highest rank in the tradition history of Yijing. My starting point is that it presents the cryptical original text “Zhouyi” as an oracle book of divine dignity, which is supposed to become understandable under the condition of “right” application. The work “Shiyi” itself makes numerous systematic philosophical claims. Its intention is to supply an epistemology and an ontology (to use some concepts from the western tradition) for the original text as a book of oracles. Despite its philosophical vigor, it essentially remains a philological work, as it self-consciously refers as a text to the legibility of another text. The historically first development of the “understandable” key concepts in the discussions of fate in “Yijing” takes place by means of this entanglement of philological practice and claims of meaning (for example Xiang 象, Shu 数, Li 理 as well as Qian 乾, Kui 坤, Yi 易, to name just a few from a long catalogue). </br> Modern philological critique investigates the argumentative process in “Shiyi”, which aims at the legitimation of its hermeneutical activity. My hypothesis is the following: The way “Shiyi“ deals with hermeneutical questions through its composition, stylistics and language provides information concerning the possibility that it actually invents a scholarly explanation of “fate” (and its elements).

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