News & Events

On the meaning of the Documents classic, then and now

by Professor Michael NYLAN, Professor, Department of History, University of California, Berkeley

Date                  8 March 2016
Time                  4:00pm
Venue                M1603
(The talk will be conducted in English.)

If one speaks of the "meaning" ascribed to an important piece of writing, one should think of at least three time frames: the meaning of the text when it was composed for a particular textual community; the later meaning(s) attached to the text by new textual communities over the years, even centuries; and the present significance of the text to contemporary readers.  As much fine work has been done on the Five Classics' long reception history, from Western Han (206 BCE-9 CE) this talk will focus on two aspects of Documents scholarship: the pre-Qin history of the Documents, as seen from both received and excavated texts, and the contemporary significance of the Documents, with respect to such modern phenomena as the PRC's Three Dynasties project, identity theme parks, and TV shows on antiquity, including the Henan production of "Great Shun."

Back to top