Research Project


Concepts of Fate and Freedom in religious Ruism of the Song- and Ming-Dynasty (11th - 17th century)

Dr. Sophia Katz
PhD The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Research stay: April 2010 – March 2011

Lectures at the IKGF:

  • "Prophecy was given to the Insane." A Confucian Perspective on Unrestrainedness and Holiness, Tuesday lecture, May 11, 2010
  • Round Table Feature, Annual Conference 2010: Faith, Truth, Doubts and Freedom in Ruist Thought.
  • Holy Indifference and Sagely Worries: Thoughts on Fate and Freedom in Confucian and Christian Traditions, Tuesday lecture, January 25, 2011.

Reading sessions:

  • The Notion of ming 命 (fate/destiny) in the Writings of Shao Yong 邵雍 (1012-1077), June 2010.
  • Multiple and Inter-connected Facets of "Observation" (guan 觀) in China. prepared in collaboration with Dr. Dimitri Drettas and Dr. Albert Galvany, November 2010.
  • Gao Panlong 高攀龍 (1562-1626) on ming 命 (fate/destiny), November 2010.

Concepts of Fate and Freedom in religious Ruism of the Song- and Ming-Dynasty (11th - 17th century)

The focus of my research is Confucian thought during the Song-Ming period (11th through 17th centuries), paying special attention to the religious dimension of Confucianism. I concentrate on the writings of Shao Yong 邵雍 (1012-1077), Chen Xianzhang 陳獻章 (1428-1500), Zhan Ruoshui 湛若水 (1466-1560) and Gao Panlong 高攀龍 (1562-1626), identifying and investigating textual examples which emphasize the religious interests of these scholars. The purpose of my project is twofold: firstly, to demonstrate the intellectual/spiritual diversity within Confucian traditions; secondly, to create a basis for a comparison between Confucian “philosophical religiosity” and European religious thought. Within the framework of Chinese studies, my project has two main directions: to investigate the concept of ming 命 (fate/destiny) and to examine its connection with the questions of determinism and human freedom, and Chinese philosophical mysticism. I am particularly interested in understanding the role played by Confucian philosophical poetry in actualizing one’s communication with the Ultimate and facilitating one’s search for sageliness.

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