MRI Forum 29

"Reading the Classics at the Age of Globalization"

by Thierry Meynard, s.j.


Summary of the Presentation

Even though the Classical texts of the major civilizations seem atemporal, they should be considered as living texts, constantly taking new meanings inside a particular tradition. When those texts cross the boundary of their original culture and language, they can also reveal new potentials. For example, in the intercultural exchange between the West and China , the Classics of both traditions have played an important role in the cross-fertilization between the two cultures. We shall look at the example of late Ming and early Qing periods, where for the first time Greek and Latin Classics were translated into Chinese and where Chinese Classics were translated into Western languages. This analysis will enable us to understand what is at stake and the conditions under which Classics can be “translated” into another culture. Going beyond the intercultural exchange between China and the West which started five hundred years ago, we are now invited to think about the possible formation of a corpus of Classical Texts, drawn from the major traditions of the world, which will constitute a Global literacy for any cultivated man and woman. Under what conditions such a Globes' Corpus can emerge and be relevant for future generations? What does this imply for the education system?

Profile of the Speaker

Thierry Meynard is currently assistant professor at Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, where he teaches Western Classics. In 2003, he has obtained his PhD in Philosophy from Peking University , presenting a thesis on Liang Shuming. From 2003 to 2006, he has taught philosophy at Fordham University , New York . Since 2006, he is a member of the Macau Ricci Institute. He has authored twenty academic articles and a dozen of essays. He has recently edited Teilhard and the Future of Humanity , New York : Fordham University Press, 2006. Also, he has authored Following the Footsteps of the Jesuits in Beijing , St Louis : Jesuit Sources, 2006.