Thomas mcClatchie’s “A Translation of the Confucian I Ching or Classic of Changes”

“The task of translating and explaining the works of Pagan Philosophers is by no means easy of accomplishment.”

This is how Thomas mcClatchie (1814-1885) starts the Preface to his Yijing translation, A Translation of the Confucian I Ching or Classic of Changes, with Notes and Appendix. It is the word ‘pagan’ that defines the tone for the rest of his book. Richard Rutt talks in detail about mcClatchie and his translation:

The first English translation was done by Thomas McClatchie (1814-85), the Irish curate of Midsomer Norton in the Somerset coalfield, who went to Shanghai in 1844 as one of the founders of Church Missionary Society work in China. He became a canon of Hongkong cathedral and later of Shanghai. His thinking reflected his admiration for the writings of two Englishmen: the Cambridge Platonist, Ralph Cudworth (1617-88), whose philosophical idealism so readily harmonized with the Great Treatise; and Jacob Bryant (1715-1804), whose writings about comparative mythology encouraged the then popular theory that all human culture had roots in the Middle East. Continue reading