Abstract

This essay examines the intra-poetic relationship between the "Inner Chapters" and the "Syncretist Chapters" of the Zhuangzi, exploring the affinities and tensions between the two competing works by analyzing not only how the Syncretist authors deliberately displace and recast the precursor poem by engaging in an act of creative revisionism, but also how the "Syncretist Chapters" unconsciously reveal a hidden debt to the "Inner Chapters," especially in regard to the practices of inner cultivation and a cosmology of the Dao. As will be argued, the sociopolitical dimensions of syncretic Daoist thought, most pointedly in regard to the art of rulership, seem to be premised on the kind of inner cultivation that we find in the "Inner Chapters." Indeed, for the Syncretist it is precisely the sovereign's ability to be "inwardly a sage, outwardly a king" (nei shang wai wang), to coordinate the cosmological and the political, that permits her to "adjust and attune the empire and be in harmony with men." The "Syncretist Chapters" can thus be viewed as a corrective movement within the history of early Daoism that, in an act of creative revisionism, completes and reconstitutes the "tradition of the Way."

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1898
Print ISSN
0031-8221
Pages
pp. 552-571
Launched on MUSE
2008-11-12
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.