Peter Cheng on Laozi’s Dao De Jing

Date(s) - July 18, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Regent College (Room 100)

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Join us for a lunchtime lecture by Rev. Dr. Peter Cheng in Room 100 on July 18, 2022 from 12–1:15 pm.

Rev. Dr. Cheng will lecture offer a discourse on the free spirit of human nature in Laozi’s Dao De Jing (道德經) drawing on the concepts of freedom, benevolence, and responsibility in John Macquarrie’s theory of human nature.


While the concept of freedom is equally important in both Christian and Daoist traditions, few textual comparisons from modern theological perspectives have been conducted. To fill the existing research gap, this lecture aims to facilitate a comparative study between Laozi’s Dao De Jing and John Macquarrie’s theory of human nature, providing a Christian theological reinterpretation of Laozi’s concept of freedom. I will show that Laozi’s interests in Dao, Wu, You, “No-doing,” and “Xujing shoudou” demonstrate Laozi’s understanding of the free spirit of human nature, which agrees with the concepts of freedom, benevolence, and responsibility in John Macquarrie’s theory of human nature.

Firstly, I follow Fu Pei-Jung’s formulation of Dao De Jing and summarise the basic principles of the Dao De Jing. Secondly, I discuss Fu Pei-Jung’s, Leung In-Sing’s, Mo Yi-mo’s and Mou Zong-san’s interpretations of “Xujing shoudou.” Leung develops a “Daoist Daology” emphasising the creativity of Dao, while Mo’s “metaphysics of free spirit” and Mou’s “metaphysics of the realm” emphasize the authenticity of the human being in the status of “Xujing shoudou.” Finally, I argue that Macquarrie’s theology reformulates Laozi’s metaphysics of the realm in five aspects: freedom, creativity, directions, corporations and cosmology.


Rev. Dr. Peter Cheng is the chaplain of All Saints’ Cathedral in the Diocese of Western Kowloon in Hong Kong, where he participates in the church liturgy, supervises the visiting and caring team, as well as the young couples ministry of the Cathedral. In addition, Rev. Dr. Cheng is the Director of the Advanced Chinese Study Centre at Ming Hua Theological College, where he teaches doctrine, historical theology, moral theology and practical theology. He also lectures at other theological programmes at different institutions throughout Hong Kong.

As the director of Advanced Chinese Study Centre of Ming Hua Theological College, Rev. Dr. Cheng’s main focus is doing research and organizing public lectures on the dialogue between Christianity and Chinese Culture as well as Church history of China. Rev. Cheng is dedicated to contributing to the dialogue among Christianity, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism with scholars from various fields of Hong Kong.

Peter is married to Angel with two daughters, Sophia and Christina. He has family in Vancouver and is a frequent visitor to this beautiful city.

Paid parking available at Regent College and UBC

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