The Postulate of Clarification in Cheng Yi's Commentary on the Book of Changes

Signs and Images 1 (1):92-107 (2020)

Michael Harrington
Duquesne University
Erwin Panofsky developed the postulate of clarification to explain the mental habit common to Gothic architecture and Western medieval scholasticism, but the postulate is equally applicable to the commentary tradition of Song-dynasty China. The commentary on the Book of Changes authored by Cheng Yi (1033–1107) provides a good example of how the Confucians of the Song dynasty took their concern for clarity to a recognizably medieval extreme. By looking at how Cheng Yi understands and foregrounds the clarity of the Book of Changes, we can begin to see both what was medieval about Song-dynasty China and why the medieval method continues to be viable for interpreters of the Book of Changes.
Keywords Cheng Yi  Erwin Panofsky  Book of Changes  Zhouyi
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