How to Read a Text: Interpretation and Understanding in Early China

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26 Feb 2021 08.30 PM - 10.30 PM Alumni, Current Students, Industry/Academic Partners, Prospective Students, Public
Organised by:
Qu Jingyi

Speaker: Michael Puett (Harvard University)

Chairperson: Qu Jingyi (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

Over the course of the fourth through first centuries BCE in China, a complex set of debates developed over the ways to read earlier texts and the types of hermeneutic strategies that should be employed in interpreting them. Out of these debates emerged many of the commentarial approaches that would continue to be appropriated and utilized thereafter in the Chinese tradition. My goal in this paper will be to trace some of the complexities of these interpretive strategies and to discuss their larger significance.

Speaker Bio:

Michael Puett is the Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History and Anthropology at Harvard University. He is also Harvard College Professor. His interests focus on the inter-relations between religion, anthropology, history, and philosophy. In his research, Michael Puett aims to bring the study of China into larger historical and comparative frameworks. He is the author of The Ambivalence of Creation: Debates Concerning Innovation and Artifice in Early China and To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice, and Self-Divinization in Early China, as well as the co-author, with Adam Seligman, Robert Weller, and Bennett Simon, of Ritual and its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity. Since 2012 his General Education Course, “Classical Chinese Ethical and Political Theory," has been the third most enrolled undergraduate course at Harvard.

We are very thankful to Mr. Lam Chih Tsung for his generous sponsorship to the Zoom webinar series of NTU Chinese literature and culture.