Is Dao or Torah translatable?

Is Dao or Torah translatable?

– Translations as a way of inter-traditional dialogue between Chinese and Jewish traditions

An international conference

December 14-15, 2016

Department of East Asian Studies, Tel Aviv University

Confucius Institute, Tel Aviv University

Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban)

December 14, 2016


Sandwich breakfast

(Jaglom Auditorium, Senate Building)


Opening Session

(Jaglom Auditorium, Senate Building)

Chair: Ping Zhang (Tel Aviv University)

Opening remarks: Aviad Kleinberg (Director, School of Historical Studies, Tel Aviv University), Galia Patt-Shamir (Chair, Department of East Asian Studies, Tel Aviv University), Asaf Goldschmidt (Director, Confucius Institute. Tel Aviv Univesrity).

Confucian Logic vs. Holy Language:

a Keynote dialogue between Chungying Cheng (University of Hawaii at Manoa) and Joseph Agassi (Tel Aviv University)


Coffee break


1st session: Translation and philosophy

(Jaglom Auditorium, Senate Building)

Chair: Asaf Goldschmidt (Tel Aviv University)

Huilin Yang (Renmin University): “Principle” and “Application” from Stoicism to Christianized Confucians: an “Intra-lingual” and “Inter-lingual” Reading on Epictetus.

Galia Patt-Shamir (Tel Aviv University): Translating the Ineffable: On the Ability and Inability to Translate a Form of Life.

Andrew Plaks (Princeton University). Divergence of expression, convergence of meaning: benxing and yetzer ha'ra in Confucian and Jewish moral philosophy.


Lunch break


2nd session: Literature in translation

(Gilman 220)

Chair: Ping Zhang (Tel Aviv University)

Xiaowei Fu (Sichuan International Studies University): Confusing Judaism and Christianity in Contemporary Chinese Letters.

Yang Wu (Renmin University): Who is ‘I’ -- the problem of interpretation of courtship songs in the Book of Songs?

Zhiqing Zhong (Chinese Academy of Social Science): Creating the Image of another Side of Israel through Literature.

Amos Oz (Israeli writer): a response.


Coffee Break

16:00 – 17:45

3rd session: Images and laws: Taoism, Buddhism, and Judaism

(Gilman 220)

Chair: Galia Patt-Shamir (Tel Aviv University)

Gil Raz (Dartmouth College): Forms and Symbols 形象 in Daoist discourse: From the ineffable Dao to images of Lord Lao.

Yinan Liu (Peking University): Literary Assistance and Political Support: The Scholar-officials’ Participation in Xuanzang’s Buddhist Translation Forum.

Zhenshuai Jiang (Shandong University): The Translatable Law Texts: The Case of the Translation of the Covenant Code in the Chinese Union Version.

Xin Xu (Nanjing University): Chinese Translation of Major Jewish Classic Terminology Should Be Standardized

December 15, 2016


Sandwich breakfast

(Gilman 133)


4th session: Judaism in translation

(Gilman 133)

Chair: Zhenhua Meng (Nanjing University)

Shaye Cohen (Harvard University): Difficulties and Solutions in Translating and Annotating the Mishnah.

Ping Zhang (Tel Aviv University): Towards a universal text: the Mishnah in Chinese.

Ronald Kiener (Trinity College): Lost in Translation: The Improbable Task of Rendering Esoteric Jewish Theology into English.

Xiuyuan Dong (Shandong University): Torah, Sharī‘a and Law: Some Remarks on the Chinese Translation of Maimonides’ The Guide of the Perplexed.


Coffee break


5th session: Terminology: translating science and civilization

(Gilman 133)

Chair: Huilin Yang (Renmin University)

Asaf Goldschmidt (Tel Aviv University): Translating Chinese Medical Terms into Western Languages.

Ori Sela (Tel Aviv University): Science, History, and Philosophy: Translating the Modern in Early Twentieth Century China.

Or Rosenboim (Cambridge University): Global intellectual history and the challenge of translation.


Lunch break


6th session: The Bible in Chinese

(Gilman 133)

Chair: Zhiqing Zhong (Chinese Academy of Social Science)

Irene Eber (Hebrew University in Jerusalem): Translation, Reception, and Appropriation of Old Testament Ideas in 19th Century China.

Zhenhua Meng (Nanjing University): The Knowledge and Reception of the Chinese Translations of the Bible—Evidence from the Christians of Nanjing City.

Nicolai Winther-Nielsen (Fjellhaug International University College Denmark): The TaNaKh Training Translators in China: How Bible Online Learner can be adapted to language learning and translation tasks.

Lihi Yariv-Laor (Hebrew University in Jerusalem): Modes of Thinking and Modes of Translating – the Bible in Chinese.


Coffee Break

16:00 – 17:15

1st research student session: Music and poetry

(Gilman 133)

Chair: Yang Wu (Renmin University)

Avital Rom (Cambridge University): Translating yue - Understanding the concept of music and related concepts in early Chinese writings.

Chen Dekel (Columbia University): "Translating traditions" Milestones in Hebrew translation of Chinese poetry.

Noa Hegesh (University of Pennsylvania). Sounds like water: how western perception and translation of musical terminology may effect our approach to musical thought in early China.

Jonathan Ken-tor (Tel Aviv University): The Contribution of the Confucian Ritual System to the Emergence of Spontaneous Order in the State – A View from Contemporary science


Coffee Break


2nd research student session: Confucianism, Taoism, and Judaism

(Gilman 133)

Chair: Ori Sela (Tel Aviv University)

Sharon Small (Peking University): An Exploration of Shenming 神明 in Early Daoist and Medical Texts—Translation and Interpretation.

Inbal Shamir (Shandong University): Some Heremenuitical Aspects of Filial Piety in Early Confucian and Jewish Scriptures.

Sharon Sanderovitch (University of California in Berkeley): Lost in Translation: Approximations of Omnipresence in Han Imperial Praise.

Roy Porat (Tel Aviv University): Extracting Zhuangzi form the Zhuangzi: the case of equanimity.