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The Yijing: A Guide

Joseph A. Adler

Publication Date - 18 February 2022

ISBN: 9780190072469

224 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches

In Stock

This book provides an introduction for the general reader to this classic sacred text.


Despite its enduring popularity both in China and worldwide, the Yijing is often poorly understood. As a divinatory text, it has a devoted following in the western hemisphere, even as it represents a foundational text of both Confucianism and Daoism. A fascination with the Yijing has been evident among western scholars since the Enlightenment, as well as in notable modern literary and artistic figures. This book provides an introduction for the general reader to this classic sacred text. Joseph A. Adler explains its multi-layered structure, its origins, its history of interpretation from the early first millennium BCE up to the present day, its function of divination, its significance in the history of Chinese thought, and its modern transformations. He explores why the Yijing has been considered the most profound expression of traditional Chinese thought and what meaning it can have for contemporary readers.


  • "Demystifies" a text that has intrigued and attracted users and readers for two millennia
  • Provides an introduction to the Yijing for general readers, practitioners of divination, students, and scholars
  • Succinctly outlines the history of the Yijing's use and interpretation, while discussing its perennial popularity

About the Author(s)

Joseph A. Adler received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1984, with a dissertation on Zhu Xi's understanding of the Yijing. Most of his work has focused on the religious dimensions of Neo-Confucianism in China. Since his retirement from teaching at Kenyon College in 2014 he has continued to reside in Gambier, Ohio.


"An invaluable book for college classes related to Chinese studies, as well as comparative religion, anthropology, philosophy, and literature. Students of allied arts such as Chinese medicine and martial arts will appreciate Adler's treating theory and practice as being equally important; the Yijing is not just an academic pursuit." -- Contemplating the I Ching

"Taking a culturally comparative perspective, Adler does a superb job of demonstrating how "The Yijing represents the 'essence' of Chinese culture"." -- Choice

Table of Contents

    1. What is the Yijing?
    2. Layers of Change
    3. Yijing Divination
    4. The Early History of Yijing Interpretation
    5. Early Modern Views of the Yi
    6. The Yijing in Modern China and the West
    7. Why the Yijing?

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