Abstract

By highlighting two genres of literature found within the Inner Chapters of the Zhuāngzǐ and the Four Gospels of the New Testament, I compare creatively and meaningfully these two classical collections of texts from Daoist and Chrstian traditions in a manner never previously pursued. In those two genres are “instruction plura-logues” and “hard sayings”: the former involves a master/teacher interacting with at least two others (disciples, questioners, seekers, or opponents), and so always involves a conflict in values and worldviews; the second involve poignant sayings that point toward an alternative expression of lived wisdom and the worldview advocated by the master/teacher. Many illustrations of both genres within these two classical collections of texts are presented and analyzed. What is learned by this study is that instruction plura-logues and hard sayings challenge interlocutors to consider alternatives to mundane wisdom, provoking transformative choices for wiser spiritual sources of renewal.

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