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

Hexagram 09, line 5


有孚攣如: this sentence also occurs at H61.5.

You fu 有孚: see here.

Luan 攣: to join, to connect. There are a few dictionaries (like 《新甲骨文編》) who link this character to an oracle bone character (see image). This  OBI character has the same components as 攣: silk threads 絲 with a hand 爫. But in 攣 this hand 手 is below. Most dictionaries regard the OBI form as the precursor of 𦃟 ‘to tie (up)’, following the Shuowen 說文 which says 𦃟 籀文系從爪絲: 𦃟 is the Large Seal form of 系. From 爪 ‘hand’ and 絲 ‘two threads of silk.’ Continue reading

Hexagram 09, line 4

有孚血去. 惕出. 无咎.

It has been more than a year since I wrote my last Translation Note. This has mainly to do with one word: punctuation. The original Chinese text does not have any punctuation and for months I did not know how to parse the sentence. A very similar sentence is found at hexagram 59, line 6: 渙其血去逖出无咎. I figured that knowing how to punctuate this line would also help me punctuate H9.4. I thought I was the first to struggle with this punctuation problem but at H59 Jack Kuo gives three possible options: Continue reading

2-day Yijing Workshop Intensive, New York


If you study the Yijing (I Ching), the Chinese Book of Changes and one or more of the following statements applies to you then this two-day Yijing Workshop Intensive is for you: Continue reading