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LRCCS Noon Lecture Series | Repurposed Mythology Versus Repurposed Divination: The Zhouyi and the Development of Chinese Philosophy

Brook Ziporyn, Mircea Eliade Professor of Chinese Religion, Philosophy, and Comparative Thought, Divinity School, University of Chicago
Tuesday, March 5, 2024
12:00-1:00 PM
Room 1010 Weiser Hall Map
Attend in person or via Zoom. Zoom registration at

Something very strange seems to have happened a long time ago in a far-off land: a fortune-telling book was made the basis of a philosophical tradition. How did this system of prognostication come to be viewed as the ultimate authority in matters of cosmology, metaphysics, politics and ethics? With what consequences, and on what premises? How does this differ from traditions that take a different bit of their seemingly obsolete cultural technology—mythological narrative—as their touchpoint for developing philosophical thought? These will be our topics in this talk.

Brook A. Ziporyn is a scholar of ancient and medieval Chinese religion and philosophy. He received his BA in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago, and his PhD from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the Divinity School faculty, he has taught Chinese philosophy and religion at the University of Michigan (Department of Asian Languages and Cultures), Northwestern University (Department of Religion and Department of Philosophy), Harvard University (Department of East Asian Literature and Civilization) and the National University of Singapore (Department of Philosophy).

Dr. Ziporyn is the author of "Evil And/Or/As the Good: Omnicentric Holism, Intersubjectivity and Value Paradox in Tiantai Buddhist Thought" (Harvard, 2000), "The Penumbra Unbound: The Neo-Taoist Philosophy of Guo Xiang" (SUNY Press, 2003), "Being and Ambiguity: Philosophical Experiments With Tiantai Buddhism" (Open Court, 2004); "Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings with Selections from Traditional Commentaries" (Hackett, 2009); "Ironies of Oneness and Difference: Coherence in Early Chinese Thought; Prolegomena to the Study of Li" (SUNY Press, 2012); and "Beyond Oneness and Difference: Li and Coherence in Chinese Buddhist Thought and its Antecedents" (SUNY
Press, 2013). His seventh book, "Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism," was published by Indiana University Press in 2016. He is currently working on a cross-cultural inquiry into the themes of death, time and perception, tentatively entitled "Against Being Here Now," as well as a book-length exposition of atheism as a form of religious and mystical experience in the intellectual histories of Europe, India and China. His translation of "Zhuangzi: The Complete Writings" was published by Hackett in 2020, and his translation of the "Daodejing" will be published by Liveright Books and the Norton Library in 2022.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Asia, China, Philosophy
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, International Institute, Asian Languages and Cultures