Research Project


The Hermeneutics of the Book of Changes

Keyang Dou

The ultimate goal of my research would be to focus on the establishment of modern Chinese Hermeneutics, which is one of the most engaging topics in the field of aesthetics and literary theory. My cut-in point to the establishment is the study of the interpretation of the Book of Changes (Zhouyi), due to the following reasons: 1. the broad range of acceptance of Zhouyi, which has provided far more abundant materials than any other classics; 2. the image-number system as well as the profound philosophy of Zhouyi, which has made it a unique object for research; and 3. the existence of the text of Zhouyi has always been a popular theme for scholarly interpretation.
My research in this field stretches in two dimensions. The synchronic dimension, with reference to phenomenological studies such as the five strata of text outlined by Roman Ingarden, studied the traditional literary theory of China and introduced a paradigm of textual analysis in three strata: the stratum of Language-Semiotics (言, Yan), the stratum of Image-Number (象数, Xiang) and the stratum of Idea (意, Yi). The discussion on this dimension has been fully deployed previously (please see an attached article which was published in Canada in 2014). The diachronic dimension of the research on the interpretation of Zhouyi would be based on the pattern of Yan-Xiang-Yi. During my visit to Erlangen, I would work on the diachronic study of the interpretation of Zhouyi during the Pre-Qin era, and aim to collect related materials in Europe for the other periods, such as the Han and Song Dynasties.

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