Religious Studies | Philosophical Approaches to Religion: Seminar in Zhuangzi
R581 | 22649 | A. Stalnaker
The Zhuangzi is arguably the most fascinating early Daoist text,
richer and deeper than the more famous Daodejing. The Zhuangzi
exerted a profound influence on later East Asian culture,
literature, and religion, including both Daoism and Buddhism
(especially Chan and Zen Buddhism). Populated by amazing
characters, strange animals, and mysterious masters of the Way, the
text is highly sophisticated as both a philosophical and literary
creation. Voices within it urge us to “leap into the boundless and
make it our home,” and “wander without a destination.” We will read
the entire text, with emphasis on the core “Inner” chapters,
practicing close reading to explore the many aspects of this book.
Some attention will also be paid to secondary scholarship, and to
questions about the text’s composition and transmission. As a
seminar, the course will emphasize discussion. While there are no
prerequisites, previous coursework on Chinese philosophy and
religion, especially in the Warring States period, is recommended.
All required readings are in English or English translation (e.g.,
Ziporyn, Watson, and Graham), although if enough students enroll who
can read classical Chinese, I plan to offer an extra section to read
selections in the original language.