The Explanation of “Shendu” by Zheng Xuan and Zhu Xi from the Perspective of Language and Its Interpretation by Western Scholars
The expression “shendu” (慎獨), typically translated as “being watchful over oneself,” appears frequently in Chinese intellectual history, both in the literature from the Confucianism and the Daoist tradition. Scholars have intensely debated on this quote throughout history. This article will first introduce the relevant sources from ancient China and then use a linguistic perspective to analyze the active or passive orientation of “shendu.” Using this approach, we can study Zheng Xuan’s and Zhu Xi’s understanding of “shendu.” On the basis of this foundation, we are able to discuss academic works by both Western and Chinese scholars written in Western languages. Because verbs in Indo- European languages express the active and passive voice more clearly than those in the Chinese language, translators who translate Chinese into Western languages often feel compelled to restrict the broad semantic fi eld from the original Chinese text. Ultimately, most scholars seem to rely on James Legge’s influential translation. Thus, we will observe how a certain foreign rendering of a traditional Confucianism idea can shape intellectual patterns in the contemporary history of thought. Legge realized the rich semantic content of the original Zhongyong text but decided to narrow down the meaning because he was concerned that Western readers might be unable to comprehend it. This situation might have imposed some restrictions on interpretations by later scholars.
|關鍵詞||《中庸》、西方譯著經典、哲學史、慎獨、Zhongyong、Western translation of Confucianism texts、history of philosophy、“shendu”|