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Gregory Whincup's "Rediscovering the I Ching"?

IrfanK

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I read a reference to Gregory Whincup's "Rediscovering the I Ching" in Rutt. I've been going through a bit of a phase of looking at the Bronze Age Zhouyi, and Rutt said that Whincup links each hexagram to historical events that (he claims) are related to the text. I saw a used copy for around six dollars on Amazon and clicked it. Of course, it maybe be up to several months before it arrives.

I can't find any reviews of it using the Clarity search function. @hilary , have you ever written anything about it? Anyone else have any opinions?

Sigh. Fields' book is priced way out of my range, and I can't find any dodgy copies in the usual places. It's taking on all the attraction of anything that you can't get hold of, a sort of mythological grail status in my mind.
 
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IrfanK

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Hmm. What would be nice would be if some of these "modernists" like Rutt who are looking at (what they think is) the original meaning of the text tracked forwards and explored how it came to be so different in the received version.
 

dfreed

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Hmm. What would be nice would be if some of these "modernists" like Rutt who are looking at (what they think is) the original meaning of the text tracked forwards and explored how it came to be so different in the received version.
Irfan, I don't understand what you're asking about, or suggesting here?

And you refer to Rutt as a 'modernist'. I'm curious,a moderist compared to ... whom? The 'traditionalists' (or)? And if so, whom would that be? Legge? Or ... ? I guess I've never thought of Rutt as a 'modernist', but then again I am not sure of the term's meaning, or - in particular - how you're using it here.

Regards, D.
 

IrfanK

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Irfan, I don't understand what you're asking about, or suggesting here?

And you refer to Rutt as a 'modernist'. I'm curious,a moderist compared to ... whom? The 'traditionalists' (or)? And if so, whom would that be? Legge? Or ... ? I guess I've never thought of Rutt as a 'modernist', but then again I am not sure of the term's meaning, or - in particular - how you're using it here.

Regards, D.
David, if you're asking for me to give a definition of "modernist," you're rather putting me on the spot. In fact, I just googled to fortify myself slightly, and found the following at https://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~rwest/wikispeedia/wpcd/wp/i/I_Ching.htm:

In the past 50 years a "Modernist" history of the I Ching has been emerging, based on context criticism and research into Shang and Zhou dynasty oracle bones, as well as Zhou bronze inscriptions and other sources (see below). These reconstructions are dealt with in a growing number of books, such as The Mandate of Heaven: Hidden History in the I Ching, by S. J. Marshall, and Richard Rutt's Zhouyi: The Book of Changes, (see References, below). Scholarly works dealing with the new view of the Book of Changes include doctoral dissertations by Richard Kunst and Edward Shaughnessy. These and other scholars have been helped immensely by the discovery, in the 1970s, by Chinese archaeologists, of intact Han dynasty era tombs in Mawangdui near Changsha, Hunan province. One of the tombs contained more or less complete 2nd century BCE texts of the I Ching, the Dao De Jing and other works, which are mostly similar yet in some ways diverge significantly from the "received," or traditional, texts preserved by the chances of history.

The tomb texts include additional commentaries on the I Ching, previously unknown, and apparently written as if they were meant to be attributed to Confucius. All of the Mawangdui texts are many centuries older than the earliest known attestations of the texts in question. When talking about the evolution of the Book of Changes, therefore, the Modernists contend that it is important to distinguish between the traditional history assigned to texts such as the I Ching (felt to be anachronistic by the Modernists), assignations in commentaries which have themselves been canonized over the centuries along with their subjects, and the more recent scholarly history aided by modern linguistic textual criticism and archaeology. Many hold that these perspectives are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but, for instance, many Modernist scholars doubt the actual existence of Fuxi, think Confucius had nothing to do with the Book of Changes, and contend that the hexagrams came before the trigrams. Modern scholarship comparing poetic usage and formulaic phrasing in this book with that in ancient bronze inscriptions has shown that the text cannot be attributed to King Wen or Zhou Gong, and that it likely was not compiled until the late Western Zhou, perhaps ca. the late 9th century BC. Rather than being the work of one or several legendary or historical figures, the core divinatory text is now thought to be an accretion of Western Zhou divinatory concepts. As for the Shi Yi commentaries traditionally attributed to Confucius, scholars from the time of the 11th century A.D. scholar Ouyang Xiu onward have doubted this, based on textual analysis, and modern scholars date most of them to the late Warring States period, with some sections perhaps being as late as the Western Han period.
In my own words, I'd say the "modernist" school tries to look at the Zhouyi as a document from the Bronze Age, using philological approaches based on the archeological discoveries in the 20th century, while the "traditionalist" school accepts to a far greater extent the received tradition, up to, including, and after the Song dynasty neo-Confucians. But Rutt is usually placed squarely in the former group, probably with people like Kunst, Shaughnessy, maybe Field.

There's a lot more captives and sacrifices with the first group. It's all a bit more bloodthirsty and brutal. Stripping Away isn't a metaphor for renewal and rebirth, it's actually about skinning a sheep (possibly while it's still alive?). That kind of thing.

I guess Wilhelm would be exemplar of the traditionalist group. There's a bit more emphasis on book of wisdom than book of oracles. Hmm, I guess most of the translations used most commonly for divination are probably biased somewhat towards the traditionalist approach? Maybe that's the influence of Wilhelm? Some do give a bit of a nod in the direction of some of the other group. Karcher does, in patches. Hilary quite often refers to non-traditionalist interpretations. LiSe seems to do some kind of synthesis, she's quite into researching the older meanings of hexagram names.

And what about my original inquiry? Have you seen Gregory Whincup's translation? Any opinions on it?
 
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Liselle

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I think Bradford Hatcher might discuss this, too, in his section called "Problems with Academia." (Don't hold me to that, please. 🙃 )
 

dfreed

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And what about my original inquiry? Have you seen Gregory Whincup's translation? Any opinions on it?
I looked this morning, and according to the kind folks at Amazon it seems I purchased a copy of Whincup's book back on 2016 - though I have no recollection of either buying it or reading it. That's not in any way a judgement on his translation however; and over the next few days I'll see if I can find it and let you know what I think.

As to my question - setting aside the 'modernist' part of it - I didn't get what you were saying. But if I 're-interpret it' as:

It would be nice if some of these "modernists" tracked (the older text) forwards and explored how it came to be so different in the received version ....

... then I can make sense of it, assuming I'm still including your meaning here?

This is getting way outside of my 'wheelhouse' as the say, but it seems to me that we're looking at a few fundamental differences between those we refer to as the 'modernist' and the 'traditionalist' (and I question how clear or clean those definitions really are):

* First, it seems that people like Rutt focus on the Zhouyi - the earliest layer of the Yi - or at least look at it on its own, separate from later commentaries (though Rutt's book includes a full translation of all Ten Wings, as appendices). I suppose this could be seen as being more 'traditional' but again, labels may not work very well in these instances.

* Second, some authors look at the Zhouyi as a book of divination - an oracle - and not as a text about later Confucian or (possibly) Taoist thought.

* Third, in some ways it seems to me that the 'modernist' are being more traditional, in that they are looking at - or trying to understand - the original meanings of the characters, which have changed over thousands of years. I imagine that they too - or at least some of them - are looking at the 'received text' (received version), but are looking for older meanings for the characters found there.

* Fourth, I think that some people try to understand the Zhouyi through it's xiang, its images and imagery. This may not fall cleanly into either the traditionalist or modernist views, but is more about how we make use of the Yi. So, it may not matter if I'm reading Line 32.3 as:

32.3: He who does not give duration to his character meets with disgrace. Persistent humiliation.

or as ...

32.3: Not fixing the power of an augury will lead to failure. Augury of distress. (Wilhelm and then Rutt)

... they both give us imagery to work with; e.g Rutt: not fixing, power, failure (as related to our query or question). So, is this a modern or traditional way of working with the Yi? It's hard to say, but the idea of Xiang / Images feels very Jungian and archetypal to me (and of course Jung made use of Wilhelm's translation) and also interpreation via the xiang has been with us for most of the Yi's history I think.

* As an aside, Rutt says, ‘The earliest sense’ (e.g. meaning), however, is a blurred target, because the various oracles may be of different dates, and we do not know how or when they were collated. If, for instance, Hexagram 4 was originally an omen about meng ‘dodder’, was dodder at the time ... understood as a symbol for a young boy? Or was meng a punning word from the beginning? We have no way of answering such questions at present.

* And finally, as another aside, the phrase 'fixing the power of the augury' is a good example if how I think 'traditionalist' and 'modernist' labels may not work all that well.

One explanation I've heard for this phrase - which I like - is that it describes the act of posing a query to the Yi and then re-asking it again, but making use of oracle bones (or vice versa); it suggests that 'fixing' meant you were checking the accuracy of the interpretation - and it reminds me of the carpenter's adage: 'measure twice, cut once'. I think of this as a 'modernist' explanation - in that I believe it's based on 'modern' research and archeology, but it has been around a really long time.

On the other hand, Stephen Karcher says that 'fixing the power of the augury' meant doing a specific ritual that would allow the augury or omen to become real; I'm not sure if this is a 'traditionalist' explanation or Karcher's mythic-poetic one.

Best, D
 
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dfreed

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I found my copy, and here's a quick look at a few lines comparing, Whincup, Rutt and Wilhelm's versions - and I've also included what each one names or titles the hexagram. I've added Whincup's commentary for each of these four lines. As far as the translation, my quick take is that it falls somewhere between Rutt and Wilhelm, and it seems that Whincup's translation references and incorporates later findings / understandings about the Yi (a.k.a. a 'modernists' take).

His commentary feels very Confucian to me, which makes sense, since many of the Ten Wings (commentaries) reflect later, post-Zhouyi and Confucian ideas and outlooks. I'm not all that keen on most commentaries so I'm not a good judge to say if these are particularly 'good' or 'bad' ones, only to say that Whincup's commentary very much feels like he's 'telling' me what the lines mean (and how I should read and interpret them, and also maybe what I should do), instead of showing me - or letting me explore them more fully on my own.

Comparison of Whincup, Rutt and Wilhelm

Line 1.5

Rutt – 1. Active; Line 1.5: A dragon through the heavens glides. To meet with great men well betides.

Wilhelm – 1. The Creative; Line 1.5: Flying dragon in the heavens. It furthers one to see the great man.

Whincup – 1. Strong Action; Line 1.5: The dragon flies in the sky. He should go see someone big.

Whincup – 1.5 commentary: He cannot succeed on his own in those exalted regions and must find find someone who can guide him. Line five is the place of the ruler whom he seeks.

*** This is an example of why I'm not all that keen on commentaries - or at least Whincup's: here he is telling me/us that the dragon 'cannot succeed on his own' without the ruler's help. But my sense - based on a quick look at this line - is quite different: that the situation calls for more broad, more free-spirited, maybe 'higher' thinking / seeing / understanding on my / our part - as a dragon might have flying through the heavens! And it's this way of thinking or seeing from on high! - that allows one to come upon a 'great' idea / solution, etc. that addresses the situation.


Line 22.5
Rutt – 22. Bedight; Line 11.5: Bedight (adorned) among the garden knolls, though few and poor, those silken rolls. Distress, but ultimately auspicious.

Wilhelm – 22. Grace; Line 22.5: Grace or simplicity? A white horse comes as if on wings. He is not a robber, He will woo at the right time.

Whincup – 22. Adorned; Line 22.5: Though adorned like a hillside garden, the bolts of cloth he offers are few. His difficulties will end in good fortune.

Whincup – 22.5 commentary: Though his gifts are paltry, they are beautiful and he is accepted. Line five is the place of the ruler, who like a bride accepts (broken line) his subordinates' advance. Here as elsewhere in the hexagram, physical beauty may symbolize some other sort of beauty.


Line 30.2
Rutt – 30. Oriole; Line 30.2: Yellow orioles. Most auspicious.

Wilhelm – 30. The Clinging, Fire; Line 30.2: Yellow light. Supreme good fortune.

Whincup – 30. Shining Light; Line 30.2: Yellow light. Supremely auspicious.

Whincup – 30.2 commentary: Noon. The shining benefactor's favor is at its height. Line two is the place of the faithful subject, who is passive (broken line). Yellow is associated with loyalty.


Line 55.2:
Rutt – 55. Thick, Line 55.2: Thick is the screen. Seeing the Plough at noon. Departing brings risk of illness. Sacrificing captives who plead submission. Auspicious.

Wilhelm – 55. Abundance, Fullness; Line 55.2: The curtain is of such fullness That the polestars can be seen at noon. Through going one meets with mistrust and hate. If one rouses him through truth, good fortune comes.

Whincup – 55. Abundance; Line 55.2: So great a canopy that the lamp can be seen at noon. Going forward, he is met with suspicion, but expressing allegiance brings good fortune.

Whincup – Line 55.2 commentary: The king provides such shelter that even the little subject's weak light can be seen. AT first those around the king are suspicious of the newcomer, but his clear declaration of allegiance wins their acceptance.

I hope that's somewhat helpful.

Best, D
 
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IrfanK

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Well, I found my copy, and he's a quick look at a few lines comparing, Whincup with Rutt and Wilhelm's versions - and I've also included what each one names or titles the hexagram. I've added Whincup's commentary for each of these four lines. As far as the translation, my quick take is that it falls somewhere between Rutt and Wilhelm, and it seems that Whincup's translation references and incorporates later findings / understandings about the Yi (a.k.a. the 'modernists').

His commentary feels very Confucian to me, which makes sense, since many of the Ten Wings (commentaries) reflect later, post-Zhouyi and Confucian ideas and outlooks. I'm not all that keen on most commentaries so I'm not a good judge to say if these are particularly 'good' or 'bad' ones, only to say that Whincup's commentary very much feels like he's 'telling' me what the lines mean, instead of showing me - or letting me explore them more fully on my own.

Comparison of Whincup, Rutt and Wilhelm

Line 1.5

Rutt – 1. Active; Line 1.5: A dragon through the heavens glides. To meet with great men well betides.

Wilhelm – 1. The Creative; Line 1.5: Flying dragon in the heavens. It furthers one to see the great man.

Whincup – 1. Strong Action; Line 1.5: The dragon flies in the sky. He should go see someone big.

Whincup – 1.5 commentary: He cannot succeed on his own in those exalted regions and must find find someone who can guide him. Line five is the place of the ruler whom he seeks.

(By way of an example of why I'm not keen on commentaries - or at least Whincup's: here he is telling me/us that the dragon 'cannot succeed on his own' without the ruler's help. But my sense - at least based on a quick look at the line - is quite different: that the situation calls for more broad, more free-spirited, maybe 'higher' thinking/seeing/understanding on my/our part - as a dragon might have flying through the heavens! And it's this way of thinking or seeing from on high! - that allows one to come upon a 'great' idea / solution, etc. that address the situation.)


Line 22.5
Rutt – 22. Bedight; Line 11.5: Bedight (adorned) among the garden knolls, though few and poor, those silken rolls. Distress, but ultimately auspicious.

Wilhelm – 22. Grace; Line 22.5: Grace or simplicity? A white horse comes as if on wings. He is not a robber, He will woo at the right time.

Whincup – 22. Adorned; Line 22.5: Though adorned like a hillside garden, the bolts of cloth he offers are few. His difficulties will end in good fortune.

Whincup – 22.5 commentary: Though his gifts are paltry, they are beautiful and he is accepted. Line five is the place of the ruler, who like a bride accepts (broken line) his subordinates' advance. Here as elsewhere in the hexagram, physical beauty may symbolize some other sort of beauty.


Line 30.2
Rutt – 30. Oriole; Line 30.2: Yellow orioles. Most auspicious.

Wilhelm – 30. The Clinging, Fire; Line 30.2: Yellow light. Supreme good fortune.

Whincup – 30. Shining Light; Line 30.2: Yellow light. Supremely auspicious.

Whincup – 30.2 commentary: Noon. The shining benefactor's favor is at its height. Line two is the place of the faithful subject, who is passive (broken line). Yellow is associated with loyalty.


Line 55.2:
Rutt – 55. Thick, Line 55.2: Thick is the screen. Seeing the Plough at noon. Departing brings risk of illness. Sacrificing captives who plead submission. Auspicious.

Wilhelm – 55. Abundance, Fullness; Line 55.2: The curtain is of such fullness That the polestars can be seen at noon. Through going one meets with mistrust and hate. If one rouses him through truth, good fortune comes.

Whincup – 55. Abundance; Line 55.2: So great a canopy that the lamp can be seen at noon. Going forward, he is met with suspicion, but expressing allegiance brings good fortune.

Whincup – Line 55.2 commentary: The king provides such shelter that even the little subject's weak light can be seen. AT first those around the king are suspicious of the newcomer, but his clear declaration of allegiance wins their acceptance.

I hope that's somewhat helpful.

Best, D
Thanks, David. Very kind of you to provide the examples and comparisons.
 

IrfanK

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@dfreed , ignoring the commentaries, I rather like the plain, straightforward language of Whincup's translation. I'm not really sure that Rutt is a good enough poet to get away with his rhymes. But then, I think simple, straightforward prose is the secret of good writing.
 

dfreed

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I'm not really sure that Rutt is a good enough poet to get away with his rhymes.
Just to note - Rutt passed away July 2011, so he won't be offering any revisions to his text anytime soon.

It's my understanding that some (much?) of the Zhouyi was written in rhyme. I imagine - and it is only my imaginings - that Rutt was trying to emulate this rhyming, but at the same time he tried to keep to the Zhouyi's meaning(s).

Thinking about this a bit - and trying to put words to my thoughts - I believe criteria for what would be a good translation of the Zhouyi includes: 1) that it be fairly accurate - by which I mean that someone attempted to dig into the ancient uses of the Yi's characters (and didn't just re-interpret Wilhelm with modern or more inclusive, or appropriate language); 2) that it keeps the 'flavor' of its origins as an oracle (and doesn't try to turn it into a Confucian or Daoist philosophical text), and 3) that it 'speaks' to us - that we resonate with it. That in summary, it has the flavor of:

"A crane calls on a shaded slope, its chicks call in reply.
Here we have a brimming cup: together we’ll drink it dry."

(Rutt, Line 61.2)

Based on this, Rutt's Zhouyi is a nice fit for me; and therefore I can live with his less than perfect poetry. You may find other translations that fit better for you.

Best, D
 
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IrfanK

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... that it be fairly accurate - by which I mean that someone attempted to dig into the ancient uses of the Yi's characters (and didn't just re-interpret Wilhelm with modern or more inclusive, or appropriate language)
Hmmm. Well, the fact that someone with full sincerity and great learning "attempted to dig into the ancient uses" is really no guarantee of "accuracy." In fact, when you have erudite individuals arguing whether "fu" means "captives" or "truth" and whether "meng" means "young ignoramus" or some kind of creeping weed, it's a pretty clear sign that you've got a bit of a challenge on your hands there. How will you know when you've finally got your "accurate" translation?
 
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tacrab

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Some of the highly specialized Yijing books may be available to read (post-covid) at a college or university library. Depending on where you live, you may be able to obtain books through interlibrary loan (i.e., depends on what networks your library subscribes to).
 

dfreed

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How will you know when you've finally got your "accurate" translation?
Hmm. That's hard to say. Not being a sinologist or someone who knows ancient Chinese - or any Chinese for that matter - I guess I rely on others whom I trust. Harmen has been a good resource for me in this regard. He has spoken highly of Rutt, so I tried it and I like it. I suppose I also rely on what I feel about an author or a translation - about their approach and what intelligence they show in their work.

And example of this for Rutt is found in his translation notes for Hex. 4 that he titled "dodder". He says of the name and hexagram statement: "Waley explained meng as ‘dodder’, a parasitic flowering plant with no roots or leaves. Like other parasites, it attracts superstitious respect. Ode 48 tells of gathering dodder, apparently as a charm, though with another name: tang. Gao Heng ... understood meng as a short form for ‘blindness’, punning with the later Confucian interpretation: ‘a youth."

I get a sense here that Rutt did his 'homework' so to speak, and he made intelligent choices about the translation - but at the same time I sense that he's not saying that 'dodder' is the end-all-be-all title for this hexagram. I also think - based on some of his other materials - that Rutt is not trying to give me a Confucian, or Daoist, or Buddhist, etc. version of the Zhouyi which 1) I appreciate and that 2) feels much more in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Zhouyi, at least based on what I know.

I suppose too that I'm not looking for some iron-clad guarantee of "accuracy" - which seems like an impossible standard to achieve.

I am reminded of a time in the 1960s-70's here in the US where there was basically only one translation that people new about - Wilhelm's; and so that's what people worked with. And in ancient China I imagine that a diviner would have only one Zhouyi to work from, and if it called Hex. 4 Meng, 'Dodder', or called Hex. 4 'Youthful Inexperience' than that's what they worked with and divined with. And right now Rutt is whom I like working with, and I like his 'dodder' and his 'bedight' (Hex. 22) and the 'crying pheasant' (Hex. 36), and his less than perfect rhymes.

That's about as good as I can explain it right now. And this makes me wonder, what criteria do you use in determining if a Yi translation is good or not, or if it works for you? ... How will you know when you've finally got your "accurate" translation?

Best, D
 
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IrfanK

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That's about as good as I can explain it right now. And this makes me wonder, what criteria do you use in determining if a Yi translation is good or not, or if it works for you? ... How will you know when you've finally got your "accurate" translation?
I pretty much always come back to Wilhelm. What can I say? I bought a copy forty years ago and have it still. Whenever I hear someone give a different translation, I mentally translate it in my head. But that's more habit and aesthetic tastes rather than anything else.

I do love the Bronze Age stuff. It's quite thrilling after all that civilized stuff from the Song dynasty. But it really is pretty speculative at this stage.

I guess I'm basically happy with the idea that the I Ching is an evolving document that has grown and taken on many new shades of meaning over the centuries, but that its core is a deep mystery.
 
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dfreed

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I'm basically happy with the idea that the I Ching is an evolving document that has grown and taken on many new shades of meaning over the centuries, but that its core is a deep mystery.
As far as I can tell, the Yi hasn't 'evolved' at all - it's pretty much as it's been (with some minor variations along the way I'm sure). I'm wondering then, do you mean that our understanding of the Yi has evolved? And would things like good research, an understand of ancient Chinese and the Bronze Age .... all add to our evolving understanding of the Yi - even if they don't lead to a perfect or completely 'accurate translation?

I pretty much always come back to Wilhelm .... more habit and aesthetic tastes rather than anything else.
Wilhelm seems like a good place to start and to come back to - and even to stay with. Your 'criteria' here seems to match (or overlap) with my Criteria No. 3: that the Yi 'speaks' to us - that we resonate with it.

I do love the Bronze Age stuff.

Earlier you said "The 'modernist' school tries to look at the Zhouyi as a document from the Bronze Age - which seems to me to be entirely fitting, since it is a document from the Bronze Age. And it seems to me that if you 'love the Bronze Age stuff' that you'd love Rutt.
 

IrfanK

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Earlier you said "The 'modernist' school tries to look at the Zhouyi as a document from the Bronze Age - which seems to me to be entirely fitting, since it is a document from the Bronze Age. And it seems to me that if you 'love the Bronze Age stuff' that you'd love Rutt.
It might be more accurate to say it was a document from the Bronze Age. But where is that document now? Certainly there is no surviving version of the Zhouyi from that period -- only from much later, transcribed into a different script, at a period when written language was evolving very rapidly. So, how do you get back to this original script? By a lot of detective work, based on very incomplete data, like trying to piece together a jig saw when you only have one in ten of the pieces. So, I admire Rutt and Field and Shaugnessey (and Harmen, for that matter) for their diligence and imagination. They add a new layer of understanding. But it's a very murky image.

I'm just looking through Redmond and Tze-Ki's Teaching the I Ching. They have a whole two chapters on the reconstruction of the Bronze Age Zhouyi and the challenges involved, with delightful sub-chapters on "Sincerity and Captives" and "Importunate Weeds" (the dodder thing). I rather like the concluding paragraph of that chapter:

Context criticism has itself been criticized most vehemently by Bradford Hatcher.14 While his approach is polemical, it provides a healthy dose of skepticism. He particularly takes issue with a remark of Rutt’s to the effect that the translator should only consider meanings of the graph attested in other texts of similar date. Hatcher correctly points out that we know only a subset of the words in use at such a remote time and so cannot automatically discard a possible meaning simply because it is not found in other of the few surviving texts of that era. This is essentially the well-known principle that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” However, the principles of context criticism are not invariably applied with the degree of rigidity that Hatcher seems to imply. His critique is a useful reminder that the received version is the best single witness to the Zhouyi and should not be amended unless substantive evidence supports the change.
 
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Liselle

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delightful sub-chapters on "Sincerity and Captives"
I get dodder for 4 and crying pheasant for 36, but I don't understand fu and captives. Anyone know of anything to read about this that doesn't involve paying for it? ( :paperbag: )
 

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Well... the character fu 孚 means trust-truth-confidence, but with a 'person' radical added, 俘, it means 'captive'. The idea is that 孚 was used to mean 俘.

Field for instance says, when he gets to Hexagram 61, 'In the Yijing all thirty instances of the graph fu are missing the "man" element, yet all but one of them mean "captive" or "capture".' His one exception is 14.5.

I'm really not sure why this is thought to be a good idea. When Field reaches 61.2, he actually notes that
'The image of this omen text is an appropriate representation of the original meaning of fu, "hatchling", noted under the hexagram name above. A derived meaning of "hatchling" is "confidence" - the fragile chicks have total trust and dependence on the hen that hatches them. Here, it is a symbol of allegiance.'
And yet despite all that, he feels the need to name Hexagram 61 'Score the Capture'. I find this bizarre.
 

hilary

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I'm just looking through Redmond and Tze-Ki's Teaching the I Ching. They have a whole two chapters on the reconstruction of the Bronze Age Zhouyi and the challenges involved, with delightful sub-chapters on "Sincerity and Captives" and "Importunate Weeds" (the dodder thing).
That sounds like a lot of fun. Should I buy it?
 

dfreed

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So, I admire Rutt and Field and Shaugnessey (and Harmen, for that matter) for their diligence and imagination. They add a new layer of understanding. But it's a very murky image.

... and "Hatcher correctly points out that we know only a subset of the words in use at such a remote time ...."
I do not disagree. But it seems that this 'murky image' (or images) may have also carried over into the more 'common' translations - perhaps what we think of as translations of the 'received text'. For those of us reading English or other non-Chinese translations, this murkiness is two-fold: first, that there was (or is) murkiness in the 'translation' from the ancient (older) Shang- and Zhou-era language and text into the Chinese that was used many centuries later. And then there is the further murkiness of translating this text into foreign languages.

We can add to this the complexities found within languages themselves: loan words, multiple meanings, different flavors of meaning, whether we're speaking/writing literally, or figuratively, or mythically, archetypically ....

There is also the very (very) murky aspect of cultural, spiritual, religious, political and philosophical overlays that happen along with translating: e.g. A Zhou, oracle-based phrase, word, character takes on (new or added) Taoist or Confucian or Buddhist meanings, which then take on all the overlays of European and/or Judeo-Christian culture ....

Viewed in this way, it seems that Wilhelm and Rutt (and others) are all 'murky' but maybe in different ways. Given that, my 'criteria' for what I look for in a translation of the Zhouyi still works (for me):

1) that it be fairly accurate - by which I mean that someone attempted to dig into the ancient uses of the Yi's characters ...; 2) that it keeps the 'flavor' of its origins as an oracle ..., and 3) that it 'speaks' to us - that we resonate with it. That in summary, it has the flavor of:

"A crane calls on a shaded slope, its chicks call in reply.
Here we have a brimming cup: together we’ll drink it dry."

(Rutt, Line 61.2)

Best, D
 
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Liselle

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Well... the character fu 孚 means trust-truth-confidence, but with a 'person' radical added, 俘, it means 'captive'. The idea is that 孚 was used to mean 俘.

Field for instance says, when he gets to Hexagram 61, 'In the Yijing all thirty instances of the graph fu are missing the "man" element, yet all but one of them mean "captive" or "capture".' His one exception is 14.5.

I'm really not sure why this is thought to be a good idea. When Field reaches 61.2, he actually notes that
'The image of this omen text is an appropriate representation of the original meaning of fu, "hatchling", noted under the hexagram name above. A derived meaning of "hatchling" is "confidence" - the fragile chicks have total trust and dependence on the hen that hatches them. Here, it is a symbol of allegiance.'
And yet despite all that, he feels the need to name Hexagram 61 'Score the Capture'. I find this bizarre.
Thank you! (This would indeed be "something to read that doesn't involve paying for it" :biggrin: )

Maybe one can stretch things and say captives are dependent on their captors and have to trust them, and/or the captors want to gain the captives' allegiance?

The associations I have with captives are things like the Holocaust, POWs in Vietnam, and prisoners in Guantanamo, none of which bring to mind trust...

Crouch says the Zhou struggled with all this, the idea of human sacrifice and what to do with captives.

Footnote to 61.5
When I first wrote this, I didn't fully appreciate how truly pervasive the theme of needing to reconcile with former enemies is throughout theYijing. In its shrewd, gimlet-eyed way, the primitive Yijing is indeed more a peacelike book than a warlike one.

Footnote to 14.1's commentary
The historic Zhou eventually gave up the Shang practice of human sacrifice. and indeed the Yijing corroborates this. One of the most interesting themes that emerges in the primitive Yijing is the apparent diminishment of the practice of human sacrifice. When prisoners are to be sacrificed, the oracle usually puts forward a few other options. We imagine an oracle as all-knowing, but here and elsewhere, we seem to see the Zhou's oracle struggling with decisions about how to manage prisoners and ritual matters.

I especially like his 14.4 commentary (underlining added by me)
"The point that they will not be used in sacrifices is made more clearly, and reassurance is given that this is not reprehensible behavior.

Cultivate the goodwill of the rivals whom you have defeated."
 

dfreed

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but I don't understand fu and captives.
When you say you don't understand fu, do you mean you don't know what to make of the word 'captives' when you come across it in your readings? And this makes me wonder, which translation are you using? I ask because the word captive is not found very much in some translations; on the other hand Rutt (and maybe others) uses it a lot: the phrase "Sacrificing captives" is found a few dozen times in his translation. (He also translates Fu as 'Returning' - the title for Hex. 24.)

Maybe one can stretch things and say captives are dependent on their captors and have to trust them, and/or the captors want to gain the captives' allegiance? .... The associations I have with captives are things like the Holocaust, POWs in Vietnam, and prisoners in Guantanamo, none of which bring to mind trust .... Crouch says the Zhou struggled with all this, the idea of human sacrifice and what to do with captives.
I'm not a scholar, but based on what I've read, I'm not sure if I agree with the idea that the 'Zhou struggled with all this' (I assume this means taking captives?) I've read that Shang- and Zhou- era warfare included the taking of prisoners and then their sacrifice as part of a ritual carried out after a successful campaign: just as the emperor would divine to ask for the blessings of the ancestors before a battle, he would also offer up the captives (prisoners of war) as a necessary offering after a successful campaign, which could also include the sacrifice of animals (such as horses) and ritual objects - this was done after first interrogating the captives.

Over time, this became a less common practice for the Zhou, though I can only speculate as to why: maybe the found that prisoners of war were more valuable as slaves or for barter, or maybe over time they became less violent in their rituals, sacrifices and offerings.

For me, one sense of 'sacrificing captives' includes thinking about what holds me captive (an idea, a situation, an emotion, another person, my family dynamics/history, etc.) and how can I give (sacrifice, offer) this up to improve whatever situation I queried the Yi about. That's not the only meaning / association we might have with Fu-Captives, but that's one that comes to mind for me.

Best, D
 
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Liselle

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When you say you don't understand fu, do you mean you don't know what to make of the word 'captives' when you come across it in your readings? And this makes me wonder, which translation are you using? I ask because the word captive is not found very much in some translations; on the other hand Rutt (and maybe others) uses it a lot: the phrase "Sacrificing captives" is found a few dozen times in his translation. (He also translates Fu as 'Returning' - the title for Hex. 24.)
It's in Crouch a lot. Also you and Irfan brought it up just in this thread, as well as dodder and the pheasant. That was really where my question came from, the thread.
I like his 'dodder' and his 'bedight' (Hex. 22) and the 'crying pheasant' (Hex. 36)



I'm not sure if I agree with the idea that the 'Zhou struggled with all this' (I assume this means taking captives?) I've read that Shang- and Zhou- era warfare included the taking of prisoners and then their sacrifice as part of a ritual carried out after a successful campaign - just as the emperor would divine to ask for the blessings of the ancestors before a battle, he would also offer up the sacrifices as a necessary offering after a successful campaign, which could also include the sacrifice of animals (such as horses) and ritual objects.
I certainly don't know if Crouch is right.

Over time, this became a less common practice for the Zhou, though I can only speculate as to why.
I imagine Crouch may have meant that part of any practice becoming less common probably involves struggle (debate, discussion, persuasion). Happens nowadays, too. Smoking, for instance. It took a long time to go from smoking being commonplace to it being quite restricted.

For me, one sense of 'sacrificing captives' includes thinking about what holds me captive (an idea, a situation, an emotion, another person, etc.) and how can I give (sacrifice, offer) this up to improve whatever situation I queried the Yi about. That's not the only meaning / association we might have with Fu, but that's one that comes to mind for me.
Interesting idea. And 'captive' in a more neutral sense than human sacrifice (though I see the parallel).


But if the fu-captive association is valid at all, it does make fu seem different, doesn't it? More fragile maybe, harder-won, involving duress, a lot to overcome. At least I'd never thought of fu like that, it always seemed more warm and fuzzy (like a hatchling, now that Hilary's mentioned it), or maybe 34-ish.
 

dfreed

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It's in Crouch a lot.
I have never heard of him/her. Are they writing about this time in history or about the Yi, or is it part of a translation?

part of anything practice becoming less common probably involves struggle
Yes, that is likely true. But more of a struggle with some things than others.

But if the fu-captive association is at all valid, it does make fu seem different, doesn't it?
Since I'm reading the Yi in English, I'm not really reading the word fu, but how it's been translated by a particular author. And it is more than one word: Hatcher has eight entries for fu in his glossary (but I don't think he includes fu as captive?).

But yes, if I read / understand fu as captive it carries a different meaning than fu as returning (Hex. 24): I try to understand or imagine the meaning based on whatever translation I'm using. So even in Rutt, he has "Returning (fu) he doubles his track:, and "Returning from the waters brink" and here I wouldn't think 'captive'. But when he writes: 9.5: "Sacrificing captives bound together" I think 'captives' and not Returning.

What's also interesting - and perhaps fun and confusing - is the idea of working with a word even if we don't know it's meaning. Harmen Mesker shared this in his online Mystery of the Text course: I didn't know what a 'dodder' was, but I worked with it anyway, based on the image or idea that came to me: so, for me 'dodder' sounded like - and reminded me of - a small bait fish like a herring or sand lance.

And using Rutt, I imagined 'dodder(s) in bundles" - maybe, a school of small fish, gathered, swimming together as if in bundled together; or "wrapping dodder(s)" - perhaps catching (wrapping) this school of small herring-like fish in a net ....

Best, D
 

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Maybe one can stretch things and say captives are dependent on their captors and have to trust them, and/or the captors want to gain the captives' allegiance?
Maybe. From somewhere, I have the idea that bringing home war captives demonstrates that you did, in fact, fight and win the war your king sent you off to fight, so they are tokens that inspire confidence.

Or maybe 孚 in the 'captives' character is just phonetic? Don't know.
(He also translates Fu as 'Returning' - the title for Hex. 24.)
That's a completely different character: 復 .

I would say a completely unrelated character, except that I have a very faint memory of Margaret Pearson telling me that 復 was used sometimes in the Mawangdui version where the received text has 孚. She took that as evidence against the 'captives' idea, since 'returning' (home, to the path...) might conceivably be a related concept to 'trust' but not to 'captives'.

Note: this conversation took place at least 15 years ago. I may be misremembering it completely. Does anyone have a handy copy of MWD to check?

What's also interesting - and perhaps fun and confusing - is the idea of working with a word even if we don't know it's meaning. Harmen Mesker shared this in his online Mystery of the Text course: I didn't know what a 'dodder' was, but I worked with it anyway, based on the image or idea that came to me: so, for me 'dodder' sounded like - and reminded me of - a small bait fish like a herring or sand lance.

That approach makes sense given a certain idea of what the Yi is - namely, a book that can be used for bibliomancy in exactly the same way as any other book - a dictionary, the phone directory, whatever.
 

Liselle

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What's also interesting - and perhaps fun and confusing - is the idea of working with a word even if we don't know it's meaning. Harmen Mesker shared this in his online Mystery of the Text course: I didn't know what a 'dodder' was, but I worked with it anyway, based on the image or idea that came to me: so, for me 'dodder' sounded like - and reminded me of - a small bait fish like a herring or sand lance.
That approach makes sense given a certain idea of what the Yi is - namely, a book that can be used for bibliomancy in exactly the same way as any other book - a dictionary, the phone directory, whatever.
Maybe I'm missing the point, but isn't that ridiculous? Words aren't inkblots, they mean something, and dodder is not a fish.

I may as well say "blood" is a fish, because it reminds me of the blub-blub sound they make.

(Yes, fish have blood in them, it's hardly their defining characteristic.)
 

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No, you're not missing the point at all. If you consider the Yijing to have no meaning, nothing to say... if the hexagram you cast means nothing, it might as well be associated with fish as anything else, you might as well be sticking a pin in the phone book, then this approach makes sense. Otherwise, not so much.
 

Liselle

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Oh, okay, got it, thanks.

Once or twice I have had interesting experiences with the "close eyes, open book, point" sort of thing, but if I recall it was the words' actual meanings that suggested something.

Should try something like that again. It's kind of reinvigorating.
 
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dfreed

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but isn't that ridiculous? Words aren't inkblots, they mean something, and dodder is not a fish.
I'm not really defending or advertising this, just presenting it as an idea - one that I found interesting to play / work with.

One thing this does bring to mind: consider the wide variety of meanings and the many different and varied translations of the Yi. For any given line or verse, or hexagram name, or a trigram, .... having so many different meanings, associations, definitions ....

.... and when I read a lot of the discussions on this forum (and other places) about 'what does ___ mean' (a word, phrase, hexagram, line, trigram ....) they seem pretty 'ink-blotty' to me.

And I sense this ambiguity with some of the ways people work with the Yi (and even how I work with the Yi). Why should one hexagram be the 'Shadow', 'Ideal', 'Change Operator, Seasonal Change, etc. hexagram for another hexagram, or more correctly, why do we say they carry the meanings that they do? Some or all of these might be useful, but I'm not sure there's always a rational way to explain them.

So, why not 'dodder' as a fish? Or even 'dodder' as daughter, as in fodders and dodders? I think that if I did a reading, and 'Dodder Fish' gave me a useful and helpful response, that's what matters.

Best, D
 

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