Chapter 9 “God Has Conferred Even on the Inferior People a Moral Sense”: Legge’s Concept of the “People” (min) in His Translation of the Book of Documents

In: Scottish Missions to China
Author: Joachim Gentz

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Abstract

This chapter explores the understanding of the role of “the people” in James Legge’s (1815–1897) translation of the Book of Documents (1865). In comparison with other European translations of this book Legge’s readings will be explained in the context of both, the prevailing Chinese commentarial interpretations of his times as well as his own Scottish philosophical and theological background. The analysis attempts to tackle the question what exactly the factors were that inspired Legge’s readings, readings that have informed, and still continue to inform, contemporary interpretations of the Shangshu and thus contemporary discussions about Chinese traditional political culture and early Chinese approaches to human rights.

Scottish Missions to China

Commemorating the Legacy of James Legge (1815-1897)

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