After Wisdom

Sapiential Traditions and Ancient Scholarship in Comparative Perspective


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The nine essays in this volume, written by an international interdisciplinary group of younger scholars, explore comparative dimensions of ancient Chinese and Greek literature. They illuminate the development and interrelations of two modes of thought – mythos and logos, or myth and reason – characteristic of certain ancient cultures, including these two, during the second half of the first millennium BCE. They interrogate the meaning and validity of these concepts and of the category of “wisdom literature,” demonstrating that they must be understood critically and that their interrelations are extraordinarily complex and productive. In particular, they explore modes of the rationalizing appropriation of mythic discourses – commentary, edition, philosophy, history – which deconstruct their traditional authority but also secure their survival and continuing significance.

Tomás Bartoletti, Gaston J. Basile, Thomas Crone, Andrew Hui, Fabio Pagani, Luke Parker, Leihua Weng, Kenneth W. Yu and Jingyi Jenny Zhao.

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Glenn W. Most, Prof., PhD (Yale/Tübingen, 1980) is a classicist and comparatist. He is a regular Visiting Professor on the Committee on Social Thought (University of Chicago) and External Scientific Member of the MPIWG, Berlin. He has published numerous articles and books on Classics, philosophy, the history of religion, and comparative literature, among other fields. Most recently, he has coedited Impagination – Layout and Materiality of Writing and Publication. Interdisciplinary Approaches from East and West (De Gruyter, 2021).

Michael Puett is the Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History at Harvard University. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1994. His research is focused upon bringing the study of early China into larger comparative frameworks.

Tomás Bartoletti, Gaston J. Basile, Thomas Crone, Andrew Hui, Fabio Pagani, Luke Parker, Leihua Weng, Kenneth W. Yu and Jingyi Jenny Zhao.
Glenn W. Most and Michael Puett

Part 1 Comparing Greek and Chinese Wisdom Literatures

1 Aided-by-Ink’s Son and Mistery’s Great-Grandson: Wisdom and Oracular Literature in Classical China and Ancient Greece
Tomás Bartoletti

2 Wisdom Literature, Orality, and Textual Histories: Another Look at Heraclitus and the Laozi
Luke Parker

3 Representations of Infancy and Childhood in Laozi and Heraclitus
Jingyi Jenny Zhao

Part 2 Chinese Wisdom Literature as Seen from Greece

4 Confucian Pollen: A Comparative Reading of the Xunzi Chapter “Great Compendium” (da lüe 大略)
Thomas Crone

5 “The Master Says”: Speech and Silence in the Analects
Andrew Hui

6 Lady Mu of Xu’s Returning to Her Natal Home in “Zaichi” 載馳 (Gallop): A Comparative Perspective of the Early Scholarship of the Shijing 詩經 (Book of Odes)
Leihua Weng

Part 3 Greek Wisdom Literature as Seen from China

7 In the Wake of Wisdom: The Early Greek Prose Inquiries from a Comparative Perspective
Gaston J. Basile

8 Straight to the Divine: Claims of Self-Divinization in Plato and the Nei-yeh
Fabio Pagani

9 Textualizing Wonders: Ancient Greek Paradoxography in Comparative Perspective
Kenneth W. Yu

Index of Names and Subjects
Anyone interested in the study of ancient Greek or ancient Chinese literature, history of philosophy; history of religion; cultural studies; comparative literature; translation studies; history of science, especially scholarly practices; Greek and Roman classics, classical traditions; Sinology.
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