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The Analects of Confucius: A Philosophical Translation (Classics of Ancient China) Paperback – September 7, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0345434074 ISBN-10: 0345434072 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Classics of Ancient China
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (September 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345434072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345434074
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There are more translations of Confucius' Analects than you can shake a stick at, but until now none have plumbed the depths of Confucius' thinking with such a keen sensitivity to philosophical and linguistic underpinnings. Following up on his groundbreaking work with David Hall in Thinking Through Confucius, Roger Ames has teamed up with Henry Rosemont to put theory into practice, portraying Confucius in light of his communitarian leanings. In a translation that comes off as surprisingly relaxed and colloquial, gone are the adherence to strict rules of propriety and righteous moralizing. Confucius has long been the victim of a certain unwitting Christianization, having been interpreted through the lens of Western philosophical assumptions. Ames and Rosemont scale away these assumptions, revealing a flexible and subtle thinker whose ideas of how to live well in a harmonious community have much to offer a fragmented society tied to reductive atomism and the exclusive exaltation of the individual. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Chinese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

This is a nicely presented book, containing over 325 pages.
Pork Chop
Read this book for the great introduction it is to one of the world's great and largest philosophical (some would say religious) systems.
Robert Jacoby
This book questions many basic presumptions about Confucius' philosophy and deserves thoughtful consideration.
Jeremy Tensed

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Tensed on November 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
The only translation that is a pleasure to read for both its language and its profundity. Ames and Rosemont bury the stodgy old Confucius and introduce us to a vibrant thinker--the kind of intellectual magnet that attracted hundreds of followers in his own time and millions throughout history. Although their choice of translation for key Confucian terms may seem unorthodox, consider where our 'orthodox' translations have come from. They have come from translators with a knowledge of the Classical Chinese language but all of the built in presuppositions of Western (Christian and essentialistic) thinking (including, surprisingly, D.C. Lau). Since the standard translations (Legge, Waley, Lau), there have been great strides in understanding the philosophy of Confucius' time. Ames and Rosemont are not only experts in the language but are at the cutting edge of ancient Chinese philosophy. This book questions many basic presumptions about Confucius' philosophy and deserves thoughtful consideration.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This particular translation of the Analects is wonderful. The author begins the book by introducing some terms that are difficult to translate or have multiple implications. In the text itself, these words are frequently left untranslated so that the reader can fully appreciate the diversity of the meaning. The english text is presented side by side with the classical chinese text, allowing the linguistically inclined one to compare the two. A great book alltogether.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Thomas on July 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
This translation questions the traditional translations of Confucius' ideas. "Ren" usually translated as "humanity" here becomes "authoritative conduct" which is closer to Confucius' original meaning of the word, which was "noble conduct." Another unique feature of the translation is that the key Chinese characters are highlighted as they appear, directly in the English translation. This is probably not the first choice for someone unfamiliar with the Analects because it is somewhat technical, but it's a must if you are looking for a deeper understanding of the classic.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Huggy on August 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
Daomonkey's reviews exhibit detailed knowledge in Chinese philosophy, and I agree with many of his criticisms. But he has made a small error in his review of this book, which is important to note.

This book is NOT by Hall and Ames, and thus does not show the proclivity towards 'pragmatization' that runs throughout their stimulating work. Rather, it is by Ames and ROSEMONT, a philosopher who has published extensively on topics in Chinese philosophy. You will find little by way of "speculative acrobatics and obsolete wheedlings" here.

The unconventional nature of the translation may seem awkward at first but repays careful reading; Ames and Rosemont provide good arguments in the introduction for adopting them.

(Also, the translation by Slingerland he mentions, published by Hackett, is indeed a fine translation with much running commentary.)
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35 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Hans Geuns-Meyer on June 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book consists of an introduction, a translation, and an appendix. The introduction gives an historical and textual background, and outlines the philosophical approach of the authors. The appendix has some further remarks about a new version of the Analects found in a Han tomb in 1974, and more ruminations about Chinese language and philosophy.

When I bought this book I was a bit skeptical about the subtitle "A Philosophical Translation" -- What kind of hybrid monster would that be? What would made a translation "philosophical"? Is this like saying: a "deep" translation or an "insightful" translation? And what does this choice of subtitle mean for other translations on the market? Are they now, by contrast, all "unphilosophical"? But... I decided to give the writers the benefit of the doubt, and see what they had to say.

Unfortunately, after reading the philosophical introduction, I came away sorely disappointed and almost disgusted by the intellectual laziness and sloppiness of the writers. Instead of two people trying to think through the real issues that Confucius addresses, issues that are interesting *either* because they are completely out of date (merely of historical interest) *or* because they still may be relevant for people today, whatever their cultural background, I find two muddle-headed academicians spouting nonsense about the "basically substantive and essentialistic" nature of the English language (sometimes generalized to all Indo-European languages) versus the "more eventful", "relational" nature of the Chinese language. If you just squint your eyes a bit, and pretend to sort of vaguely understand what that might mean, and consider the evidence for this view, you find mostly smoke, pipe dreams, the half-digested remains of past metaphysical discussions.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By isala on August 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Confucius has been much maligned since he is perceived as wanting a static rigid society. This translation attempts to show that that is not really true. The translators and editors explain in the foreword that the Chinese language is dynamic, and therefore Confucius sayings does not reflect a static society, but rather a society in a constant flux. It does come out that Confucius will not tolerate revolution, but he does accept evolution. He is not preaching a static society, but rather that all development should build on the previous.

While he stresses the importance of ritual, he also hammers in that ritual must be combined with warmth, caring, and even humour. A more gentle, less rigid, Confucius appears in this translation.

Lastly, I think Confucianism relates to Daoism as Shaolin relates to t'ai ch'i (or Bruce Lee to Yang Cheng Fu): on is concerned with the external, and one with the internal. It is just a matter of which way you chose. Ones you have achieved mastery, there is no difference.
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The Analects of Confucius: A Philosophical Translation (Classics of Ancient China)
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