Professor Yu Wanli Chaired New Asia Lectures on Confucianism 2023

Professor Yu Wanli delivering the First Lecture with Professor Kenneth Cheung as the moderator

From left: College Head Professor Sun-On Chan, Professor Yu Wanli and Professor Kenneth Cheung

Professor Yu Wanli delivering the Second Lecture with Professor Cheng Chung-yi as the moderator

Professor Yu Wanli delivering the Third Lecture with Professor David Chai as the moderator


[November 2023 issue]

The New Asia Lectures on Confucianism 2023 was successfully held in October, with Professor Yu Wanli, Chair Professor, Ma Yifu Academy of the Zhejiang University, as the keynote speaker to deliver three public lectures. The “New Asia Lectures on Confucianism” was launched in 2013 under the sponsorship of the Moonchu Foundation. Each year, a distinguished scholar in Confucianism studies is invited to the College to deliver public lectures, with the aim of arousing interest among academics and the general public in a more in-depth exploration of Confucianism through discussions on various issues.

The First Lecture entitled “Tracing the Source: Confucian Classics the Book of Poetry and the Analects” was held at Sir Run Run Shaw Hall, CUHK at 6:30pm on 4 October, and was moderated by Professor Kenneth Cheung from the CUHK Department of Chinese Language and Literature. The Lecture was also a College Bi-Weekly Assembly with the participation of more than one thousand of College students and staff. In the lecture, Professor Yu first explained that the two Confucian classics, The Book of Poetry and The Analects, inevitably underwent changes in the long process of transmission and transcription. He also discussed how the two classics maintained consistency in the changes of Chinese character fonts and writing media, as well as the differences and similarities between the two texts in terms of sentences and words.

The Second Lecture entitled “Confucius’s Joy and Concern: Seen from Confucian Classics” was held at Function Room AC2, 4/F, Administration Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre at 3:00pm on 7 October, with Professor Cheng Chung-yi from the CUHK Department of Philosophy as the moderator. Professor Yu explored Confucius’ optimistic mindset of life and concerns as indicated in the Confucian classics. He also discussed how to adopt Confucius’ view of life as spiritual support in modern society and complex social relationships.

The Third Lecture entitled “Stone Classics in Han and Wei Dynasties: Similarities and Differences between New Text School and Old Text School” was held at Cho Yiu Conference Hall, G/F, University Administration Building, CUHK at 4:30pm on 9 October, with Professor David Chai from the CUHK Department of Philosophy as the moderator. Professor Yu explored two different types of classics, the Han Xiping Stone Classics and the Zhengshi Stone Classics, and analysed their value in the development of Confucian classics. Meanwhile, he compared and analysed the differences and similarities in the texts of classics such as Yijing, The Book of Documents, and The Book of Poetry, and conducted cross-examination and mutual verification based on the bamboo slips unearthed in recent decades.

Through the three lectures, the audience deepened their understanding of the development of Confucian classics, and raised fruitful discussions and gave positive feedback during the lectures. Besides, the “Exhibition of Publications by Professor Yu Wanli, Distinguished Scholar of the New Asia Lectures on Confucianism 2023” was successfully held on G/F, New Asia College Ch'ien Mu Library from 18 September to 22 October. The College would like to express its heartfelt gratitude to all parties concerned for their support for the lectures.