Manyul Im’s Blog and Junzi

I found this interesting blog, by Manyul Im, while reading Sam Crane’s blog. Then I found a nice discussion about the concept of “Junzi”. Below is my own comment to the thread. (more as a record of my wandering brain droppings than for its actual usefulness…)

Gentlemen Prefer Bronze « Manyul Im’s Chinese Philosophy Blog

Hi,
I found this site by pure coincidence and being mentioned in Sam Crane’s blog.
Regarding this particular ‘junzi’ discussion, I’m very surprised that no mention whatsoever has been made regarding such concept, and it its numerous appearances, in the text of the Yijing. This is a subject of innumerable discussions regarding the proper translation of the term among serious Yixue students. I believe Richard Wilhelm, in his translation of the classic, spoiled our collective Western mindset by translating it as “Superior Man”. A more contemporary translation among Yixue students gears towards the consensus of “Jun1 zi3″ meaning “noble one” and/or “young noble,” both of these carrying its own interpretation depending on the context of the hexagram, one being used as an adjective and the other as a noun. Of course, we thread on thin ice when trying to properly translate a term with a very ancient conceptual use. It isn’t as simple as picking up a dictionary and looking for the characters’ meaning. We must try to discern its original contextual meaning, going back more than 2500 years.
In the overall text of the Yijing (as opposed to the bare Zhouyi) somebody recently made an interesting observation and pointed to an otherwise obvious distinction–and thus hard to notice–between the term appearing in the Yaoci of many hexagram lines and the term appearing in the Da Xiang:

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The second is surely the confucian «person of noble character», but the JunZi of which you’re speaking is earlier and less perfect. (the one in the Yaoci; my note)

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All the best and I’ll bookmark your site.

Luis

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