23rd Biennial Conference of the European Association for Chinese Studies

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


Talk: "Creating complex lines of conceptual argumentation through parallelisms in the Xunzi and the Zhuangzi (Panel: Bridges of Meaning: Establishing cross-referential patterns through parallelism in premodern Chinese prose texts)"

While Chinese and Japanese scholars such as Liu Xie 劉勰 (465-522 CE) and Kūkai 空海 (774–835) have started to classify up to 29 different forms of parallelisms in Chinese texts 1500 years ago, European studies on parallelism and its different forms only started in the 18th century. And while Europeans have been aware of parallelism in (especially poetic) Chinese texts at least since 1830, little attention has been paid to the argumentative function of parallelisms in Chinese prose.

In a short introduction, this paper will first point out a few stages of the early history of argumentative parallelism in Chinese texts starting from the formulaic rhetoric of contrasts in early Shangshu and Shijing texts, proceeding to discuss parallelisms as descriptive indicators of orders of classification in texts arranged according to catalogues such as the “Hongfan” chapter, numerous chapters in the Yi Zhoushu, the “Xici zhuan” as well as some excavated texts and finally looking at further developments of parallelist argumentation in the Masters’ literature. The main analytical focus of the paper will be devoted to the texts in the Zhuangzi and the Xunzi that start to play with the parallel form to create new and more sophisticated forms of argumentation. Among these, I will be particularly interested in the way parallelisms are used in both texts to introduce and define new conceptual terms in lines of argumentations and thereby serve to build up and structure arguments by means of a complex analytical terminology.
Period24 Aug 202128 Aug 2021
Event typeConference
LocationLeipzig, Germany, ThuringiaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational