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Selected Development Project
Project Title

Inspirations and Challenges from Silk and Bamboo-slip Texts: Philosophical Investigation Based on Interdisciplinary Researches (Phase 2) 簡帛文獻與思想史第二期

Principal Investigator Prof Cheng, Kat Hung Dennis
Area of Research Project
Language, Literature and Linguistics
Project Period
From 12/2013 To 11/2016
  • To demonstrate the practice of synchronizing two approaches, philological and philosophical, to study the key words/terms in traditional and excavated texts in early Chinese intellectual history.
  • To re-examine the development of early Chinese intellectual history based on the new understandings derived from “two-approach” studies of key words/terms.
  • To re-examine certain methodological issues discussed by scholars in the studies of silk manuscripts and bamboo slips in the past decades. This re-examination will be carried out in the form of workshops/symposiums to encourage public and open discussions with scholars from the East and the West.
  • To write detailed articles on the key words/terms mentioned above. The final goal is to author a book containing 8-10 chapters, and to edit a volume on the discussion of ideas in early Chinese intellectual history.
Methods Used
Dual approach: simultaneously applying philological approach and philosophic approach to explore the etymological meaning of key ideas (key terms) by studying both traditional Classical texts and newly excavated texts, so to benefit the study of hermeneutic tradition in early China and to better understand the development of early Chinese intellectual history.
Summary of Findings
  • Both philological and philosophic approach are needed: a justification of interdisciplinary research approach.
  • New research perspectives will be added to the understanding of early Chinese Intellectual history
  • A reflection on the art/method of hermeneutic tradition in early China
  • The philological and philosophic meaning of several "ideas" in early Chinese intellectual history.
  • Benefiting the methodology of study of excavated texts.
  • Benefiting the understanding of hermeneutic tradition in early China.
  • A refereed article “Reexamining the Imagery Meaning of the Changes” (易象新議) has been accepted and in printing in the volume 22 of Sino Humanitas (人文中國學報) which is an A grade journal.
  • A refereed article “On ‘Tian’ (天, Sky, Heaven, Celestial)” is under review process by the Bulletin in Chinese Literature and Philosophy (中國文哲研究集刊) which is an A grade journal.
  • A book chapter on a new commenting notes on the “Wuxing (五行, The Five Phases) of the “Guodian chu jian”(郭店楚簡)” is completed and is under publishing process. (Professor Cheng is the second author.)
  • Two scholarly books (one is a new commentary to the excavated texts, another is an anthology for discussing method and methodology on the study of excavated texts in early Chinese intellectual history) which have been accepted by publisher, are editing and will be published by next year. (Professor Cheng is one of the three chief editors.)
Biography of Principal Investigator

Professor Cheng Kat Hung Dennis is carrying the concurrent title of Chair Professor of Cultural History and Associate Vice President (Programme Development). Prior to joining HKIEd, Professor Cheng was Professor in the Department of Chinese Literature at the National Taiwan University (2002-2012). He is famous for being one of the leaders in involving the “Project of Pursuing for Excellence (first phase)” (2000-2004) and in setting up the “NTU Center for the Study of East Asian Civilization” (2002-2006), both initiated and supported by the Ministry of Education. He had also worked with sixteen scholars from four universities on a collaborative project “Innovative and Inter-disciplinary Program in Contemporary Interpretations of Canonical Texts” supported by the MoE for which he served as the P. I. . He has been active in giving talks at top universities in the east and west. Specifically he had worked in two world leading international institutions in Asian Studies. He was appointed “Senior Visiting Research Fellow” at the Asia Research Institute (ARI) of National University of Singapore in 2007 and later appointed “European Chair of Chinese Studies” (ECCS) at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) of Leiden University (2010-2011). He has come to know the latest trends of scholarship in Chinese Studies in particular, and Asian Studies in general. He specializes on a variety of areas in Chinese studies, mainly on Confucianism, Chinese intellectual history and East Asian hermeneutic traditions focusing on the interpretation theories of the Classic of Changes (Yijing and their commentaries), involving the disciplines of history, philology, philosophy, and their inner connections. He had published 5 books, 12 editing volumes and more than 50 reviewed articles.

Funding Source

General Research Fund