Addresses the thorny issue of whether Confucian values can provide answers to the social upheavals of 21st century China
“Zhao gives a very good reading of Xunzi’s main concepts, peppered with short textual references that illuminate a thinker who is too often overlooked or dismissed in favour of others in the Confucian pantheon. Though the focus of the study is on a comparison of Xunzi and Paul, Zhao also brings in Confucius and other key Chinese figures, so the reader gets a clearer understanding of Xunzi within that philosophical tradition. The Pauline material is also by and large well done, though with a bit less familiarity, breadth, and confidence than the author brings to the Chinese thinkers. Particularly insightful is the distinction Zhao draws between Paul’s goal of inner peace and Xunzi’s goal of harmony, and how this affects their respective understandings of ethical development and proper Father-Son relationship (pp. 175–78).
… Another important difference that merits closer attention is that the “divine” for Paul is a monotheistic personal God, and not the somewhat ambiguous “Heaven” of the Chinese tradition. This theology brings up a number of other concepts such as grace and eschatology which in the Christian tradition holds that human destiny can never find final fulfilment in this world, but rather that the ethical ideal finds completion in union with God in Jesus Christ in the world to come. Another area that Zhao probably conflated a bit too simplistically was Xunzi’s and Paul’s use of ‘law.’ For Paul ‘law’ is not the same as for Xunzi or the philosophical concept of law. For example, Zhao uses the expression ‘external law’ as a constant between Xunzi and Paul, but both have very different concepts and uses of ‘law’ in their respective systems.
… In addition to the... [continues]
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