Organized Panel Session
The intellectual history of Edo period Japan was characterized by the formation of exciting new methods for undertaking detailed textual commentaries that at once examine and decipher, contextualize and compare various Chinese texts that either greatly inspired or were creatively appropriated by leading Japanese thinkers, whose writings feature a distinctive rhetorical flair and interpretative acumen. Three case studies of quite different yet complementary primary sources are examined in detail. First, George Keyworth shows how an often overlooked émigré Chan monk, Donggao Xinyue, played a leading role in teaching various Sinophiles, including monks, doctors, and literati eager to understand Chinese writings in terms of important recent methodologies. Next, John Tucker discusses the writings of Andō Shōeki, who engaged innovatively with Chinese classics in light of contemporary political debates and was often criticized at the time but appreciated in later periods. Finally, Steven Heine investigates extensive commentaries featuring new interpretative techniques conducted by Sōtō Zen monks on Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō during a period in the eighteenth century when publication of the masterwork was banned because of misunderstandings about the master’s usage of continental materials. The three papers will be distributed in advance to facilitate scholarly exchange during the session. The session chair and discussant are both experts on Edo religious thought in relation to Chinese writings, including Jiang Wu, who has published on the history and thought of the Ōbaku sect that arrived from China, and Diane Riggs, whose research specializes in monastic practices associated with mainland instructional texts.