Joachim Gentz

Chair of Chinese Philosophy and Religion


Joachim Gentz studied Sinology, Religious Studies and Philosophy in Berlin, Nanjing and Heidelberg. He was Assistant Professor for Classical Chinese at Heidelberg (1999–2002), Juniorprofessor in Religious Studies at Göttingen (2002–2006), Visiting Professor in Tokyo (2000) and Bayreuth (2008), and has worked at the Asian Studies Department in Edinburgh since 2006. His main research focus is on Chinese history of thought. His work crosses the disciplinary boundaries of Sinology, Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Cultural Studies.


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  • Magister in Chinese Studies, Religious Studies and Philosophy (University of Heidelberg)
  • PhD Classical Chinese Studies (University of Heidelberg)
  • Juniorprofessor Religious Studies (equivalent to Habilitation) (University of Goettingen)

Undergraduate teaching

Classical Chinese

Pre-Modern East Asia (PMEA)

Pre-modern History and Thought

Postgraduate teaching

Keywords in Chinese Modernity

Chinese Religions

PhD Reading Group (bi-weekly throughout the year)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I supervise topics in the area of Chinese history of thought

Current PhD students supervised

First Supervision

Caitlin Kowalski: GUIDEBOOKS TO ETERNAL HAPPINESS: A Critical Analysis of Early Chinese Medical, Legal, Divination and Ritual Texts in Context

Li Yizhu: Wang Yangming and The Two Systems: The Buddhistic and Daoistic Experiences of a Ming Confucianist

Luo Yanxi: The Baopuzi Neipian and Its Place in the Taoist Tradition

Cai Shiqi: The reception of playful literary topoi in the Zhuangzi in the commentarial work of Cheng Xuanying 成玄英 (fl.631-669), Lin Xiyi 林希逸 (1193-1271), Fang Yizhi 方以智 (1611-1671), and Lin Yunming 林云铭(1628-1697)

Xun Mengyi: Discourse on li 理 and li 禮 —— From the Perspective of Xunzi and Zhu Xi

Lan Xing: The Development and Acceptance of the Five Phases 五行 into Confucianism from the Reign of Emperor Cheng to the Eastern Han (33 BCE to 220 ACE)

Harriet Gemmill: Shifting Images of a Lost Capital: Impressions of Kaifeng in Southern Song biji

Ding Kehan: Chinese Tea Rituals from Tang to Song Dynasty

Jiang Congyang (MScR): Metaphor and Analogy in the Arguments in Mencius

Natasha Downs (MScR): Hero or Villain? A Literary Study of Cao Cao’s Portrayal in Japanese Adaptations of ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’

Yang Yueshi (MScR): "Political Marriages in Vassal States in the Spring and Autumn Period"


Joint supervision with other Schools

Yu Xinyan (History): The restoration of early political traditions during the decline of the Roman and Zhou empires. 

Rene Guo Chengyuan (Divinity): Chinese Theology and Familialism: Sinicization of Christianity, filial piety, and the biopolitics of Chinese family 

Liu Yidan (Art History): A cross-cultural investigation of the use and perception of herbals between Ming China and Renaissance Italy, with a focus on the use of herbals for women’s beauty

Jin Rusha (Religious Studies): A Study on the Sinification of Madhyamaka in the Tang Dynasty: Zhanran and the Theory of Sandi 三諦

Zhang Wenxin (Archaeology): Violence and conflicts along the ancient Silk Road: A bioarchaeological research on the human remains unearthed from cemeteries in late Bronze Age to Han (1000 BC-200 AD), northwestern China


 Second supervision in Asian Studies

Frances Feng GUO (Chinese): Narrating Western China during the War of Resistance (1931-1945)

Frank Fan (Japanese): To understand the development of Kaidan in Tokugawa Japan as a vehicle for the transmission of Buddhist, Confucian and National learning ideologies



Past PhD students supervised

First supervision

2023 Eileen Yiran Zhao: Time in the Literary Constructions of Self, Love, and Fate in Honglou meng

2021 Nic Newton: The Poetry of Sight: Literary Contexts of the Mahāyāna Imaginaire (supervision with Paul Dundas, Sanskrit)

2019 Grundmann, Joern Peter (顧永光): De 德, ming 命, and the symbolic order of politico-religious participation in Western Zhou bronze inscriptions and the expansion of this discourse in the Documents and Odes. Current profile:

2014 Lin Tzu-yu (Comparative Literature): Detoured, Deferred and Different: A Comparative Study of Postcolonial Diasporic Identities in the Literary Works of Sam Selvon and Weng Nao

2013 Man, Paul: From the “Subtlety” of Classical Chinese Poetry to the “Unintelligibility” of Modern Chinese Poetry – Interpretation of Chinese Poetry in Light of a Proposed Theory of Poetic Effect

2008 Futterlieb, Kristin (Religious Studies, Uni Göttingen): Neopaganismus Online – Das World Wide Web als Kommunikationsplattform zur Konstruktion spiritueller Identität. Current profile:


Joint supervision with other schools and programmes

2022 Chen Yiran  (Chinese): Writing the Unearthly and the Supernatural in Modern Chinese Fiction 

2021 Zhu Lin (Architecture): The Politics and Poetics of Withdrawal: Cultural Negotiations of Dynastic Change in Seventeenth-Century China

2020 Guan Yinlin (Philosophy): Laozi in Ancient Greece: A Comparison of the Ethical Theories of Laozi with Early Ancient Greek Ethics

2020 Peng Xue (Architecture): Dashilar A Paradigm? Approaching to the intelligence of event-narrative urbanism

2020 Nathalie Phillips (Japanese): The epistemological significance of meta-physical beliefs within the socio-political context of Heian Japan

2020 Quan Li (Divinity): Making Democracy beyond Modernity: Religious Visions of Democratic Governance in Karl Barth and Mou Zongsan

2017 Jang Jaeho (Divinity): The Doctrine of Theodicy in a Scientific Age: Evolutionary Theology of John Haught and Daoist Philosophy. Prize:

2016 Jun Soo Park (Divinity): Confucian Questions to Augustine: Is My Cultivation of Self Your Care of the Soul?

2015 Li Shuangyi (French): Proust and His Chinese Literary Posterity: A Dialogue. See alumni profile/prize:

2015 Vijay Nischol Ramnarace (Sanskrit): Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s Entry into Vedānta: The Daśaślokī of Nimbārka and the Vedāntaratnamañjūṣā of Puruṣottama

2011 Ooi, Samuel Hio-Kee (Divinity): A Double Vision Hermeneutics of Chinese Pastor's Subjective Experience in/of SHÌ Engaging YÌZHUÀN and Pauline Texts

2008 Meyer, Dirk (Leiden University): Philosophy on Bamboo: An Exemplary Discussion of the Philosophic Text in Warring States-China as seen from the Tomb-library Guōdiàn One. Current profile:


Research summary

Joachim's main research interests lie in the fields of Chinese philosophy and religions, text and commentary, ritual and divination, and theories of cultural and religious studies. Further interests include conceptions of space and body, Chinese histories of thought, and Chinese literary composition (artistic prose).

Research Leave

From Sept 2012 to August 2013 Joachim Gentz was on research leave at the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities (IKGF) in Erlangen.

International Consortium for Research in the Humanities (IKGF)


From Oct 2021 to September 2023 Joachim Gentz is on 50% research leave for a NEH grant funded translation project: "Historiography and Hermeneutics in Early China: A Translation of the Gongyang and Guliang Commentaries to Spring and Autumn Annals"  (see a more detailed description in the "Projects" section)

Research activities

View all 92 activities on Research Explorer

Project activity

Analysis and reconstruction of the production of controlled divinatory cracks in Shang Dynasty oracle bones from the 13th and 12th century BCE held in the National Museum of Scotland

Shang Dynasty oracle bones from the 13th and 12th centuries BC are most famous for their inscriptions, which represent the earliest form of Chinese writing. Yet, the bones primarily served as tools of divination of which the inscriptions were records. Divination was carried out by applying heat to hollows drilled into the back of the bones and thereby producing controlled cracks on the front side that were interpreted by the Shang king to predict the future. Since their discovery in 1899, oracle bone research has mainly focused on decoding the inscriptions, and it is still not fully known how exactly the cracks were produced. Since 1909 the National Museum of Scotland holds the biggest collection (1800 pieces) of Shang Dynasty oracle bone fragments in Europe, the second largest outside of Asia. This project aimed to combine Sinological knowledge and technical expertise of Forensic Anthropology to systematically study for the first time the process of producing divinatory cracks in Shang dynasty oracle bones. 

250 bones from the Edinburgh collection were analysed and will soon join an international database hosted by Harvard University. The bones were measured, weighted, drawn, their inscriptions translated in English and Chinese, the preparations they underwent were studied and recorded, and they were photographed on both sides. In addition, the topic and the specific information that would aid in dating them were recorded when present. In some cases, three-dimensional models of the object were generated through photogrammetry and a 3D modelling software, which in turn allowed for 3D printing.

Using the facilities of the National Museum of Scotland in Granton, some of the bones were analysed using stereo-microscopy, X-ray fluorescence, scanning electron microscopy, and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. All those techniques are non-invasive and non-destructive and allowed us to take an innovative look at the objects. The stereo-microscopy and scanning electron microscopy allowed us to analyse the tool marks and the process of creation of the hollows and the grooves, fundamental in the crack-making and allowed us to reproduce as closely as possible the preparation of the bones. Furthermore, the stroke order of the characters composing the inscriptions can be studied. By using X-ray fluorescence and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, elemental analysis of the surface of the bones can be done. In our case, this was done mainly for two reasons: looking for metallic residue in the burnt hollow where the heat was applied, and the analysis of the ink that is still present in a few of the bones. In the ink, we were looking to differentiate between cinnabar and ferrous oxide red, to help with trends and dating. As for the hollows, we were looking to find some residue from the implement used to apply the heat and have a better understanding of the process involved in the crack making. This analysis proved itself to be fruitful, we found traces principally inside of the hollows and not on the surface around them or in the sand sampled from the objects. This analysis was conducted on 100 bones and the results were statistically significant, meaning that we are now confident about the material of the heat source used in the divination.

Lastly, using all the data gathered through the systematic analysis of the bones and our discoveries, we tried to reproduce the cracks using cattle and water buffalo scapulae. After ca 60 hours of experiments (two persons together 30 hours) we managed to create controlled cracks, as can be found on Shang Oracle Bones, the preparation and the burn marks that we created are extremely similar to the ones found in the collection. We are continuing our experimentation until we know more about all the factors necessary to recreate the whole process perfectly.

Current project grants

NEH grant ($200 000) with Sarah Queen (Connecticut): "Historiography and Hermeneutics in Early China: A Translation of the Gongyang and Guliang Commentaries to Spring and Autumn Annals" (2021-2023)

The Gongyang and Guliang commentaries have exerted tremendous influence on Chinese political and intellectual life for two millennia. Instrumental in elevating Confucius to the status of one of the greatest sages of Chinese culture, the texts envision him as author of the Spring and Autumn Annals, bequeathing to future generations this court chronicle containing a hidden and esoteric blueprint for world salvation.

In collaboration with Stephen Durrant (Professor Emeritus, Chinese Literature, University of Oregon), we will produce the first scholarly English translation of the commentaries, side by side with the original and accompanied by rich introductory and explanatory material. This work, expected to be part of the new translation series “Hsu-T’ang Library of Classical Chinese Literature” launched by Oxford University Press, will make the texts readily available for study by early-China scholars, comparatists, political scientists, philosophers and historians.

The translations will be of interest to scholars and students in a wide range of fields. From a comparative perspective, these two commentaries occupy a unique position in world history in several respects. They are the earliest extant commentaries that attempt to fully explain an entire earlier text systematically by defining exegetical rules down to the level of word meaning and syntax. Furthermore, in their interpretation of Annals, their exegetical rules established what may well be the earliest systematic attempt in world history to define the historiographical principles, literary patterns, and meaning of a previous historical text. The commentaries contain sophisticated reflections on the reliability of sources and on the putative historical viewpoint of the author, and they offer an overall theory of history in a consensus-oriented, argumentative, rule-governed and terminologically articulated communication. All this makes them important contributions to global intellectual history and highly significant for historians.
Due to its distinctive vision of the Central States as part of a conglomerate of other states, it has been one of the major reference texts for Chinese modernizers and reformers since the late 19th century and for Chinese intellectuals up to the present day, which should make it of considerable interest to Political Studies scholars interested in international relations. Indeed, the stunning number of extraordinary features of these commentaries presented here in a concise form should engage and stimulate not only students and specialists of the Chinese past but also scholars and readers beyond the sinological world.

The NEH grant is part of the Scholarly Editions and Translations program, which provides grants to organizations to support collaborative teams who are editing, annotating and translating foundational humanities texts that are vital to learning and research but are currently inaccessible or are available only in inadequate editions or translations. It will support two years of research.

Publications Joachim Gentz


(open access to my publications via:







Understanding Chinese Religions. Edinburgh/London: Dunedin Academic Press, 2013.

Keywords Re-Oriented. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Göttingen, 2009.

Das Gongyang zhuan. Auslegung und Kanonisierung der Frühlings- und Herbstannalen (Chunqiu). 634 pp. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2001.


Edited Monographs

Transcultural Perspectices on Pre-Modern China (vol. 1 of 4 vols., China and the World - the World and China: Essays in Honor of Rudolf G. Wagner, edited by B. Mittler, J. & N. Gentz, and C. Yeh). Gossenberg: Ostasienverlag, 2019. Introduction to volume 1.

Literary Forms of Argument in Early China. Leiden: Brill, 2015. With Dirk Meyer. (Paperback edition 2016).

Religious Diversity in Chinese Thought. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. With Perry Schmidt-Leukel. (Online at Google books).

Komposition und Konnotation – Figuren der Kunstprosa im Alten China (Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung 29) 2005. With Wolfgang Behr.


Articles and book chapters

A Trustworthy Companion: xin as Component Term in Early Chinese Texts,” in: Christian Meyer and Philip Clart (eds.), From Trustworthiness to Secular Beliefs – Changing Concepts of xin from Traditional to Modern Chinese. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2023, pp. 61-77.

"'Bei Zuwiderhandlungen wird es donnern' - Empirisierung des Wissens von der Zukunft in China des 3 Jhs. v.u.Z.," in: Zeitschrift für Qigong Yangsheng (2022.3-4): 62-73.  

“‘God Has Conferred Even on the Inferior People a Moral Sense’: Legge’s Concept of the People (min) in His Translation of the Book of Documents,” in: Alex Chow (ed.), Scottish Missions to China: Commemorating the Legacy of James Legge (1815-1897). Leiden: Brill, 2022, pp. 183-212. (Theology and Mission in World Christianity, Volume: 23).

Measures of Unmeasured Texts: Teaching Advanced Classical Chinese via Diagrams,” in: Li Wen 李文 and Ralph Kauz (eds.), Teaching Classical Chinese, Zum Unterricht des Klassischen Chinesischen, 文言文教學. Gossenberg: Ostasien Verlag 2021, pp. 193-230.

Wenn, weil -- dann. Besonderheiten altchinesischer Prognostik im 'Xici'-Kapitel des Buches der Wandlungen und im Zuo zhuan,” in: Berliner Theologische Zeitschrift 38 (2021): 29-47 (special issue “Zukunfts-Sichten zwischen Prognose und Divination”, ed. Klaus Hock, Friedemann Stengel and Jürgen van Oorschot).

“Chinesische Harmonie hé 和 – eine europäische Erfindung?,” in: Zeitschrift für Qigong Yangsheng (2020): 21-34. 

Chinese he 和 in Many Keys, Harmonised in Europe,” in: Li Wai-yee and Yuri Pines (eds.), Keywords in Chinese Culture. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 2020, pp. 37-84. 

“Literary Forms of Argument in the Tsinghua Manuscript ‘Tang zai Chi men’ 湯在啻門,” in: Li Xueqin 李學勤、Sarah Allan 艾蘭、Michael Lüdke 呂德凱 (eds.) 主編,Tsinghua University Excavated Texts Research and Protection Centre 清華大學出土文獻研究與保護中心、Ancient China Research Team 古代中國研究會 (eds.) 編, Qinghuajian yanjiu 3: ‘Qinghua Daxue cang Zhanguo zhujian 5’ guoji xueshu yantaohui lunwenji 清華簡研究(第三輯)—《清華大學藏戰國竹簡(伍)》國際學術研討會論文集, Shanghai: ZhongXi shuju 中西書局, 2019, pp. 194-221.

Zhuangzi‘s Twinkle and Methods without Truth,” in: Joachim Gentz (ed.), Transcultural Perspectives on Pre-modern China (vol. 1 of 4 vols., China and the World—the World and China: Essays in Honor of Rudolf G. Wagner, edited by B. Mittler, J. & N. Gentz, and C. Yeh). Gossenberg: Ostasienverlag, 2019, pp. 1-24.

The Lunyu, a Homeless Dog in Intellectual History: On the Dating of Discourses on Confucius’s Success and Failure,” in: Michael Hunter and Martin Kern (eds.), Confucius and the Analects Revisited: New Perspectives on Composition, Dating, and Authorship. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2018, 116-151.

One Heaven, One History, One People: Repositioning the Zhou in Royal Addresses to Subdued Enemies in the ‘Duo shi’ 多士 and ‘Duo fang’ 多方 Chapters of the Shangshu and the ‘Shangshi’ 商誓 Chapter of the Yi Zhoushu,” in: Martin Kern and Dirk Meyer (eds.), Origins of Chinese Political Philosophy: Studies in the Composition and Thought of the Shangshu (Classic of Documents). Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2017, 146-192.

Das Harmoniemodell religiöser Pluralität in China,” in: Ulrich Willems, Astrid Reuter and Daniel Gerster (eds.), Ordnungen religiöser Pluralität. Wirklichkeit - Wahrnehmung – Gestaltung. Frankfurt/New York: Campus Verlag, 2016 (Religion und Moderne 3), 399-435. Permalink:

“Introduction: Literary Forms of Argument in Early China” (with Dirk Meyer), in: Joachim Gentz and Dirk Meyer (eds.), Literary Forms of Argument in Early China. Leiden: Brill, 2015, 1-36.

“Defining Boundaries and Relations between Textual Units: Examples from the Literary Tool-Kit of Early Chinese Argumentation,” in: Joachim Gentz and Dirk Meyer (eds.), Literary Forms of Argument in Early China. Leiden: Brill, 2015, 112-157.

“Long Live the King! The Ideology of Power Between Ritual and Morality in the Gongyang zhuan,” in: Y. Pines, P. Goldin, M. Kern (eds.), Ideology of Power and Power of Ideology in Early China, Leiden: Brill, 2015, 69-117.

Rhetoric as the Art of Listening: Concepts of Persuasion in the First Eleven Chapters of the Guiguzi,” in: Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques 68.4 (2014): 1001-1019. (Special Issue: Masters of Disguise? Conceptions and Misconceptions of ‘Rhetoric’ in Chinese Antiquity. Ed. Wolfgang Behr and Lisa Indraccolo. Berlin: De Gruyter). 

“Notizen zur chinesischen Interreligiosität, Szkic o chińskiej interreligijności” in: Keryks 11/12 (2012/13): 43-58. (In German and Polish).

“Religious Diversity in Three Teaching Discourses,” in: Joachim Gentz and Perry Schmidt-Leukel (eds.), Religious Diversity in Chinese Thought, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, pp. 123-139.

With Perry Schmidt-Leukel: “Introduction,” in: Joachim Gentz and Perry Schmidt-Leukel (eds.), Religious Diversity in Chinese Thought, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, pp. 1-14.

'Bei Zuwiderhandlungen wird es donnern', Empirisierung des Wissens von der Zukunft im China des 3. Jhs. v.u.Z.,” in: Saeculum: Jahrbuch für Universalgeschichte 62.2 (2012): 213-228.

Es bleibt alles in der Familie: Eine Geschichte von Reisen in philosophischen Kreisen,” in: F. Ehmcke and M. Müller (eds.), Reisen im Zwischenraum – zur Interkulturalität von Kulturwissenschaft. Festschrift für Helmolt Vittinghoff, Würzburg: Ergon-Verlag, 2012, pp. 55-88.

Religionskritik im Wandel der Orthodoxie: Vom Dritten Opiumkrieg und vom Aberglauben im China der 1980er Jahre,” in: Ulrich Berner und Johannes Quack (eds.), Religion und Kritik in der Moderne, Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2012, pp. 55-81.

Confucius Confronting Contingency in the Lunyu and the Gongyang zhuan,” in: Journal of Chinese Philosophy 39.1 (2012): 60-70. 

Rational choice and the Chinese discourse on the Unity of the Three Religions (sanjiao heyi 三教合一),” in: RELIGION 41.4 (2011): 535-546. 

With collaboration of Christian Meyer: “Ritual and Rigidity in Commentaries and Court Debates: Patterns of Reflexivity in Pre-Modern Chinese Discourses on Ritual,” in: Axel Michaels (ed.), Ritual Dynamics and the Science of Ritual, vol. IV: Reflexivity, Media, and Visuality, Section 1: Udo Simon (ed.), “Reflexivity and Discourse on Ritual,” Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2011, pp. 41-60.

Hermeneutics of Multiple Senses: Wang Jie's 'Explanations and Commentary with Diagrams to the Qingjing jing,” in: Journal of Chinese Philosophy (“Daoism and Hermeneutics”) 37.3 (2010): 346-365. 

’Living in the Same House’: Ritual Principles in Early Chinese Reflections on Mourning Garments,” in: Axel Michaels (ed.), Ritual Dynamics and the Science of Ritual, vol I, section 2: Gil Raz, Katja Triplett, Lucia Dolce (eds.), “Ritual discourse, Ritual performance in China and Japan,” Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2010, pp. 371-396.

Encyclopedia entries: “Buddhismus,” “Konfuzianismus” and “Ostasiatische Religionen,” in: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit, Stuttgart/Weimar: Metzler Verlag, vols 2 (2005), 6 (2007), and 9 (2009).

Mohist Traces in the Early Chunqiu fanlu Chapters,” in: Oriens Extremus 48 (2009): 55-70.

“Spirituelle Herausforderung China: sind chinesische Religionen anders?” in: Christian von Zimmermann (ed.), Herausforderung China, Bern: Haupt Verlag, 2009, pp. 35-59.

Ein Augenblick Unsterblichkeit: Das Bildprogramm von Mawangdui-Banner und xiuzhen tu,” in: Roland Altenburger, Martin Lehnert, and Andrea Riemenschnitter (eds.), Dem Text ein Freund: Erkundungen des chinesischen Altertums: Robert H. Gassmann gewidmet, Bern etc.: Lang, 2009, pp. 145–171.

“The Religious Situation in East Asia,” in: Hans Joas and Klaus Wiegandt (eds.), Alex Skinner (transl.), Secularization and the World Religions, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2009, pp. 241-277.

“Within the Tension of Freedom and Determination: The Gongyang zhuan’s Philosophical Hermeneutics,” in: Lee Ming-huei 李明輝 and Chen Wei-fen 陳瑋芬 (eds.), Lijie, quanshi yu Rujia chuantong: gean pian 理解、 詮釋與儒家傳統:個案篇 (Understanding, Interpretation & the Confucian Tradition: Case Studies), Taipei: Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy Academica Sinica (Zhongyang yanjiuyuan Zhongguo wenzhe yanjiusuo 中央研究院中國文哲研究所), 2008, pp. 319-348.

Geschichtete Ritendiskurse. Eine Archäologie,” in: Monumenta Serica 56 (2008): 97-115.

"Mofuku no kaishaku. Kodai Chūgoku girei sho ni mieru sōsai girei ni kansuru chūki no teisai to naiyō ——Mofuku den o chūshin ni—— 「喪服」の解釈. 古代中國儀礼書にみえる葬祭儀礼に 關する注記の体裁と內容 ——「喪服傳」を中心に——,” in: Watanabe Yoshihiro 渡邊義浩 (ed.), Ryōkan Jukyō no shin kenkyū 兩漢儒教の新研究, Tōkyō: Kyuko-shoin, 2008, pp. 231-256. (“Exegesis of the ‘Mourning Garment’ chapter. Commentarial forms and contents on burial rites in the ancient Chinese ritual books with focus on the Sangfu zhuan,” in: Watanabe Yoshihiro (ed.), New Research on Confucianism in the Two Han Dynasties).

“Language of Heaven, Exegetical Skepticism and the Re-insertion of Religious Concepts in the Gongyang Tradition,” in: John Lagerwey, Marc Kalinowski (eds.), Early Chinese Religion: Part One: Shang Through Han (1250 BC-220 AD), Leiden: Brill, 2008, pp. 813-838.

“Buddhism and Chinese Religions,” in: Perry Schmidt-Leukel (ed.), Buddhist Attitudes to Other Religions, EOS: St. Ottilien, 2008, pp. 172-211.

“Multiple religiöse Identität in Ostasien,” in: Reinhold Bernhardt, Perry Schmidt-Leukel (eds.), Multiple religiöse Identität. Aus verschiedenen religiösen Traditionen schöpfen, Zürich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich, 2008, pp. 115-135.

Encyclopedia entries: “Falun Gong”, “Konfuzianismus”, “Laozi”, “Priester”, “Reinkarnation”, “Stigmatisation”, “Tao”, “Taoismus und chinesische Volksreligion”, and “Totenkult/ Ahnenverehrung” in: F.W. Horn and F Nüssel (eds.), Taschenlexikon Religion und Theologie (TRT), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008, vols. 1-3.

Die Architektur des Zhu Xi Kommentars: Eine Textstudie zum ersten Teil des Daxue,” in: Oriens Extremus 46 (2007): 231-245.

“Shunjū no bigen taigi --- Kuyō den ni okeru imi seisei no senryaku 『春秋』の微言大義 ﹣『公羊傳』における意味生成の 戦略,” in: Watanabe Yoshihiro 渡邊義浩 (ed.), Ryōkan ni okeru shi to sanden 兩漢における詩と三傳 Tōkyō: Kyuko-shoin, 2007, pp. 83-98. („Close(d) Reading of the Spring and Autumn Annals: Strategies of Producing Meaning in the Gongyang zhuan,” in: Watanabe Yoshihiro (ed.), Shijing and Chunqiu sanzhuan in the Two Han Dynasties).

“Die religiöse Lage in Ostasien,” in: Hans Joas, Klaus Wiegandt (ed.), Säkularisierung und die Weltreligionen, Frankfurt: Fischer, 2007, pp. 376-434.

Zum Parallelismus in der chinesischen Literatur,” in: Andreas Wagner (ed.), Parallelismus Membrorum, Fribourg: Academic Press and Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007, pp. 241–269.

“'Ritual': Related Emic Concepts: China,” in: Jens Kreinath, Jan Snoek, Michael Stausberg (eds.), Theorizing Rituals: Vol. I: Issues, Topics, Approaches, Concepts, Leiden: Brill, 2006, pp. 63–67.

Zur Deutung früher Grabbefunde. Das Renzi pian 人字篇 aus Shuihudi 睡虎地,” in: Michael Friedrich (ed.), Han-Zeit: Festschrift für Hans Stumpfeldt aus Anlass seines 65. Geburtstages, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006, pp. 535–553.

“Die Drei Lehren (sanjiao) Chinas in Konflikt und Harmonie. Figuren und Strategien einer Debatte,” in: Edith Franke and Michael Pye (eds.), Religionen Nebeneinander: Modelle religiöser Vielfalt in Ost- und Südostasien, Münster-Hamburg-Berlin-Wien-London: Lit-Verlag, 2006, pp. 17–40.

Wang Chongs (27-ca. 100) Divinatonskritik,” in: Cahiers Glotz 16 (2005): 259–274. 

With Wolfgang Behr: “Introduction,” in: Wolfgang Behr and Joachim Gentz (eds.), Komposition und Konnotation – Figuren der Kunstprosa im Alten China. Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung 29 (2005): 5–13.

“Zwischen den Argumenten lesen. Zu zweifach gerichteten Verbindungsstücken zwischen Argumenten in frühen chinesischen Texten,” in: Wolfgang Behr and Joachim Gentz (eds.), Komposition und Konnotation – Figuren der Kunstprosa im Alten China. Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung 29 (2005): 35–56.

Encyclopedia entry: “Dong Zhongshu,” in: Encyclopedia of Religion (2nd ed., Lindsay Jones ed.), MacMillan Reference Books, 2005.

“Ritual Meaning of Textual Form: Evidence from Early Commentaries of the Historiographical and Ritual Traditions,” in: Martin Kern (ed.), Text and Ritual in Early China, Seattle/London: University of Washington Press, 2005, pp. 124–148.

“The Past as a Messianic Vision: Historical Thought and Strategies of Sacralization in the Early Gongyang Tradition,” in: Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer, Achim Mittag, Jörn Rüsen (eds.), Historical Truth, Historical Criticism, and Ideology: Chinese Historiography and Historical Culture from a New Comparative Perspective, Leiden: Brill, 2005, pp. 227–254.

Elf Thesen zur Eigenart und Systematik früher chinesischer Chronomantik,” in: Oriens Extremus 44 (2003–2004): 101–110. 

“Ein exotisches Europa am Rande der Welt: Europa im Spiegel Asiens,” “Die weisse Form der Macht: Das Europabild im historischen Südafrika,” in: Georgia Augusta: “Europa - Alte und neue Welten,” 2004, pp. 117–123. Online: and

‘Im Anfang war das Dao‘: Die Bibel im Reich der Mitte,” in: R. Feldmeier and H. Spieckermann (eds.), Die Bibel: Entstehung – Botschaft – Wirkung, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004, pp. 171–207.

“Ritus als Physiognomie. Frühe chinesische Ritentheorien zwischen Kosmologie und Kunst,” in: Dietrich Harth, Gerrit Schenk (eds.), Ritualdynamik: Kulturübergreifende Studien zur Theorie und Geschichte rituellen Handelns, Heidelberg: Synchron Verlag, 2004, pp. 307–337.

Wahrheit und historische Kritik in der frühen chinesischen historiographischen Tradition - sechs Thesen,” in: Oriens Extremus 43 (2002, 1/2): 32–39. 

“Composition as grammar of a topological semantic flow. A comparison of the two ‘Tzu-i’-versions from Kuo-tien and the Li-chi,” in: EACS Conference Papers, Turin, 2000. CD-ROM-Publication, 2002.

“‘Offenbarung’ in den chinesischen Religionen? Eine systematisch angelegte Überblicksstudie zu verschiedenen Divinationsformen in China,” in: Mitteilungen für Anthropologie und Religionsgeschichte 13 (1998) (Münster: Ugarit, 2001): 225–270.

“Chunqiu Gongyang zhuan de jieshixue 春秋公羊傳的解釋學” (The hermeneutics of the Gongyang-commentary), in: Guanzi xuekan zengkan (Chunqiu jingzhuan guoji xueshu taolunhui zhuankan) 管子學刊增刊 (春秋經傳國際學術討論會轉刊) (1998): 107–110.

With Natascha Vittinghoff: “Monbusho Scholarships for Japanese and Chinese Studies,” in: IIAS Newsletter 14 (1997): 30.



Daniel K. Gardner trans. Zhu Xi. Basic Writings (New York: Columbia University Press, 2022). In: Journal of Chinese Religions, vol. 51 (May 2023).

Newell Ann Van Auken. The Commentarial Transformation of the Spring and Autumn (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2016). In: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies / Volume 81 / Issue 3 / October 2018,, Published online: 02 November 2018, pp. 561-563.

Thomas Jülch. Bodhisattva der Apologetik: die Mission des buddhistischen Tang-Mönchs Falin. With an English Foreword by Bart Dessein (Munich: Utz, 2013, 3 vols., 1142 pp.). In: Journal of Chinese Religions 45.1 (2017): 98-104.

John S. Major, Sarah A. Queen. Luxuriant Gems of the Spring and Autumn. Attributed to Dong Zhongshu (New York: Columbia University Press [Translations from the Asian Classics], 2016). In: Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR), Vol. 38 (December 2016), pp. 209-213.

Paul R. Katz. Religion in China & its Modern Fate. The Menahem Stern Jerusalem Lectures (Waltham, Mass.: Brandeis University Press/ Historical Society of Israel, 2014). In: CHINET.

Yuri Pines: The Everlasting Empire: Traditional Chinese Political Culture and Its Enduring, Legacy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012). In: Historia היסטוריה (Journal of the Historical Society of Israel, Jerusalem) 33 (2014): 157-163. Hebrew/English version.

Fritz B. Simon; Margarete Haaß-Wiesegart; Xudong Zhao: „Zhong De Ban“ oder wie die Psychotherapie nach China kam. Geschichte und Analyse eines interkulturellen Abenteuers (Heidelberg: Carl-Auer, 2011). In: ASIEN - The German Journal on Contemporary Asia 132 (2014): 139-140. PDF.

Loewe, Michael. Dong Zhongshu, a ‘Confucian’ Heritage and the Chunqiu fanlu (Leiden: Brill, 2011). In: Monumenta Serica 61 (2013): 237-241.

Ronnie Littlejohn, Jeffrey Dippmann (eds). Riding the Wind with Liezi: New Perspectives on the Daoist Classic (Albany: SUNY, 2011). In: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 75/3 (2012): 611–613. PDF.

Xiaobing Wang-Riese, T.O. Höllmann (eds.), Time and Ritual in Early China (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2009). In: Anthropos 106 (2011/12): 723-725.

Livia Kohn. Introducing Daoism (New York: Routledge, 2009). In: Numen 57.5 (2010): 622-624.

Katja Gvozdeva, Werner Röcke (eds.), “risus sacer – sacrum risibile”. Interaktionsfelder von Sakralität und Gelächter im kulturellen und historischen Wandel (Verlag Peter Lang, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften Bern u. a. 2009). In: Zeitschrift für Germanistik 20.3 (2010): 658-660.

Irmgard Enzinger. Ausdruck und Eindruck. Zum chinesischen Verständnis der Sinne (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006). In: T'oung Pao 95.1-3 (2009): 2004-209.

Stephan Schmidt. Die Herausforderung des Fremden: Interkulturelle Hermeneutik und konfuzianisches Denken (Darmstadt: Wiss. Buchgesellschaft, 2005). In: Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft 14.1 (2006): 100-101.

Oliver Grasmück. Geschichte und Aktualität der Daoismusrezeption im deutschsprachigen Raum (Münster: LIT, 2004). In: Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft (ZfR) 13.1 (2005): 116-117.

Maria Hsia Chang. Falun gong: The End of Days (New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2004). In: Orientalistische Literaturzeitung (OLZ) 100.6 (2005): 567-572.

Dickhardt, Michael and Vera Dorofeeva-Lichtman (eds.). Creating and Representing Sacred Spaces (Göttingen: Peust & Gutschmidt, 2003). In: Numen 52.3 (2005): 399-403.

Hans van Ess. Politik und Gelehrsamkeit in der Zeit der Han. Die Alttext/Neutext Kontroverse (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1993). In: “Database of Research on Chinese Philosophy in Foreign Languages: German,” 19 pp. PDF.

Robert H. Gassmann. Cheng Ming. Richtigstellung der Bezeichnungen: Zu den Quellen eines Philosophems im antiken China. Ein Beitrag zur Konfuzius-Forschung (Bern: Lang, 1988). In: “Database of Research on Chinese Philosophy in Foreign Languages: German,” 17 pp. PDF.

Otto Franke. Studien zur Geschichte des konfuzianischen Dogmas und der chinesischen Staatsreligion: das Problem des Tsch’un-Ts’iu und Tung Tschung-schu’s Tsch’un-T’siu fan lu (Hamburg, 1920). In: “Database of Research on Chinese Philosophy in Foreign Languages: German,” 15 pp. PDF

Hans-Georg Möller. Die philosophischste Philosophie. Feng Youlans Neue Metaphysik (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2000). In: Zhongguo xueshu 中國學術 (Chinese Scholar) 3.2 (2002): 327-330. (In Chinese).

Jean-Pierre Voiret (ed.). Gespräch mit dem Kaiser: Auserlesene Stücke aus den ‘Erbaulichen und seltsamen Briefen’ der Jesuitenmissionare aus dem Reich der Mitte (Bern: Lang, 1996). In: Asiatische Studien LI.1 (1997): 524-527.

“Georges Goormaghtigh. L’ART DU QIN. Deux textes d’esthétique musicale chinoise traduits et commentés par Georges Goormaghtigh (Brussels: Institute Belge des Hautes Etudes Chinoises, 1990). In: Asiatische Studien XLVI.2 (1992): 731-732.



In cooperation with Xiao Se: “Bei yiwang de weizhi: Wang Bi de Laozi jieshixue 被遺忘的微旨:王弼的老子解釋學,” in: Xueren 學人 10 (1996): 313-344. (Translation of Rudolf G. Wagner, “Der vergessene Hinweis. Wang Pi über den Lao-tzu,” in: Jan Assmann [ed.], Text und Kommentar, München: Fink, 1995, pp. 257-278).



“Achtung Konkor-Tanz: Einführung in einige grundlegende Probleme einer wissenschaftlichen und praktischen Nutzung der chinesischen digitalen Konkordanzen.” 25.3.99 (

“Bibliographie zu chinesischen Grabtexten.” (

“Features of Chinese Traditional Biographical Writing.” (

“Anticipating historical heat. Early Chinese concepts of time quality.” 3. November 2002. (


In print and preparation



“Gongyang zhuan, Father of Chinese Historiography,” in: Martin Kern and Yuri Pines (eds.), Rethinking Chinese Historiography, Leiden: Brill, forthcoming. (In print). 

“Falling Stones: Five. Six: Fish-Hawks flying backwards. Readings of a Strange Record,” in: Sophia Katz (ed.), Divination and the Strange: Constructing Fate in Pre-Modern China, Japan, Korea and Europe. (Accepted for publication, submitted).

"How ling is ling? 靈, an exanimate classifier invoking conceptual numinous realms," in: Christian Meyer and Philip Clart (eds.), A Powerful Term: Ling 靈–Between ‘Efficacy’ and ‘Spirituality. (Accepted for publication, submitted).

“Texts in tombs across ancient cultures,” chap 1 in: Wolfgang Behr, Martin Kern, Dirk Meyer (eds.), Brill Handbook on Early Chinese Manuscripts, Leiden: Brill. (49 pp., accepted for publication).

"Patterns of Decision Making: Liberties, Liabilities and Lies," in: Rethinking Interdisciplinary Approaches to Decision-Making, Leiden: Brill, forthcoming. (In preparation).

“When Clio meets Urania: Historiography and Divination in Early Chinese Writing.” (In preparation). 


  • "The Master’s Many Sounds of Silence." EACS Olomouc, 26 August 2022.
  • “偶之合之仇之匹之 : Parallelism as means of including the middle.” HOLIC Workshop “Textual Analysis as the Basis for Understanding Chinese Logical Thought”, Beijing Tsinghua University (Online), January 15-17, 2022 (invited).


  • “On the Road to Heaven: Science and Superstition in Mainland Chinese Propaganda Posters.” Uni Leipzig online workshop “Aesthetics of Atheism,” 4-5 March 2021 (invited).
  • “Creating complex lines of conceptual argumentation through parallelisms in the Xunzi and the Zhuangzi.” EACS Leipzig, 24 August 2021.
  • “How ling is ling? Ling 靈 as an exanimate classifier relating to a conceptual religious realm.” EACS Leipzig, 26 August 2021.


  • “Textual bonding in Early Chinese Manuscripts.” Zoom-talk given at the Cambridge Dunhuang and the Silk Road Seminar Series 26 Nov 2020 (invited).
  • “Some Preliminary Thoughts on a Text Act Theory in Religious Studies.” International conference “Step Back and Look Beyond: Religious Studies After 2020” organised by the Käte Hamburger Kolleg at the Center for Religious Studies (CERES) of Ruhr University Bochum, 11-13 March 2020 (invited). Postponed to fall 2020 due to Corona virus.


  • “Chinesische Harmonie, eine europäische Erfindung?” Confucius Institute Leipzig, 2 December 2019 (invited).
  • “Report on experimental work on the backside of the bones.” International conference 紀念甲骨文發現120周年暨饒宗頤教授《殷代貞卜人物通考》出版60周年國際會議 at Hong Kong Baptist University, 6-9 November 2019 (invited). Due to political situation in HK, this conference has been postponed to 28-29 March 2020 and further again, because of the Corona virus.
  • “How ling is ling? 靈, an exanimate classifier relating to a conceptual religious realm.” International conference "Changing Concepts of ling 靈 from Traditional to Modern Chinese”, FU Berlin, 3-6 October 2019 (invited).
  • “Animals and the limits of interpretation in the Zhuangzi”, JEASC Edinburgh, 7 September 2019

  • “The Text’s Two Bodies: Friends or Foes?” International conference: “Materiality of Knowledge in Chinese Thought: Past and Present”, Yuelu Academy, Hunan University, Changsha, 3-5 September 2019 (invited). 
  • “Foundations of Decision Making: Liberties, Liabilities and Lies.” Keynote at the IKGF-SDAC joint workshop “Rethinking interdisciplinary approaches to decision-making: Choice, culture, and context”, Erlangen, 4 June 2019 (invited keynote).
  • “When Clio meets Urania: Historiography and Divination in Early Chinese Writing”. International conference: “Rethinking Early Chinese Historiography”, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, May 12-16, 2019 (invited).
  • “Bones, Bronzes and Books: Collections of Chinese Antiquities in Scotland”. Talk given at the Scotland China Society in Edinburgh, 4 May 2019 (invited).
  • “Jill glaubt Jack glaubt: transkulturelle Knoten in der Wahrnehmung chinesischer Harmoniekultur.” Keynote at the Study Day of the German-Chinese Academy for Psychotherapy, Sigmund-Freud-Institute Frankfurt, 26 January 2019 (invited keynote).


  • “Chinese he 和 in many keys, harmonised in Europe”, Måndagsföreläsning given at the University of Stockholm, 10 December 2018 (invited).
  • “論者, 倫也. Orders of Modular Designs in Early Chinese Texts”. International Symposium on the Teaching of Classical Chinese, University of Bonn, 14-15 December 2018 (invited).
  • “The Backside of the Bones: Sino-Forensic Analyses of Oracle Bones from the Collection of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh with crack-making experiments”. EACS Glasgow, 29 August – 1 September 2018.
  • “Literary forms of argument in the Tsinghua manuscript ‘Tang zai ChiMen’ 湯在啻門”. International workshop: “Warp, Woof, Wen / Phoneme, Pattern, Pun: Structural Approaches to Early Chinese Texts”, University of Zurich, April 12–14, 2018 (invited).
  • “A Trustworthy Companion: Xin 信 as a component term in early Chinese texts”. Editorial & Discussion Meeting - Ed. Volume: "From Trustworthiness to Secular Beliefs – Changing Concepts of xin 信 from Traditional to Modern Chinese", FU Berlin, 23 February 2018 (invited).


  • “Chinesische Harmonie, eine europäische Erfindung?” Confucius Institute Berlin, 6 November 2017 (invited).
  • “The Backside of the Bones: Sino-Forensic Analyses of Oracle Bones from the Collection of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.” British Association of Chinese Studies (BACS) Annual Conference, University of Glasgow, 7-9 September 2017.
  • “The Multisitedness of the Afterlife in Early China.” International conference: “Aspects of Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Greece and Beyond”, Durham University, Department of Classics and Ancient History, 7-9 July 2017 (invited).
  • “A Trustworthy Companion: Xin 信 as complementary term in early Chinese texts”. International conference: “From Trustworthiness to Secular Beliefs – Changing Concepts of xin 信 from Traditional to Modern Chinese”, FU Berlin, 9-11 June, 2017 (invited).
  • “Discursive constructions of religious pluralism in China”. International workshop: “Chinese responses to religious diversity and models of religious pluralism” at The International Center for Studies of Chinese Civilization at Fudan University (复旦大学中华文明国际研究中心) Shanghai, 5-6 May 2017 (invited).
  • “先秦文學形式的辯論邏輯”. Talk given at the School of Liberal Arts at Nanjing University 南京大学文学院, 4 May 2017 (invited).
  • “Textual performance of truth in early Chinese Philosophy”. Edinburgh University Philosophy Society, 2nd March 2017 (invited)
  • “Literary constructions of truth in Buddhist texts”. Buddhist Studies Research Seminar, King’s College London, 17th February 2017 (invited).


  • “Xue Shou’s 薛收 (591-629) commentarial glosses on Wang Tong’s 王通 (584-618) Classic of the Origin (Yuanjing 元經)”. International Workshop: “Tapping immaterial resources: glossing practices between the Far East and the Latin West, c. 600 C.E.”, Collaborative Research Centre 1095: 'Discourses of weakness and resource regimes', University of Frankfurt, 2–3 December 2016 (invited).
  • “Religionsästhetische Momente in Zeiten der Kulturrevolution. Und aus deren Asche: die Entstehung einer neuen Religion”. University of Zurich, Religious Studies Department, 4th November 2016 (invited).
  • “Of Prophets and Scribes: Concepts and Taxonomies of Interpreting Texts in Early China and the Near East”. University of Zurich, Research Group "Concepts and Taxonomies" of the interdisciplinary Cluster "Asia and Europe", 3rd November 2016 (invited).
  • “Facing Truth: Physiognomies of the dharma in Chinese Buddhist texts”. International Workshop: “Truth and Meaning in Buddhism”, Munich, 12-13 Sept. 2016 (invited).
  • “The role of animals in the argumentative arsenal of the Zhuangzi”. Joint East Asia Studies Conference, SOAS, University of London, 7-9 September 2016 (invited).
  • “China and its European Harmony”. EACS St. Petersburg, 23-28 August 2016.

  • "Divinatory hermeneutics and early canon exegesis in China and the Near East”. International Conference on Chinese Divination, Erlangen, 19-22 July 2016 (invited).

  • “Too much ‘harmony’. Chinese historical terms denoting unity, balance, accord, congruity, proportion, concord, expediency, consonance, and correspondence.” International conference: Keywords in Chinese Thought and Literature, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, June 15-16, 2016 (invited).

  • Presentation of “Tang zai chi men” 湯在啻門 (Li Shoukui 李守奎 ed.): Section 1, together with Chen Zhi 陳致 and Constance Cook. International conference: Human Nature Morality and Fate in the Tsinghua University Bamboo Manuscripts 清華大學藏戰國竹簡國際學術研討會, Erlangen, 9-13 May 2016 (invited).

  • “Colouring Characters. Bodies of Arguments in Early Chinese Texts”. Bernhard Karlgren Seminar Series, Gothenburg, 14 April 2016 (invited).

  • “‘The Backside of the Bones’: Report on a Research Project: ‘Osteological analysis and reconstruction of the production of controlled divinatory cracks in Shang Dynasty oracle bones held in the National Museum of Scotland’, conducted by the University of Edinburgh (Chinese Studies and Forensic Anthropology) in co-operation with the NMS”. Roundtable on Oracle Bone Studies, British Library London, 9 March 2016 (invited).


  • “‘Falling Stones: Five. Six: Fish-Hawks flying backwards.’ Readings of a Strange Record.” International workshop: Divination and the Strange in Pre- and Early Modern East Asia and Europe, Erlangen, 27-28 October 2015 (invited).

  • Discussant for 5 papers at the International Workshop “A new Perspective on Historical Interpretations of the Book of Songs: Commentarial Structures and Exegetical Strategies in the Mao Shi zhushu《詩經》詮釋研究新視野 ── 以《毛詩注疏》之解經形式與詮釋策略為中心” at the SOAS in London, 1st July 2015 (invited).
  • "The impact of the Käte Hamburger Centers on the culture in the individual disciplines (the International Consortium "Fate, Freedom and Prognostication. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe", Friedrich‐Alexander‐Universität Erlangen‐Nürnberg)" at the conference of the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF) "Cutting-edge research in the Social Sciences and Humanities – Aims, paths and impacts of the Käte Hamburger Centres" in Berlin, 26th June 2015 (invited).
  • "Pure Self-Recognition in Absolute Being-Other. The global circumnavigation of histories of philosophy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries." International Networking Workshop: Dimension of Mobility: Travel and Adventure in Modern China's Literary and Cultural Landscape, Edinburgh University, 15-16 June 2015 (invited).
  • "'God has conferred even on the inferior people a moral sense': Legge’s concept of the people (min 民) in his translation of the Book of Documents." International Conference: James Legge and Scottish Missions to China, at the University of Edinburgh (Divinity School) 11-13 June 2015 (invited).
  • "Das Große Dao ist ohne Form, ohne Wesen und ohne Namen. Formen des Transfers zwischen Religionen im regulierten Pluralismus Chinas." University of Münster public lecture series: "Transfer zwischen den Religionen", Münster, 21 April 2015 (invited).
  • "Back to the Future: Prophecy and Divination in Early Religious Traditions." Talk given at the Religious Studies Seminar, Edinburgh University, 1st April 2015 (invited).
  • "Comparative Reading of Plato and Early Chinese Philosophical Texts." Workshop given at the Plato Centre at Trinity College Dublin, 31 March 2015 (invited).
  • "The Dao Cannot be Named But How Can This Be Claimed? Early Chinese Forms of Philosophizing." Talk given at the Philosophy Department of Trinity College Dublin, 30 March 2015 (invited).


  • "Religious Language in CCP Propaganda Posters and Visual Self-representations of the Falun Gong." Talk given at the Dept. of Oriental Languages, Stockholm, 13th October 2014 (invited).
  • "Philosophy that can be spoken of… Plato, Poetry, and the Problem of Unity in Early Chinese 'Masters' (zhuzi) texts." International conference: Reading the "Masters": Contexts, Textual Structures, and Hermeneutic Strategies. Masaryk University, Brno, 5th–6th September 2014 (invited).
  • "Interactions between Heaven, King, and the People in the Shangshu." Workshop: The Shangshu: New Perspectives on the Documents Classic, Berkeley, 1st-2nd September 2014 (invited).
  • "Ambiguity of Religious Signs and Claim to Power in Chinese Propaganda Posters." International conference: Poster Art of Modern China, Edinburgh, 26-28 June 2014 (invited).
  • “‘Duo shi 多士’ and ‘Duo fang 多方’ as prototypes of pacification speeches.” International conference: The Classic of Documents and the Origins of Chinese Political Philosophy, Oxford, 20-23 March 2014 (invited).


  • “周易與中國占卜傳統之衰落” (The Zhouyi and the Decline of Divination in China). Talk at the Zhouyi-Centre Jinan, China, 11 October 2013 (invited).
  • “Rhetoric as the Art of Listening: Concepts of Persuasion in the first eleven chapters of the Guiguzi.” International conference: Masters of Disguise? Conceptions and Misconceptions of “Rhetoric” in Chinese Antiquity, Uni Zürich, Einsiedeln, 4 -6 September 2013 (invited).
  • “Strategien zur Lösung von Konflikten in der Begegnung von Religionen in China.” Talk at the AKAR 7 meeting in Uppsala, 3 August 2013 (invited).
  • “Divination und Kanon. Die Funktion der konfuzianischen Klassiker im alten China.” Talk given at the Sinologisches Seminar Leipzig, 10 June 2013 (invited).
  • “The Yuanjing of Wang Tong (584-618).” International workshop: Neo-Confucianism in the Making: Wang Tong’s Zhongshuo, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala, 28 May 2013 (invited).
  • “Divinatory hermeneutics and early canon exegesis in China.” Talk at the Early China Seminar of Columbia University, New York, 19 May 2013 (invited).
  • “The ‘Duo shi’ and ‘Duo fang’ chapters 19 and 22 of the Shangshu.” International conference: The Classic of Documents and the Origins of Chinese Political Philosophy, Princeton, 17-18 May 2013 (invited).
  • “Divination and Canon Exegesis in Early China and the Near East.” Talk at the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities (IKGF), Uni Erlangen, 17 April 2013.
  • “Das Harmoniemodell religiöser Pluralität in China.” University of Münster public lecture series: “Religiöse Vielfalt”, Münster, 30 October 2012 (invited). (Broadcast: Deutschlandradio Wissen, 11.04.2013, 20:05)
  • “Diagrammatic depictions of the Daxue. A comparison between contemporary Western and Song dynasty Chinese visual exegesis” 从东西《大學》圖的比较看《大學》的结构与诠释问题. Talk at the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University, 20 March 2013 (invited).


  • “‘Ein Yin und ein Yang: das ist das Dao.’ Ambiguität als Vereindeutigungsstrategie in chinesischen Religionen.” Conference: Neue Fundamentalismen – Ambiguität und die Macht der Eindeutigkeit, Central Institute for the Anthropology of Religions (Zentralinstitut für die Anthropologie der Religionen, ZAR), Erlangen, 3 October 2012 (invited).


  • “Wondering wanderer and homeless dog. Depictions of Confucius’ knowledge and explanations of his failures in Zhou and Han texts”. International conference: The Lunyu: A Western Han Text, Princeton, 3-6 November 2011 (invited).
  • “Diversity in Sanjiao Discourses.” International conference: Religious Diversity in Chinese Thought, Münster, 27-30 October 2011 (conference co-organised).
  • “‘Bei Zuwiderhandlungen wird es donnern’: Empirisierung des Wissens von der Zukunft im China des 3. Jhs. v.Chr.” International conference: Formen des Wissens über die Zukunft, Erfurt, 26-28 September 2011 (invited).
  • “Religion and Politics in Chinese Propaganda Posters.” Annual Meeting of the British Association of Chinese Studies (BACS), Edinburgh, 6-8 September 2011.
  • “Divinatory Authority and Author's Divinity in Early China”. International conference: Fate, Freedom, and Creation in Early China, Erlangen, 19-22 May 2011 (invited).
  • “Texts in tombs: a cross-comparative analysis of assembly, function, materiality, and the complexity of entombed manuscripts across ancient cultures.” International workshop: Early Chinese Manuscripts: Texts, Contexts, Methods, (ca. 481 BC-280 AD), Princeton, 5-8 May 2011 (invited).


  • “Constructing Confucius Confronting Contingency in the Lunyu and the Gongyang zhuan.” International Forum on the Analects, King’s College London, 21-23 October 2010 (invited).
  • “Indigenous notions of religion in China and their impact on modern Chinese Religious Studies.” International Association of the History of Religions (IAHR) at Toronto, 17 August 2010 (subsection and panel organised).
  • “Can we be in time to lead a good life? Discourses on the human ability to lead a good life through timely action in early Chinese thought.” International conference: The good life and conceptions of life in Greek and Chinese Antiquity, Philosophy Department, Glasgow University, 7-9 June 2010 (invited).


  • “Mirror Discourses in the Argument Between the CCP and the Falun Gong.” Scotland China Association, Edinburgh, 8 December 2009 (invited).
  • “Rational choice between Three Religions?” International conference: Beyond the Market: Exploring Religious Fields in Modern China, Lampeter, 20-22 November 2009 (conference co-organized).
  • “Kant, Marx oder Jesus? Neue konfuzianische Ethik in Taiwan, der VRChina und den USA.” Workshop: Ethik und Moral im religiösen Kontext des modernen Asiens, Bayreuth, 13-14 November 2009 (invited).
  • “‘Tomb libraries’: a cross-comparative analysis of assembly, function, materiality, and the complexity of entombed manuscripts across ancient cultures.” International conference: Reading Early Chinese Manuscripts: Texts, Contexts, Methods, Princeton, 23-24 October 2009 (invited).
  • “Literary Forms of Argument in Early China and the Missing Premise: Syllogism or Enthymeme?” International Conference: Literary Forms of Argument in Pre-Modern China, Oxford, 16-19 September 2009 (conference co-organized).
  • “Mohist traces in the Chunqiu fanlu.” International workshop: The many faces of Mozi, Leuven, 26-28 June 2009 (invited).
  • “Bombenmeditation – wie friedlich ist der Buddhismus?” Katholische Hochschule Heidelberg, 15 May 2009 (invited).
  • “Verlockende Verbindungen: ein paar Tips zu IPS.” Symposium in Honour of Rudolf Wagner, Heidelberg, 15 May 2009 (invited).
  • “The first History of Chinese Philosophy: Xie Wuliang’s: Zhongguo zhexue shi (1916) in context.” Talk at the China Seminar, University of Oxford, 5 March 2009 (invited).


  • “Die Entstehung des allgemeinen Religionsbegriffs in Ostasien (und Westeuropa).“ Workshop: Die Entstehung des allgemeinen Religionsbegriffs in Ostasien und Westeuropa, Research College “Dynamics in the History of Religions,” Bochum, 19 December 2008 (invited keynote speech).
  • “’Living in the same house’: ritual principles in early Chinese reflections on mourning rites.” International conference: Ritual Dynamics and the Science of Ritual, Heidelberg, 29 September – 2 October 2008.
  • “Between Scholarly Annals and History of Philosophy. Xie Wuliang’s (1884-1964) first Chinese History of Chinese Philosophy (Zhongguo zhexue shi) from 1916.” Meeting of the European Association of Chinese Studies (EACS), Lund, 08.08.08.
  • “The Communist Party on the Religious Market: Falun Gong's political performances on a global stage.” International conference: Chinese Religions and Globalisation, 1800-Present, University of Cambridge, Department of East Asian Studies, 3-6 July 2008 (invited).
  • “Confucius, the Enlightened Philosopher.” International Lecture Series “Faces of Confucius,” Edinburgh, 9 June 2008.
  • William James Visiting Professor Lecture Series (six talks) on the topic: “Religion and Politics in China.” University of Bayreuth, 21-25 January 2008 (invited).


  • “How to deal with the religious other: problems of perceptions and reactions of Christian Europeans, Chinese Buddhists and the Chinese state regarding the Falun gong movement.” Theology and Religious Studies Dpt, University of Glasgow, 11 December 2007 (invited).
  • “Säkularisierung in China.” German Circle Edinburgh 27 November 2007 (invited).
  • “Falun gong and ‘Aesthetics of Religion’ in a Chinese context.” Religious Studies Seminar at the New College in Edinburgh, 3 October 2007 (invited).
  • “Spirituelle Herausforderung China: sind chinesische Religionen anders?” Public lecture series (Ringvorlesung) of the Collegium generale, University of Bern: Herausforderung China, 30 May 2007 (invited).
  • “Exegetical dynamics and functions of Han ritual commentaries. With special focus on the ‘Sangfu’-commentaries.” Tokyo University, 21 May 2007 (invited).
  • “Close(d) Reading of the Chunqiu: Strategies of Producing Meaning in the Gongyang zhuan.” International Conference of Eastern Studies (ICES): Chunqiu sanzhuan in the two Han Dynasties, Tokyo, 18 May 2007 (invited).
  • “Multiple religiöse Identität in Ostasien.” International colloquium: Multiple religiöse Identität, Basel/Kaiseraugst, 20–22 April 2007 (invited).
  • “Non-action in action: martial arts, landscape and religious concepts in Chinese film.” Talk at the Cinema China Filmfestival Edinburgh, 13 March 2007 (invited).
  • “Chinesische Religionen – Konfuzianismus, Daoismus, Falun Gong.” Bad Lauterberg, 29 January 2007 (invited).
  • Response to Thomas Petersen: “Berechtigter Aufstand der Frommen?” Symposium: Wiederkehr der Götter, Katholische Hochschulgemeinde Heidelberg, 14 January 2007 (invited).


  • “On the concept of religion in China.” Crossroads: Writing Conceptual History Beyond the Nation-State, 9th Annual International Conference on Conceptual History in Uppsala, Sweden, 24–26 August 2006 (invited).
  • “Religion und Sport.” Katholische Hochschulgemeinde Heidelberg, 31 May 2006 (invited).
  • “Taoist Hermeneutics: Wang Jie’s 王玠 (Yuan dynasty) Taishang Laojun shuochang qingjing miaojing zuantu jiezhu 太上老君說常清靜妙經纂圖解注.” Third International Conference Daoism and the Contemporary World: Daoist Cultivation in Theory and Practice, Frauenwörth Monastery (near Munich), 25–28 May 2006 (invited).
  • “Interpreting ‘Mourning Garments’: commentarial forms and contents on mourning rites in ancient Chinese ritual texts, with a focus on the ‘Sangfu zhuan’ 喪服傳.” Association of Asian Studies (AAS), San Francisco, 6–9 April 2006.
  • “Die religiöse Lage in Ostasien.” Colloquium: Säkularisierung und die Weltreligionen, European Academy Otzenhausen, 1–5 April 2006 (invited).
  • Discussant at the International Symposium “Remapping the East.” Edinburgh, 18–19 February 2006 (invited).
  • “Vom Missionarsbericht zur Esoterikmesse. Formen europäischer Buddhismus-Rezeption vom 18. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert.” Katholische Hochschulgemeinde Heidelberg, 27 January 2006. (Invited).


  • “Körper in den Religionen.” Talk at the Uhlhorn Konvikt, Göttingen, 29 November 2005 (invited).
  • “Von der Gelehrtenbiographie zur Philosophiegeschichte: Versuche der Ordnung von Geistesgeschichte in der chinesischen Moderne.” Talk at the Chinese Institute Leipzig, 18 October 2005 (invited).
  • “Envisioning Conflicts: Aesthetic Representations in Negotiations between State and Religion in China.” Talk at the Chinese Institute, Leiden University, 29 September 2005 (invited).
  • “Wang Chongs (27– ca. 100) Divinationskritik.” Annual Meeting of the German Association of the History of Religions (DVRW), Bayreuth, 27 September 2005.
  • Discussant for four papers at the International Symposium “Argument and Persuasion in Ancient Chinese Texts.” Leuven, 9–11 June 2005 (invited).
  • “Mirror Discourses in the Argument Between the CCP and the Falun gong.” First Göran Malmqvist Symposion on Chinese Studies, Stockholm, Swedish Academy, 4 May 2005 (invited).
  • “Analytical Historical Commentaries: Gongyang-Guliang.” International Workshop: Chinese Texts and Commentaries in Historical and Comparative Perspective, Uppsala, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, 2–3 May 2005 (invited).
  • “Religionen in China früher und heute.” Foyer International of the University Göttingen, 25 January 2005 (invited).


  • “Konfuzianismus, Daoismus und Buddhismus und der Diskurs über die ‘Einheit der Drei Lehren’ in China und Europa.” Medizinische Gesellschaft für Qigong Yangsheng e.V., Bonn, 4 December 2004 (invited).
  • “Zwischen den Argumenten lesen. Zu zweifach gerichteten Verbindungsstücken zwischen Argumenten in frühen chinesischen Texten.” Own Panel: “Komposition als Konnotation: Figuren der Kunstprosa im vormodernen China” at the Deutscher Orientalistentag in Halle, 20–24 September 2004.
  • “Within the Tension of Freedom and Determination: The Gongyang zhuan’s Philosophical Hermeneutics.” International conference: Understanding and Interpretation in the Confucian Tradition (理解、詮釋與儒家傳統), Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy Academica Sinica (Zhongyang yanjiuyuan wenzhesuo), Taipei, 3 September 2004 (invited).
  • “The One Discourse that Pervades All. Concurrent Constructions of an Ideal Order in the Fight Between the CCP and the Falun gong.” Own Panel: “New Religious Movements in China” at the European Association of Chinese Studies (EACS), Heidelberg 26–29 August 2004.
  • “Zur Dynamik von Devianzkonstruktion und Ausbreitungsstrategien am Beispiel von Falun gong und Scientology.” Talk together with Andreas Grünschloss at the Fachgruppentagung der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft für Theologie, Fachgruppe Religionswissenschaft und Missionswissenschaft, "Mission und Moderne – Religiöse Ausbreitungsstrategien aus religionswissenschaftlicher und missionswissenschaftlicher Sicht", Göttingen, 20–22 February 2004 (invited).
  • “Einheit der ‘Drei Lehren’? Konfuzianismus, Daoismus und Buddhismus im traditionellen China.” Talk at the Museum of East Asian Art in Cologne, 15 January 2004 (invited).


  • “Zur Konstruktion religiöser Devianz am Beispiel von Scientology und Falun gong.” Inaugural address together with Andreas Grünschloss, Theological Faculty, University of Göttingen, 3 December 2003.
  • “Klassifikation und/oder Pluralismus im vormodernen China am Beispiel der sanjiao-Debatte.” Annual Conference of the German Association for Chinese Studies: Pluralismus. Vielfalt und Einheit in der chinesischen Kultur, Cologne, 14–16 November 2003.
  • “Das Christentum als Religion – eine religionswissenschaftliche Perspektive.” Talk at the lecture series (Ringvorlesung) of the Theological Faculty: Einführung in das Christentum, Göttingen, 22 October 2003 (invited).
  • “Dong Zhongshus (2. Jhd. v.Chr.) Auslegungsregeln zu den Frühlings- und Herbstannalen.” Interdisziplinary symposion: Kontext und Begründung von Regeln der Auslegung normativer Texte in Süd- und Ostasien, Freiburg, 9–11 October 2003 (invited).
  • “Die Drei Lehren (sanjiao) Chinas im Konflikt. Figuren und Strategien einer Debatte.” Annual Conference of the German Association of the History of Religions (Deutsche Vereinigung für Religionsgeschichte DVRG) in Erfurt, 28 September–3 October 2003.
  • “Examining the Absent in Early Chinese Texts.” International Warring States Conference (WSWG 17), Leiden, 17–18 September 2003 (invited).
  • “‘Im Anfang war das Dao.’ Die Bibel im Reich der Mitte.” Public lecture series (Ringvorlesung) of the Theological Faculty Göttingen: Die Bibel – Entstehung, Botschaft, Wirkung, Göttingen, 9 July 2003 (invited).
  • “Wenn ein Baum stark ist, wird er gefällt. Unsterblichkeitsvorstellungen im Taoismus.” 6. Göttinger Woche: Wissenschaft und Jugend, 30 June 2003 (invited).
  • “Ritual als Physiognomie. Frühe chinesische Ritentheorien zwischen Kosmologie und Kunst.” Talk at the Dpt. of Religious Studies and Philosophy of European Religions in Munich, 8 May 2003 (invited).
  • “Sind chinesische Religionen anders? Die Anwendbarkeit des Religionsbegriffs auf aussereuropäische Kulturen.” Talk at the Evangelisches Stift Göttingen, 13 January 2003 (invited).


  • “Was ist ‘chinesische Religion’? Definitionsprobleme im Westen und in China.” Talk at the East Asian Dpt. of the University of Cologne, 17 December 2002 (invited).
  • “Die eine unsagbare Intention. Merkmale der Konzeption und Auslegung von Intention im Übergang von divinatorischer Hermeneutik zu Textexegese im frühen China.” Interdisciplinary symposion: Text und Intention: Prinzipien der Exegese normativer Texte in Süd- und Ostasien, Freiburg, 3–6 October 2002 (invited).


  • “Anticipating historical heat. Early Chinese concepts of time quality.” International workshop: Measuring historical heat, Heidelberg, 3 November 2001 (invited).
  • “The past as a messianic vision: Historical thought and strategies of sacralization in the early Gongyang tradition.” International conference: Ideology and Historical Criticism, Wolfenbüttel, 4-6 October 2001 (invited).
  • “From Casuistic Exegesis to Discursive Guidelines. Early Han Chunqiu-Exegesis of Lu Jia (Guliang) and Dong Zhongshu (Gongyang).” Second ICAS (International Convention of Asian Studies) Conference, Berlin, 9–12 August 2001.
  • “Frühe chinesische Tagewählerei. Texte, Inhalte, Konzepte und Methoden.” Own Panel at the 28th Deutscher Orientalistentag, Bamberg, 26–30 March 2001.
  • “Der Richter und sein Denker. Historisches Urteil bei Konfuzius und Dong Zhongshu in der frühen Gongyang-Tradition.” 28th Deutscher Orientalistentag, Bamberg, 26–30 March 2001 (invited).


  • “Ritual Meaning of Textual Form: Evidence from Early Commentaries of the Historiographical and Ritual Traditions.” International conference: Text and Ritual in Early China, Princeton, 20–22 October 2000 (invited).
  • “Composition as grammar of a topological semantic flow. A comparison of the two ‘Zi yi’-versions from Guodian and the Liji.” Own Panel at the European Association of Chinese Studies (EACS), Turino, 30 August 2000.
  • “The quotation Rules of the Two Ziyi Versions (Liji and Guodian).” Guodian summer workshop, Chinese Studies, Münster, 14 July 2000 (invited).
  • “Introduction into the exegetical context of the Gongyang zhuan.” International workshop: Text and Commentary in Imperial China, Heidelberg, 15 June 2000 (workshop organised).
  • “Zhengchang xingshi yu yichang xingshi: Gongyangzhuan jieshixue de jiegou 正常形式與異常形式: 公羊傳解釋學的結構.” Toyo bunka kenkyusho, Institute of Oriental Culture, Tokyo University, 22 March 2000 (invited).
  • “Heavenly signs, ritual wisdom, and legal cases: the development of Chunqiu exegesis in the Gongyang tradition.” Harvard Yenching Institute, 13 March 2000 (invited).
  • “Talking Like Heaven: Deviation as the Language of the Sage.” Association of Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Conference, San Diego, 10 March 2000.


  • “Die Chunqiu-Exegese des Gongyang zhuan.” East Asian Dpt. Göttingen, 17 May 1999 (invited).


  • “Constructing Confucius: Analogies between the Lunyu and the Gongyang zhuan.” International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS), Leiden, 25–28 June 1998.
  • “Das System der Monatsanweisungen.” AG junger Chinawissenschaftler, Munich, 14 February 1998.


  • “Betrachtungen zu spezifischen Eigenarten des chinesischen Kommentars: Die exegetische Technik des Gongyang zhuan.” International workshop: Text und Kommentar, Heidelberg University, 17–18 October 1997.
  • “Die chinesische Griffbrettzither Guqin.” Talk at SAP, Heidelberg, 1997 (invited).


  • “Reading Through the Eyes of Confucius: Empathetic Readings of the Chunqiu in the Gongyang zhuan.” European Association of Chinese Studies (EACS) Conference, Barcelona, 4–7 September 1996.
  • “Chunqiu Gongyang zhuan de jieshixue 春秋公羊傳的解釋學 (The hermeneutics of the Chunqiu Gongyang zhuan).” International Conference on the Chunqiu and its Three Commentaries, Zibo, Shandong, China, 28 August -1 September 1996.
  • “Exegetische Techniken und deren Plausibilitätsgründe im Gongyang zhuan zum Chunqiu.” AG junger Chinawissenschaftler, Münster, 24 February 1996.


  • “Das Fremde in der eigenen Kultur: kommentarielle Annäherungen.” Deutscher Orientalistentag Leipzig, 28 September 1995.