Abstract

This article focuses on the commitment to truth seeking in two disparate cultural traditions. Striving for truth is not exclusive to Chinese and Jewish peoples. It is also amply evident in the writings of intellectuals who survived dogmatism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. It fuels the passions and the trauma of the “Truth Commissions” that have proliferated from South Africa to Guatemala, East Timor, and Morocco. By exploring specific historical moments and linguistic expression for conveying the quest for authenticity in Chinese and Hebrew, this work draws attention to a broader historical phenomenon: Confucian sages and Jewish prophets who argued for truthfulness in times filled with deceit and injustice bequeathed posterity a vocabulary and a vision that endures today. Historians reckoning with that language and vision need to cast the net of their reflections beyond one culture, one thinker, one moment in time. Laying disparate traditions alongside one another, the author argues, illuminates the central theme of truthfulness in a more compelling fashion.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-8050
Print ISSN
1045-6007
Pages
pp. 403-430
Launched on MUSE
2009-01-16
Open Access
No
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