Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

The Sinews Transformation Classic: A Chinese text on Medicine and Self-Cultivation in Its Cultural Contexts

How such did the traditional text of the Sinews Transformation Classic remain interesting to a changing readership?

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David Goldberger

The Sinews Transformation Classic is a household name in the Chinese speaking world. Nonetheless, there is much we do not know about it; we are not sure when the first Sinews Transformation Classic was written and who wrote it; we do not know whether other texts influenced its unknown author; and we do not know what are the factors that contributed to its lasting fame and popularity in China. The first aim of this dissertation project must be to clarify these empirical issues.

During the Ming, Qing and Republican periods several different versions of the Sinews Transformation Classic appeared. Their contents show both continuity and change. These might reflect continuity and change of Chinese values, thought and tradition. Hence the significance of the research- the study of the Sinews Transformation Classic gives a different perspective on China’s transition from a traditional to a modern world. How such a traditional text has remained interesting to a changing readership will be a core question of my project.

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