Prof. Joachim Gentz lectures on The Great Learning (3/20/13)


The Great Learning is an important classic relating educational theory which dates back to ancient China. It has been influential to Chinese people generation after generation. Now, this classic text has caught western attention. Invited by the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies, Peking University, March 20th at 3 p.m., Professor Joachim Gentz from the University of Edinburgh gave a lecture at east hall of Chen Shouren International Studies Center, entitled “Structures and Exegesis of the Great Learning, Comparing Diagrammatic Depictions with the East and the West.”

During the lecture, Professor Gentz first analyzed textual strategies applied in the Great Learning, pointing out its combination of various inside units. Those inside units mostly appear in the form of parallelism, there are three kinds of parallelism, general parallelism, intertwined parallelism, and overlapping parallelism. Then Professor Gentz analyzed the function of relationship diagrams in the process of building textual meaning from a hermeneutic perspective. He did a power point presentation followed by presenting abundant graphical structures of Medieval Europe and the Song Dynasty texts, which directly illustrated the difference between them. At last, Professor Gentz showed his collections of the Great Learning diagrammatic graphs composed by students among his current years of teaching the Great Learning. It varies in forms, models of road, animal, character, comic, tree, puzzle, computer game, and so on. Through graphs above, Professor Gentz concluded the deficiency exists that each section of the Great Learning text lacks direct logical connection.

After the lecture was over, Professor Gentz had a heated discussion with the teachers and students at present. Professor Gentz thinks his teaching method gives light to research on the Great Learning, while on the meantime hopes that it could be enlightening to them too.