Stripping Confucius

Something I posted in Clarity today that I like to record here too.

38.K’uei / Opposition – Page 10 – I Ching Community

It really tickles me to death the ongoing effort of stripping Confucius and his school from the Yijing, like some kind of taint soiling the work. As if one should wash the mouth after uttering his name… As it is, the Yijing IS a Confucian Classic. The Zhouyi is another story. From whatever old extant exegesis we have available, that school has been commenting the Yi (Zhouyi) from a time earlier than the oldest version of the Yi found thus far (Mawangdui). There is no Yijing without the Confucian School. Furthermore, what we have received is the Yijing, not the Zhouyi proper, which remains a mystery other than a few quotes found in old history records like the Zuo Zhuan. We do have a proposed separation of the Zhouyi text, what it perhaps looked like, within the received YIJING itself, which comes from what classical school?? Yes, the Confucian School. So, if we follow that train of thought, how do we know the whole thing, all the text received and attributed to the original Zhouyi–and we are talking about the text here–, isn’t a Confucian fabrication in its entirety? Can we trust them to tell us that the Tuan Ci and Yao Ci is the original Zhouyi part of the Yijing but distrust them in the parsing of the text?
So, my point is, dismissing the received parsing of the text because of the possibility of it being a biased pipe-dream of a bunch of Neo-Confucians under the orders of the Kangxi Emperor, is in itself a biased, non-objective view, in the opposite direction, of their work.
As I’ve said, or at least implied, I’m not a revisionist regarding the received Chinese text of the Yijing. And I’m not because if we are going to revise the text, then we have to revise the whole classic, not only the attributed Zhouyi part of it. At that point we may as well realize to be holding water in our hands as the reality of the Yijing itself will shift. Mind you, I’m the first one in line to bury my head in obscure books, searching for the historical origins of the text, however, at some point I realized that I had to separate the material studied from the received text as they are, although related, completely separate entities.
On the other hand, anyone is free to play with the text. Just don’t expect serious arguments of interpretation based on the free-handling of it as it will be only a game…

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *