LU Department of Chinese professor wins 1st Jinan University Zhan Bohui Awards in Linguistics first prize for ‘Ritual Context and Interpretation of Chinese Classics’

13 Jul 2021


Prof Hsu Tzu-pin, Head of Department of Chinese of LU with his publication ‘Ritual Context and Interpretation of Chinese Classics’.

Prof Hsu Tzu-pin, Head of Department of Chinese of Lingnan University (LU), has received first prize for his outstanding work Ritual Context and Interpretation of Chinese Classics in the 1st Jinan University Zhan Bohui Awards in Linguistics. LU is the first local university to receive this honour.


Prof Hsu is pleased and encouraged. “My monograph Ritual Context and Interpretation of Chinese Classics suggests a new concept, which aims to serve as the theoretical framework for interpreting ritual books and other classics, such as Zuo Zhuan and the Analects of Confucius, with tightly-coupled theoretical constructs and case studies,” he said. “‘Ritual context’ brings the text of many passages in the classics to life, and is thus the key to understanding their real meaning, realising and reifying them. This book also brings about a significant advancement in related fields of study,” he said.


“Ritual context” refers to records of ritual practices in ancient Chinese writing, and without adequate knowledge, it is impossible to interpret the rituals and etiquettes in Chinese classics thoroughly. The ritual context Prof Hsu refers to has a broad range of meanings, from combinations of ceremonies and their constituent elements such as gifts, rituals and ceremonial language, to the concepts and consciousness of rituals. Ritual context has literal meanings and is also a metaphorical expression. The former represents the very words of the original, but the latter has to be read between the lines. Written records of rituals found in the classics largely describe people’s ritual behaviour, which must be carefully examined and identified to reconstruct the ritual context of the words and understand their true meaning. Prof Hsu suggested that if the Chinese classic texts were to be compared to a door, then the ritual context would be the key to open it.


Organised by Jinan University in Guangzhou, this award is presented every two years to honour individuals who have made remarkable contributions in the areas of Chinese language and linguistics. Twenty works were recommended and shortlisted by experts in this year’s competition andafter consideration by an expert panel, one first prize, three second prizes and five nomination awards were given..