Academic year
2018/2019 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LM014I (AF:272620 AR:158166)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
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The human condition: rites and practices of spiritual and bodily self-cultivation

The course aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to read and analyse excerpts from classical philosophical and ritual texts on the subject of self-cultivation either according to the Taoist perspective, which emphasizes dietary and physiological practices and techniques, or according to the Confucian perspective, stressing moral education.
Main texts: Daxue 大學, Zhongyong 中庸, Zhuangzi 莊子, Guanzi 管子, Baopuzi 抱仆子 and their commentaries. The texts will be provided in the original version and with their commentaries in classical and modern Chinese. The students will be guided to the translation and comments of the texts, they will learn to prepare their own translation for class discussion, and chose a subject for further development in a final essay.
By the end of the course students will have read and discussed sample writings from various sources, they will develop analytical and research skills and become familiar with the sources consulted.
Students are expected to read, translate and interpret the texts discussed in class, and be able to develop their own critical analysis of the subjects dealt with. The students will be provided with the necessary tools to conduct individual research on a specific topic. The impact of Chinese classical thought on contemporary society will also be analysed.
Knowledge of classical chinese and of the grammar of classical chinese
Selected readings from miscellaneous works on the following subject: “The human condition: The human condition: rites and moral and bodily self-cultivation practices


Chen Shengxi 陈生玺, ed., Zhang Juzheng jiangping. Daxue, Zhongyong 张居正讲评。大学,中庸, Shanghai, Cishu chubanshe, Shanghai 2007.
Li Jingde 黎靖德, ed., Zhuzi yulei 朱子語類, Zhonghua Shuju, Beijing 1986.
Li Xiangfeng 黎翔鳳, Liang Yunhua 梁運華, eds., Guanzi jiaozhu 管子校注, Zhonghua shuju, Beijing, 2004.
Li Zehou 李泽厚, Lunyu jinyi 论语今读 (Reading the Analects today), Sanlian shudian, Beijing 2004
Zhu Xi 朱喜, Sishu zhangzhu jizhu 四書章句集註, Zhonghua shuju, Beijing, 1996.

A. Andreini, “The meaning of qing in texts from Guodian tomb. No.1, in P. Santangelo, D. Guida, eds., Love, Hatred and Other Passions. Questions and Themes on Emotions in Chinese Civilization, Brill, Leiden, 2006, pp. 149-165.
Confucio, Dialoghi, a cura di T. Lippiello, testo a fronte, Einaudi, Torino 2003 (rist. 2006)
M. Csikszentmihàlyi, “Ethics and Self-cultivation Practice in Early China”, in J. Lagerwey, M.
Kalinowski, Early Chinese Religion. Part One: Shang through Han (1250 BC-220 AD), Brill, Leiden, 2009, pp. 519-542.

T. Lippiello, “Pensiero e religion in epoca Zhou”, in T. Lippiello e M. Scarpari, a cura di, La Cina. Dall’età del Bronzo all’impero Han, Einaudi, Torino 2013, pp. 573-532.

Idem, “Self-cultivation and Longevity Techniques: Towards the Xian Cult of Qin and Han Times”, Asian and African Studies, volume XI, 1-2, 2007, pp. 99-115.
Idem, “A Confucian Adage for Life: Empathy (shu) in the Analects”, in R. Malek, G. Criveller, ed. by, Light a Candle. Encounters and Friendship with China. Festschrift in Honour of Angelo S. Lazzarotto P.I.M.E., pp. 73-98.
Idem, Le droghe dell’immortalità nell’antichità cinese e il Taishang lingbao zhicao pin, Venezia, Cafoscarina 2007.
Idem, a cura di, La costante pratica del giusto mezzo, Marsilio, Venezia 2010
D. S. Nivison, “The Classical Philosophical Writings”, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1999.
Poo Mu-chou, “Ritual and Ritual Texts in Early China”, in J. Lagerwey, M. Kalinowski,, Early Chinese Religion. Part One: Shang through Han (1250 BC-220 AD), Brill, Leiden, 2009, pp. 281-314.

M. Scarpari, “The Debate on Human Nature in Early Chinese Confucian Literature”, Philosophy East and West, 53/3, 2003, pp. 323-339.

Grand dictionnaire Ricci de la langue chinoise, Instituts Ricci, Paris-Taipei, 2001.
Gudai hanyu cidian 古代汉语词典, Shangwu yinshuguan, Beijing, 2007.
Hanyu da cidian, Hanyu dacidian chubanshe, Shanghai 1994.
P. Kroll, A student’s dictionary of classical and medieval chinese, Brill, Leiden 2014.
Le Grand Ricci numèrique: dictionnaire encyclopédique de la langue chinoise, (versione informatica e aggiornata del Grand dictionnaire Ricci de la langue chinoise, Association Ricci e Descléè de Brouwer, Paris, 2001, 6 voll.), Association Ricci, Paris, 2010. The Grand Ricci is available on iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android devices (smartphones and tablets) as a module of the well known (free) Pleco Dictionary that can be bought as an in-app add-on. This "Grand Ricci" module includes the entire content of the Dictionary.
Zhongwen da cidian, Zhongguo wenhua daxue chubanbu, Taipei 1973.
Zhongwen da cidian, Zhongguo wenhua daxue chubanbu, Taipei 1973.

Research tools

Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS) ( )
China Academic Journals full text database (CAJ) ( )
A. Cua, ed., Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy, Routledge, New York 2003;
M. Loewe, Early Chinese Texts: a Bibliographical Guide, Berkeley, The Society for the Study of Early China and the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 1993.
Paper (6-8 pages + bibliography and notes) to be sent by email to at least 10 days before the exam, consisting in a discussion on the paper and the translation and comments of the texts read during the class.
Ex-cathedra teaching and group work on selected themes. Reading, translation and discussion of the selected classical texts, reading of commentaries in classical and modern Chinese
The course will be held in english if necessary
written and oral

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "International cooperation" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 03/02/2019