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Confucius and the Analects: New Essays 1st Edition
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Editor excerpt: Imagine a person who has an influenence on his native tradition comparable to the combined influence of Jesus and Socrates on the Western tradition. Such a person was Confucius.
The similarities continue. Although all three were literate, perhaps all highly so, neither Confucius, nor Jesus, nor Socrates left behind any of his own writings. We know each only through the later writings of his admirers and detractors. In addition, each had a distinctive, charismatic, and complex personality. These three common features have made each the object of love, hatred, admiration, denigration, and debate for over two millennia.
Though Confucius is referred to in a variety of early Chinese texts, one of our most important sources of information about him is the Analects, a collection of sayings, brief discussions, and observations by and about Confucius, his disciples, and his contemporaries. Despite its great importance, prior to this volume there has never been a collection of secondary essays in English on the Analects. This volume is a collection of essays on the Analects, and on Confucius as seen (primarily) in that classic.
For the last two millennia, most scholars (whether Eastern or Western) have taken all twenty "books" of the Analects as an accurate record of what Confucius and his disciples have said. But scholarship in recent centuries has become more suspicious, investigating such issues as the historical composition of the text of the Analects and the sectarian motives behind various conceptions of Confucius.Read more ›
The other book reviewer asked rhetorically, "why does Confucius continute to be a source of fascination?" Confucius had a penetrating view of humanity. The book under review is a stimulating academic book, but it does not bring you in touch with the transforming power of Confucius's lessons. To appreciate the power of Confucian lessons to change lives I recommend the book by Robert Canright: "Achieve Lasting Happiness, Times Secrets to Transform Your Life."