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Speech Genres and Chinese 'Classics' (jing 經)

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, February 11, 2015. 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Building 110, Room 112
Workshop: 
Oral Literature and Literate Orality
Meeting Description: 
About the speaker:
David Schaberg has published articles on early Chinese literature, historiography and thought, as well as Greek–Chinese comparative issues, focusing more recently on the history of oratory in early China. He is the author of A Patterned Past: Form and Thought in Early Chinese Historiography, which was awarded the 2003 Levenson Prize for Books in Chinese Studies (pre-1900 category), and a contributor to a new translation of China’s first great historical work, The Zuo Tradition, to be published by the University of Washington Press.
 
The texts that were brought together during the Western Han dynasty (202 BCE-CE 8) as the “Five Classics” (wujing 五經) and assigned imperial support as the foundations of a nascent official ideology all had their roots in ritual, textual, and speech practices stretching back to the Western Zhou dynasty (ca. 1045-771).  In each case, an emerging literate tradition―i.e., transcriptions of ritual speech, as well as recreations of, prescriptions for, and interpretations of ritual speech―appears to have been cultivated within a lively and continuous oral practice.  In this talk I explore the evidence for ongoing interactions between oral traditions and emerging bodies of text.

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