Talk:I Ching

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"I Ching" vs. Yijing[edit]

I propose that the title of this article be changed to "Yijing," with "I Ching" redirecting to it. My reasons are these: FIRST, the Wade-Giles spelling (i ching) has mostly vanished from use in China, where pinyin (yijing) is by far the commoner form. SECOND, the current standard Mandarin pronunciation is much more similar to "yijing" than to "i ching" (English speakers render it as if it were "i-qing," which is not a possible phoneme sequence in Mandarin). I know that "I Ching" is more recognizable for English-speakers, but it is simply outdated, and this article should encourage the new standard, regardless of familiarity--after all, if "I Ching" redirects to "Yijing," then everyone reading the article will learn the new spelling, so there is no possibility of confusion. 71.193.231.171 (talk) 10:10, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

These are valid points but I believe there are reasons to maintain the existing title. Google shows 5 million hits for I Ching and only 600 thousand for Yijing. I notice in the search drop down typing Yijing that it's not as distinctive and similar looking phrases may be confusing to the English searcher. People may also be unsure if it's one word or two words, Yi Jing, but that also has a redirect here. I Ching certainly hasn't fallen out of use in English and the very first sentence of the article gives the Wade-Giles and pinyin renderings. I'm not inclined to "encourage the new standard" but maybe the Wade-Giles article would be an appropriate venue for that sort of thing? "Regardless of familiarity" for English speakers as to what's considered outdated... I think the change would do little to clear up and confusion. Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 13:31, 14 November 2009 (UTC)


== "'i-qing,' which is not a possible phoneme sequence in Mandarin"

Since that is factually wrong, you appear to be saying that you don't know enough about Chinese to be bloviating like you do. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.171.176.125 (talk) 02:29, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Advocating zealously rather? Something that really would help English speakers, such as myself, who have never heard these words pronounced would be sound clips of the various terms and names. Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 03:59, 19 December 2009 (UTC)


"Yi Jing" or "Yijing" are standard in PRC and ROC. pinyin has become increasingly commonplace in all translated texts. i have ~20 (treeware and soft) copies of the Yi Jing, and everything published after the advent of pinyin (with allowances for copyrights) has used it. not conforming to international (and native-speakers') standard is simply ethnocentrist. there is a real ethical problem when we cannot accede to the wishes of the actual speakers of a language and adopt spellings more in tune with the spoken pronunciations (in Mandarin at least). rather than quibble, i recommend someone overhaul this article as soon as possible. citation data is available upon request for these claims i'm making, but please do your homework first as postcolonial theory is widely available (and i am referencing several works i don't have right before me); i also have my own work to do. hope my comments help resolve this issue, and i hope i'm not sounding too harsh- but i take this issue (of ethics and cross-cultural awareness) seriously. -eristikophiles (talk) 201404192223 (GMT-5) — Preceding undated comment added 02:23, 20 April 2014 (UTC)


There is one more reason in favor of "Yijing". By promoting the spelling "I Ching", people think that "ching chang chong" is acceptable because "ching" would be indeed a Chinese sound. Firstly, Pinyin represents Chinese better and Wade-Giles is outdated. If an English speaker sees "ching", they would pronounce it with aspiration, but actually it is unaspirated. Pronouncing unapirated "jing" as voiced is just closer to reality. Studies state that Chinese unaspirated consonants are actually voiced in 8 out of 10 cases. Secondly, one can't tell if it's "qing" or "jing". --2.245.115.194 (talk) 22:25, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Regardless of what is used in PRC and ROC, I Ching is so standard in America that even academic publications must be entitled "Yijing (I Ching)" or vice versa. WP:USEENGLISH conquers all here. Shii (tock) 03:33, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
That being said, the "I Ching" parenthetical is quickly going the way of the dodo in academic publications, and probably will in common writings as well in the near future. We could, of course, avoid this issue altogether by simply following in the vein of the Shujing and Shijing articles and using an English title.  White Whirlwind  咨  20:18, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Pronunciation[edit]

Is it pronounced "eye" ching or "ee" ching? Khajidha (talk) 03:10, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

From S J Marshall's Yijing Dao—Calling crane in the shade: "'ee jing' rather than 'eye ching'".——Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 02:38, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
Click on the 'listen' button here: http://www.nciku.com/search/zh/detail/%E6%98%93%E7%BB%8F/50562 Longboat Girl (talk) 18:21, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Even if you don't trust the way it sounds (because sound generators really need identical sound cards so they can be assured of sounding the same), you should note that the German editions of the Book of the I Ching are written Das Buch von I Ging. If that helps any. Dexter Nextnumber (talk) 10:45, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
There is no English "ching" which would be aspirated. If you want to pronounce it correctly the "ching" is the same as "jing" in Beijing. --2.245.115.194 (talk) 22:10, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Part 3: "A Global History of History"[edit]

So, two comments. First, I don't have anything special to say about the "Traditional view of origins". I don't have any objection to this material, but it is completely unsourced and I have reservations about its antiquity. I am going to leave it where it is for now, in the hope that someone can locate some sources for me. If we can't find any source at all for it, it will have to be discarded as WP:OR, unfortunately.

Second, @Sevilledade: With all due respect, Daniel Woolf appears to be a historian of early modern England. What qualifies him to be making statements about ancient China? Do we need to take this to WP:RSN? Shii (tock) Shii (tock) 20:27, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Absolutely we should keep it. What makes you think citing Richard Joseph Smith's (not to confuse with Richard J. Smith) that starts with an uncertain and vague "A good guess is that...no later than about 800 BCE" from his book (page 22) is a more preferred or even valid source of info on this? I previously removed the "and had developed into something like its current form by 800 BC" (but you reverted it) because I thought Smith's words in his book was much on the speculation side and other sections on the article already contained similar info (although different date). But I respect your insistence on keeping it, thus Woolf's information should absolutely stay as well (Daniel Woolf's book from the Cambridge University Press is a reputable reference). In my edit changes, I did not arrange it the way that make them statements of facts, but simply what Daniel Woolf said, and what Richard Joseph Smith said. So instead of removing one or the other, I kept them both and incorporated them into the section.--Sevilledade (talk) 21:45, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
@Sevilledade I am not asking you about Smith; in fact, I did not mention Smith at all. I'm telling you that Daniel Woolf is a specialist in Tudor England and there is no particular reason why his book belongs here. Cambridge University Press publishes plenty of books; not all of them are reliable sources about ancient China. Are you privy to some special information about Woolf's Chinese knowledge? Please respond and let me know. Otherwise we must escalate this to WP:RSN. Shii (tock) 21:50, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Why did you remove Daniel Woolf's part without reaching a consensus or taking this to WP:RSN like you said above? Aside from not being a specialist on China (there is no guideline that dictates we have to have specialists on this particular country in all the references), there is no other clear reason the book shouldn't be used for citation. And as for your "I did not mention Smith at all", well "I am" asking you about Smith? Why should Richard Joseph Smith's uncertain and vague "A good guess is that...no later than about 800 BCE" gets cited but not Daniel Woolf's? You need to take that to the WP:RSN as well.--Sevilledade (talk) 07:06, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Woolf is a tertiary source – his coverage is very broad, and he takes judgements about particular subject areas from secondary sources written by specialists in each field. Per WP:PSTS, we should take such judgements from secondary sources, of which Smith is clearly one. Uncertainty can be appropriate when it reflects the scholarship in the field, as here. Also, "by" is a more accurate rendition of "no later than" than is "prior to". Kanguole 10:26, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
"No later than" is ambiguous and could mean any dates before, whereas "by" is clearly not. That's not the equivalent.--Sevilledade (talk) 10:44, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
I think you should accept that a less reliable tertiary source may well use stricter words like "by", while an expert source will be more cautious and use "no later than". Shii (tock) 12:11, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
After the fact comment: If anyone still cares, I'll go ahead and add that I also found the Woolf citation to be quite bizarre.  White Whirlwind  咨  05:51, 12 October 2014 (UTC)

If it helps, the "Traditional view of origins" appears to have been condensed from Wilhelm's introduction. The creation myth of the Yi Jing is obviously important, but do we want to keep it in this form? It might be a useful skeleton to hang more flesh on later, or would it be better to start again. As this is the obvious place to write in modern concerns about Confucius' involvement in the commentaries, it might also be a good time to consider a new title for the section. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 22:35, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

I am actually not sure where this narrative goes. I already mention the traditional narrative in the Zhou yi section; could that be expanded into a larger paragraph? Would that constitute a sufficient amount of coverage for this narrative, which appears to be medieval? The Bible article doesn't give anywhere near this much space to the theory that the Pentateuch was written by Moses. Shii (tock) 22:39, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
I suppose what I'm asking is Do we need a section to discuss the traditional creation narrative. On reflection, a redundant piece from a single source probably isn't a good place to start. I'd be happy if the section was removed. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 23:12, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Part 4: The path to FA[edit]

As I suggested two weeks ago, the article has been completely scrapped and rewritten from the ground up, and it seems to me that the result meets the good article criteria. With this edit, I am putting in a request for a GA review. However, to become a featured article we need comprehensive coverage of everything I Ching, and I do not feel that I am up to the task. The article as it stands is overly historicist; for FA, there needs to be a concise summary of the traditional symbolism (of the classic I Ching, as opposed to the original Zhou yi). Note, for example, that I only briefly touched on yin-and-yang symbolism, because I did not see it in books about the Zhou dynasty, and I was not sure where to put it in (it probably belongs as a subheading in the I Ching section). Also, there are more than likely to be "unknown unknowns" that a Shaughnessy would be able to notice as missing from the current article. I am not an expert in this subject, I just happened to have two weeks of free time available to me and I live in walking distance to two academic libraries. I appeal to the other editors here to contribute to the article, using reliable sources, when they happen to have the time. Shii (tock) 19:02, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

As a long time user of Wiki I am shocked that you think the path to FA is to completely scrap and rewrite the article from the ground up. Having been occupied with real life problems over the past two years, I was not here two weeks ago when you started your "shock and awe" approach to article improvement. If I had been, I would have suggested that you add the needed improvements gradually as your time allowed. Some of us users might be encouraged to step up, create an account, and contribute. Why should anyone contribute to this article when an admin such as yourself may just come along and delete what does not meet their personal aesthetic, experience, or professional knowledge. Wiki is supposed to be for everyone, to be edited and contributed to by everyone.
The deletions of whole sections of an existing article for a quick run at FA is not the usual method, I've observed on wiki in all the many years I have used it, for obtaining such an admirable goal. In short, you'll get more contributors if you show respect for what has already been contributed. Heck, I myself may set aside the time to make a run at it myself, as long as my contributions won't be dismissed out of hand.
Please, reconsider the major deletions you've made on this article. Add back all from before and then hopefully over the next month or so others will help to clean it up and add more content. 166.137.89.154 (talk) 03:51, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm disinclined to take seriously any criticisms on the FA process from an editor who is "a long time user of Wiki" and yet edits from an IP address. A great deal of the prior material was of poor quality, and this issue was already discussed and settled over a month ago.
Let me try this again. I recently had a hard drive crash and was spending a week trying to recover all of my various log in information for all the sites I usually visited so I could go to the same sites on my new computer.
Your arrogance is astounding. Wikipedia was supposed to be an online encyclopedia on which anyone could contribute not just experts, but I am seeing a common thread here as on other sites. So I will just "retire" and leave it to you. A word of advice: The latest and greatest makes for a shallow knowledge base. You might want to go back and include some of the older material like Wilhelm's translation of the I Ching, which is still probably the best in the last century. This inclusion of older sources with the newer will broaden the actual knowledge base of the encyclopedia and appeal to a wider audience. Sandhillman (talk) 00:16, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
What you're saying is not true; I did not simply scrap the article. I explained myself at length, writing long essays on this talk page about why the content I removed appeared to be irredeemable. Before simply attacking me I'd appreciate it if you responded to the specific reasons for revision. As you say, anyone can contribute to this article. Shii (tock) 00:05, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
@Shii: I'll read over the article sometime this week and make any edits I see fit from the perspective of a Chinese expert. From what I've seen so far, you've done a pretty nice job.  White Whirlwind  咨  19:45, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
I have issues with a few sentences:
  • The Zhou yi, probably grounded in even older Shang dynasty analysis of oracle bones,
    This refers to obscure numerical hexagrams found on some oracle bones in the Zhouyuan, with a couple at Anyang. Smith (p22) says a link between these and the Zhou yi is proposed by some scholars and rejected by others. So "probably" is unjustified. Moreover this appears to be a pre-dynastic Zhou use of oracle bones, rather than the yes-no questions of Shang divination, so illustrating with a Shang oracle bone is misleading.
  • contains references to events as early as 1070 BC.
    This refers to Marshall's claim that hexagram 55 refers to an eclipse observed at the Zhou city of Feng, that this eclipse occurred in the year of the conquest of the Shang, and that this was an eclipse known from astronomical calculations to have occurred on 20 June 1070 BC. This suggestion is well outside the mainstream, as is clear from David Pankenier's review of Marshall's book. In fact I'd suggest that Marshall's book, though published by a university press, isn't a particularly reliable source on the I Ching. Also most authors now favour a date of 1046 or 1045 for the conquest.
  • Recently discovered bamboo and wooden slips show that the Zhou yi was used throughout all levels of Chinese society in its current form by 300 BC, but still contained small variations as late as the Spring and Autumn period.
    How could books from the 3rd or 2nd century BCE tell us about the Spring and Autumn period? In fact Smith (p22) says "the latter part of the Zhou period", which would be late Warring States, which does fit.
  • Medieval commentaries proposed that the word for "changes" could also mean "easy", as in a form of divination easier than the oracle bones, but there is no evidence for this.
    This seems unlikely, given that little was known of oracle bones until their rediscovery in 1899. Marshall (p13) attributes this idea to Feng Youlan (1895–1990).
  • In fact, the character is derived from an image of the sun emerging from clouds.
    It appears there are many opinions on the origin of this character. Karlgren (GSR 850a) says it is reported to be a loan of the pictographic character for a homophonous word for "lizard" (later written 蜴), but he's unsure. Kanguole 10:31, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
User:Kanguole is an expert with a very good knowledge of sinology, so it's good that he has weighed in on this, as well. Each of his above four concerns are valid. I have one large concern and one or two smaller ones:
  1. My first area of concern has to do with the article's organization as a whole. The current split into Zhouyi and I Ching is, I think, not ideal. My feeling is that the general readership, and perhaps even the experts, might bog down a bit trying to jump back and forth between discussions of these two (essentially) different texts, especially since they'll have italicized titles that non-Chinese speakers may not be familiar with. I think it would be better to simply follow most other articles on classic texts and just have a "History", "Content/Structure" (one or the other), "Commentaries", etc., and under "Structure" have subsections of "Hexagrams/Line Statements", "Ten Wings", etc.
  2. The I Ching remains a widely used divination text today. — This is a suspicious claim, and I think it would need some serious clarification and sourcing if left in. I have never encountered anyone in China who still practices Yijing divination (except for a few Daoist priests who did it for tourists), and even in Taiwan, where divination is still fairly widely practiced, I've only ever seen and/or heard of it being done via bua bue 跋杯 (a.k.a. 擲筊).
  3. The "Influence" section is a little strange in that its largest section is about flags and the other influences aren't even sourced. This would need cleanup before FA.
  4. In fact, the character is derived from an image of the sun emerging from the clouds. — This seems to be the most widely given explanation, but I don't think it's correct. As User:Kanguole noted, Bernhard Karlgren believed it was a loan from "lizard" (now written 蜴), probably following the Shuowen Jiezi, which says basically the same thing. I seriously doubt this (it's probably the other way around). Ken Takashima believes the oracle bone form of yi shows a liquid being poured from a vessel (into another), and I suspect that that is the actual origin.  White Whirlwind  咨  21:52, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, Kanguole and WWW. I believe I saw a reference to Marshall's book in Rutt's 1996 translation, but after continuing my reading, I did get a sense that his publication (by a scholarly press!) was a little out there. I think the other things you identified were simply errors that arose in my own note-taking; let's correct them. Can I get a specific source for Ken Takashima's theory?
I agree that the Influence section needs rewriting. Not coincidentally, it's the only section remaining from the original article. Shii (tock) 00:05, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
For Takashima's theory, see Axel Schuessler (2007), ABC Etymological Dictionary of Old Chinese, p. 566. Not sure if it's published in anything by Takashima himself.  White Whirlwind  咨  02:07, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

Knechtges 2014[edit]

Ancient and Early Medieval Chinese Literature vol. 3 contains a very good article on the Yi jing. I will add it to the article now, but I'd like to make a note of the format. It is laid out as follows:

  1. The Meaning of Zhou yi
  2. Organization and Content of the Book
    1. Ben jing
      1. gua xing
      2. gua ming
      3. gua ci
      4. yao ci
    2. Zhuan
      1. Tuan zhuan
      2. Xiang zhuan
      3. Wen yan
      4. Xi ci zhuan
      5. Shuo gua
      6. Xu gua
      7. Za gua
  3. Text History
    1. General studies
    2. Early Manuscripts
      1. Mawangdui
      2. Fuyang
      3. Warring States Chu Bamboo Strip Fragments
      4. Standard Version
    3. Han Dynasty Textual Tradition
    4. Wang Bi
    5. Zhou yi zhengyi
    6. Zhou yi jijie
    7. Zhu Xi's edition
    8. Qing Dynasty Texts
    9. Collection of Yi jing Texts [biblio only]
    10. Textual variants [biblio]

I personally think distinguishing between Zhou yi and Yi jing makes for a clearer understanding of the formulation of the Yi jing, but I'm aware that White whirlwind disagrees, so this could provide some hints for a different way of thinking about it. Shii (tock) 17:41, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

BTW, totally unrelated question: is there a print source for the Zhou dynasty form of the broken line resembling 六・八 and the solid line's resemblance to 七・九? Shii (tock) 18:28, 13 November 2014 (UTC)
@Shii: I don't doubt that it's helpful to you to think about it that way, but most good sources do not describe it that way, so I'm not sure why we would here. To answer your 2nd question, I can't think of a source off the top of my head that describes the number graphs looking like the divination lines, no.  White Whirlwind  咨  04:09, 25 November 2014 (UTC)