China Beat Archive


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2011 in The China Beat


Copyright 2011. Used by permission.


PK: The key difference in our views lies in the way we define the term “continuum”. This can be seen in the following two statements: a) “The term continuum causes us to believe that there is something like a continuity between earthly and underworld justice, or at least that both were included in a coherent framework”; b) “Continuum leads one to expect not mere coexistence but a real coherence or a continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct”. If I understand you correctly, you seem to be arguing in favour of identity transcending differentiation, while I am stressing continuity amidst difference. I think my definition better reflects the term’s etymology, including the Latincontinuus. The Latin term can mean both “continuous and uninterrupted” and “following one after another, successive, continuous”, including days, consulships, battles, itineraries, labours. In my book, I use the term to describe a continuous spectrum of judicial beliefs and practices, linked by the overarching “ideology of justice” but differing in time, agent, and intent. To me, the fact that the adjective describes very different consulships, battles, itineraries, and even days as successively linked (continuous) would seem to support my usage.