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Volume Editors: and
Christian-Muslim Relations, a Bibliographical History 20 (CMR 20), covering Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in the period 1800-1914, is a further volume in a general history of relations between the two faiths from the 7th century to the early 20th century. It comprises a series of introductory essays and the main body of detailed entries. These treat all the works, surviving or lost, that have been recorded. They provide biographical details of the authors, descriptions and assessments of the works themselves, and complete accounts of manuscripts, editions, translations and studies. The result of collaboration between numerous new and leading scholars, CMR 20, along with the other volumes in this series, is intended as a fundamental tool for research in Christian-Muslim relations.

Section Editors: Ines Aščerić-Todd, Clinton Bennett, Luis F. Bernabé Pons, Jaco Beyers, Emanuele Colombo, Lejla Demiri, Martha Frederiks, David D. Grafton, Stanisław Grodź, Alan Guenther, Vincenzo Lavenia, Arely Medina, Diego Melo Carrasco, Alain Messaoudi, Gordon Nickel, Claire Norton, Reza Pourjavady, Douglas Pratt, Charles Ramsey, Peter Riddell, Umar Ryad, Cornelia Soldat, Charles Tieszen, Carsten Walbiner, Catherina Wenzel.
Sapiential Traditions and Ancient Scholarship in Comparative Perspective
Volume Editors: and
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.

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

Abstract

This essay addresses the notion of “wisdom literature” taking as its axis the epistemological construction carried out by some Western scholars and its subsequent establishment as cultural heritage. This construction can be recognized in certain graphocentric patterns, which are centered on the complementary ideas of “literacy” and “civilization.” Consequently, the analysis of selected Chinese and Greek sources aims to reveal ancient evidence of unliterary wisdom and the tensions generated from its written institutionalization.

In: After Wisdom
Author:

Abstract

This essay discusses the nature of the “Great Digest” (da lüe 大略) chapter of the received Xunzi 荀子 corpus. The author attempts to determine the chapter’s relationship with other contemporary Confucian texts by examining its structural similarities with gnomologia and floregia of Classical and Hellenistic Greece. He argues that the results of this comparison particularly support a line of interpretation according to which the Great Digest consists of excerpts from external sources that had been detached from their original context. Drawing upon this conclusion, he points out that the stylistic similarities between the Great Digest and other early Confucian collections of anecdotes and sayings should encourage us to investigate whether these compositions may or may have not originated under similar circumstances.

In: After Wisdom

Abstract

This study examines the engagement of the early Greek prose-writing tradition (sixth and fifth century BCE) with the Greek mythical legacy and wisdom tradition associated with Homer, Hesiod, and the archaic poets. By focusing on selected fragments of the logographoi and passages of Herodotus’ Histories, it discusses the exegetical operations involved in the prosification, reworking and critique of myth, as well as the adaptation and reconfiguration of certain mythical patterns, motifs, and traditional wisdom maxims. A comparative analysis of the opening section of Herodotus’ Histories and Sima Qian’s Shiji brings into sharper relief the Greek idiosyncratic approach to the mythical legacy, the method of inquiry into the human past and the authorial self-presentation.

In: After Wisdom
In: After Wisdom
Author:

Abstract

This study discusses the scholarly interpretations of one particular instance of ‘returning’ in ancient China, that of Lady Mu of Xu 許穆夫人to her natal home in the poem “Zaichi” 載馳 (Gallop) (Poem 54) in the Shijing. It examines a selection of leading interpretations and commentaries from the seventh century BCE to the mid-seventh century CE. It investigates two central issues in the authorship and the scholarly reception of Lady Mu of Xu’s home-return: how did early scholars make use of secondary textual resources to identify Lady Mu as both the author and the poetic speaker of “Zaichi”? And how did these scholars interpret Lady Mu’s dilemma in returning to her natal domain in “Zaichi”? Conjointly, the authorship and the hermeneutical questions explore and illuminate the oral-textual transition in early China. As shown by the variety of critical responses during the millennial span of literary analysis, this study demonstrates that a hermeneutic movement occurred around the poem: from being considered a fluid, oral poetic piece, it turned into a strong textual entity in its own right, with a stable meaning and an identifiable origin, solidly embedded in a textual culture. This study ends with a brief comparison between the hermeneutic movement in the early scholarship of “Zaichi” and in that of Homer. It observes that while a similar pattern is identifiable in the two traditions, some unique feature of the oral-textual transition remains in the early scholarly reception of the Shijing, as in the case of “Zaichi.”

In: After Wisdom
Author:

Abstract

This essay studies how the matrix of speech and silence in the Analects produces commentaries in the Confucian tradition. The dynamics of the commentarial tradition established the very architectonics of Chinese classical thought, enduring for more than two millennia. In short, the teachings of Confucius “the Uncrowned King” began as oral production, were then transcribed by his disciples into inchoate “fragments,” and, after generations and generations of commentaries, were codified into an immense institutional canon, thereby constituting the official “system” of Confucianism. The essay also provides theoretical, cross-cultural reflections on the genre of aphorisms in global wisdom literature.

In: After Wisdom

Abstract

This essay explores representations of infants and children in Laozi and the Heraclitean fragments, which allow insights into how these two bodies of texts challenge pre-existing norms and establish themselves as texts of special status and sources of unrivalled authority. In the Laozi, infants are employed as a paradigm for illustrating the best way of life, often with strong political overtones. Among the early Greek philosophers, Heraclitus dedicates the most attention to children in the extant fragments, though the picture presented is far more multifaceted than it is in the Laozi. Nonetheless, in both bodies of texts the infant or child is used for polemical purposes to reject competing forms of discourse and rival their purported “wisdom”.

In: After Wisdom
Author:

Abstract

This study argues for a re-appreciation of the religious background of Platonic philosophy from a comparative point of view. By comparing claims of self-divinization contained in Plato’s dialogues with claims of self-divinization contained in the Nei-yeh (chapter 49 of the Guanzi), the study explores similarities as well as underlying tensions both within their respective cultures and between the two texts themselves. Crucially, both texts reverse the top-down model of the relation between gods and human beings that was presupposed by both sacrificial practices and wisdom literature in favor of a bottom-up one. Instead of relying on oral or written intermediation, a more direct access to the divine is sought through a process of personal development. Far from being in opposition to religion, this development is in fact a more effective way to access the divine itself.

In: After Wisdom