PhD Thesis Presentation - A Study of Zhu Xi's Reading methodology and Confucian Classics Interpretation

02:00pm - 05:00pm
Room 3301 (Lift no. 2 / Lifts no. 17-18), Academic Building

Abstract:

Zhu Xi was a renowned scholar in ancient China, and his contributions were not only developing Neo-Confucianism but also sharing his reading and study methods with his disciples and friends. Besides helping learners to "read" and "study", those methods also served as guidelines for learners to get moral enlightenment while reading Confucian classics, as Zhu Xi believed that classics were conveying the doctrines of the Sages. This research aims at analyzing the reading and study methods promoted by Zhu Xi, and how those methods were applied to interpret Confucian classics.

The thesis first discussed the reading and study methods suggested by Zhu Xi, including the methods both within and beyond the "Six Reading Methods". In the discussion of those methods, special attention would be paid to Zhu Xi's understanding of the "Principle (Li)" and the characteristics of the sayings of sages. After having a general study of Zhu's reading and study methods, the thesis moved on to investigate how Zhu's Four Books annotations conveyed and applied his reading and studying methods in his interpretation of the Four Books. From the investigation of Zhu's Four Books annotation, his considerations on the explanations of Confucian classics would be revealed.  Apart from the Four Books annotations, the thesis drew another example, Zhu's annotations and explanations of the Book of Songs, to examine how Zhu applied his methods to read and interpret the poems in the Book of Songs. Based on the nature of the Book of Songs, Zhu believed that readers could get moral enlightenment from studying the poems in the Book of Songs, and Zhu's relevant ideas would be analyzed in detail. The thesis finally traced the background of Zhu Xi forming his ideas on reading, learning and studying, and it also explored the impact Zhu's methods brought to the academic circle in different generations. While exploring the impact of those methods, the thesis pointed out the unreasonableness of several criticisms concerning Zhu Xi's reading methods by contemporary scholars.

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