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Way as dao; way as halakha: Confucianism, Judaism, and way metaphors



SPECIALTOPIC: THEaSM IN THE HEBREW AND CONFUCIANT~a~rrloNS Galia Patt-Shamir* I. Introduction In both Confucianism and Judaism, the ultimate standard for perfection is presented in terms of a continual process. Both traditions have their central metaphor for the ultimate standard as way, either as dan ~ or as balakha ,~,~. Interestingly, the similarity of uses remains despite the substantial difference between the notions: bala/eba has an i m p o ~ n t implication of legality (and is usually put in juxtaposition with aggaclab , ~ - the rabbinic legends), while da0 has an aU-encompassing nature and is the human life rather than a divine decree. This similnrity in itself seems striking when one recalls the cultural and geographic distance between Confucianism and Judaism. However, when relating the different concepts of way to other ideas regarding the ultimate in each of the traditions, significant differences appear. The different sources of legitimacy for the way, either God (Elobim ta'~l~t~) the creator or hnrn~nity co-creating with heaven and earth, bring about opposing visions. More specifically, the different visions deviate from each other enormously regarding the understanding of the directionality of the basic motivations in the human world, either the necessary separation



DaoSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 1, 2005

DOI: 10.1007/BF02857008

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