Journal directory listing - Volume 62 (2017) - Journal of NTNU【62(2)】September (Special Issue: Overseas Sinology)

The Explanation of “Shendu” by Zheng Xuan and Zhu Xi from the Perspective of Language and Its Interpretation by Western Scholars Author: Christian Soffel (Institute of Sinology, Trier University, Germany Professor)

Vol.&No.:Vol. 62, No. 2
Date:September 2017

The expression “shendu” (慎獨), typically translated as “being watchful over oneself,” appears frequently in Chinese intellectual history, both in the literature from the Confucianism and the Daoist tradition. Scholars have intensely debated on this quote throughout history. This article will first introduce the relevant sources from ancient China and then use a linguistic perspective to analyze the active or passive orientation of “shendu.” Using this approach, we can study Zheng Xuan’s and Zhu Xi’s understanding of “shendu.” On the basis of this foundation, we are able to discuss academic works by both Western and Chinese scholars written in Western languages. Because verbs in Indo- European languages express the active and passive voice more clearly than those in the Chinese language, translators who translate Chinese into Western languages often feel compelled to restrict the broad semantic fi eld from the original Chinese text. Ultimately, most scholars seem to rely on James Legge’s influential translation. Thus, we will observe how a certain foreign rendering of a traditional Confucianism idea can shape intellectual patterns in the contemporary history of thought. Legge realized the rich semantic content of the original Zhongyong text but decided to narrow down the meaning because he was concerned that Western readers might be unable to comprehend it. This situation might have imposed some restrictions on interpretations by later scholars.

Keywords:Zhongyong, Western translation of Confucianism texts, history of philosophy, “shendu”

《Full Text》 檔名

  1. 西漢•揚雄,汪榮寶義疏,《法言義疏》(北京市:中華書局,1987)。
  2. 北齊•劉晝,《劉子•慎獨第十》,收入《四庫全書電子版》(香港:迪志文化,1999),卷2,頁8b-9b。
  3. 南宋•朱熹,《中庸章句》,收入朱傑人、嚴佐之、劉永翔(主編),《朱子全書》(上海市:上海古籍出版社,2005)。
  4. 南宋•朱熹,《中庸或問》,收入朱傑人、嚴佐之、劉永翔(主編),《朱子全書》(上海市:上海古籍出版社,2005)。
  5. 清•王先謙集解,《荀子集解》(北京市:中華書局,1988)。
» More
APA FormatSoffel, C. (2017). The explanation of “Shendu” by Zheng Xuan and Zhu Xi from the rerspective of language and its interpretation by western scholars. Journal of National Taiwan Normal University, 62(2), 111-125.
Chicago FormatSoffel, Christian. “The Explanation of “Shendu” by Zheng Xuan and Zhu Xi from the Rerspective of Language and Its Interpretation by Western Scholars.” Journal of National Taiwan Normal University 62, no. 2 (2017): 111-125.