PREDICTING A NEW NATION : Yijing Studies in Twentieth-century China

「革之時大已哉」—— 二十世紀易學與中國現代化

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-514
Journal / PublicationMonumenta Serica
Issue number2
Online published26 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


This article examines the transformation of the Yijing(I Ching, Book of Changes) into a blueprint for creating a nation-state in post-imperial China. It focuses on three pivotal moments when the Yijing was modernized: (1) its new function as an empirical narrative of social evolution at the beginning of the twentieth century, (2) its new mission to support the nation’s modernization from the 1920s to the 1960s; and (3) its new image as a commodity in the print market since the 1990s. Together, these three pivotal moments reveal a paradox of modernizing the Yijing. As more efforts were made to refurbish the Yijing as a text about China’s modernization, the more the Yijing became a vital force of critiquing and destabilizing that modernizing mission. In the end, the modernization of the Yijing did not make it a symbol of Chinese modernity. Rather, it turned the classic into a critique of contradictions and alienation of our contemporary life.
一般認爲,《易經》與中國現代化是相互矛盾的。《易經》(或稱《周易》)是皇朝統治思想的支柱, 也是士大夫讀經入仕的重要典籍。辛亥革命後, 隨著中國政體現代化和儒家文化的衰落,《易經》已失去它往昔光輝, 最多只能在文獻上提供一些西周歷史的訊息。本文不同意這種看法。本文將從政治哲學入手, 證明《易經》在三方面一直承擔者中國政治現代化的重任:(1)清末民初時期引入社會進化論、(2)民國時期推廣國家主義與唯物史觀、(3)八十年代以後成爲文化商品啓迪對多元社會的思索。本文的結論是,無論在民國時期或在社會主義中國,《易經》都發揮它獨特的「 憂患意識」, 一方面鼓勵推
陳出新、迎接現代化, 另一方面對種種不平作出批判, 以建立更完美的社會。

Research Area(s)

  • evolution, modernization, nationalism, social Darwinism, Yijing, 《易經》, 進化論, 現代化, 國家主義, 社會達爾文主義