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Confucius and Confucianism: The Essentials

ISBN: 978-1-4443-2360-3
280 pages
April 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
Confucius and Confucianism: The Essentials (1444323601) cover image
This comprehensive introduction explores the life and teachings of Confucius, and development of Confucian thought, from ancient times to the present today.

  • Demonstrates the wisdom and enduring relevance of Confucius’s teachings – drawing parallels between our 21st century society and that of China 2,500 years ago, where government corruption, along with social, economic, and technical changes, led thinkers to examine human nature and society
  • Draws on the latest research and incorporates interpretations of Confucius and his works by Chinese and Western scholars throughout the centuries
  • Explores how Confucius's followers expanded and reinterpreted his ideas after his death, and how this process has continued throughout Chinese history
  • Seamlessly links Confucius with our modern age, revealing how his teachings have  become the basis of East Asian culture and influenced the West
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List of Illustrations.

Preface: Why Confucius?

Book Notes.

Chronology.

1 Confucius’ World and His Life.

Confucius’ World: Looking Back to a Long, Unifi ed Civilization.

The Zhou Dynasty.

Ancestors and Spirits.

Heaven and the “Choice of Heaven”.

The Decline of the Zhou Dynasty and the Rise of the Warring States.

The Life of Confucius.

Sources.

Versions of the Texts.

Hagiography, the Pious Stories of Confucius’ Life.

Scholarly Versions of Confucius’ Life.

2 Confucius’ Teachings I: The Foundation of a Good Person.

Filial Piety.

Dutifulness or Loyalty.

Honesty and Sincerity.

Rightness and Knowledge.

Courage.

Understanding, Sympathy, Compassion.

Humanity.

Ritual.

The Gentleman.

3 Confucius’ Teachings II: The Foundation of a Good Society and Other Topics.

Setting Words Right.

For the Benefi t of the People.

Laws.

Models.

Education without Distinction.

Women.

The Gods, the Spirits of the Dead, and the Afterlife.

The Choice of Heaven and Heaven.

Fate.

The Way.

4 Terms, and Mozi.

Problems with “Schools” and “-isms”.

Problems with the Term “Confucianism”.

Mozi and Mohism.

5 Opponents.

Daoism.

The Strategists.

The Logicians.

Legalism.

Others.

6 Mencius.

Human Nature is Good.

Human Nature and Heaven.

Government.

Mencius on Confucian Themes.

Summary.

7 Xunzi.

Human Nature is Evil.

Morality is Artifi cial.

Ritual.

Government.

Language.

Heaven.

Xunzi on Confucian Themes.

Summary.

8 Confucians, “Confucian” Texts, and the Qin Dynasty.

Other Confucian Groups.

Confucius and “Confucian” Texts.

The First Emperor and the Reunifi cation of China.

9 The Han Dynasty, 206 BCE–220 CE.

History and Development.

The Classics in the Han.

The New Text School.

The Yin-Yang Theory.

Qi.

The Five Phases.

The Status of Confucius.

The Old Text School.

Other Confucian Texts in the Han Dynasty.

Summary.

10 From the Han to the Tang Dynasties, 220–907 CE.

Buddhism and Its Development.

Confucianism from the Han to the Tang Dynasties.

Civil Service Examinations and the Imperial Civil Service.

The Civil Service.

The Status of Confucius in Imperial China.

Confucian Temples.

Confucius as a God.

Confucianism outside of China: Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.

Summary.

11 Neo-Confucianism.

The Northern and Southern Song Dynasties.

Neo-Confucianism.

Issues in Neo-Confucianism.

Early Neo-Confucian Thinkers.

Zhu Xi (1130–1200) and Li Xue, the School of Principle.

The School of Mind/Heart.

Wang Yangming.

Summary.

12 Confucianism and Modernity.

The Qing Dynasty, 1644–1911.

Kang Youwei (1858–1927) and the Reform of Confucianism.

The May 4th Movement.

The Guomindang and the New Life Movement.

The Communist Party and the Communist Government.

New Confucians.

Confucianism as the Foundation of Chinese Culture.

Substance/Application.

The Confucian Core.

Confucianism as Religion.

Asian Values.

Governments: Taiwan, Singapore, and China.

Critics of New Confucianism.

New Confucianism’s Impact and Importance.

Summary.

13 Issues.

What is Confucianism?

Democracy.

The Emphasis on the Economy.

Ritual.

Filial Piety.

Education.

Self-cultivation.

Does Confucianism Include Women? Can Confucianism Include Women?

Critics.

Is Confucianism a Religion? A Philosophy? Something Else?

Summary.

Notes.

Glossary of Names and Terms.

Suggestions for Further Reading.

Bibliography.

Index.

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Lee Dian Rainey is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. She has taught Chinese philosophy for over 20 years, and has published widely in the field.
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  • A comprehensive introduction to the life, teachings, and development of Confucian thought from 550 BCE through to the present day
  • Demonstrates the wisdom and enduring relevance of Confucius’s teachings – drawing parallels between our present day society and that of China 2,500 years ago, where distrust in the government, and social, economic, and technical upheavals were creating unrest
  • Draws on the latest research and incorporates interpretations of Confucius and his works by Chinese and Western scholars throughout the centuries
  • Explores how Confucius's followers expanded and reinterpreted his ideas after his death, and how this process has continued throughout Chinese history
  • Seamlessly links Confucius with our modern age, revealing how his teachings have managed to transcend Eastern philosophy and have influenced many of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment
See More

“Thoughtful and even humorous, this is a promising choice for use in a university class but should also prove a helpful resource for experts.”  (Religious Studies Review, 1 December 2012)

Confucius and Confucianism: The Essentials is an excellent, well-written, and accessible introduction to the Confucian tradition, eminently suitable for both an undergraduate class and a general readership.”  (Journal of Chinese Religions, 2012)

"Anyone who comes out of a course based on this book will have not simply an informed sense of Confucius and his legacy but also a critical sense of where that legacy is open to dispute or re-evaluation."
T. H. Barrett, University of London

"This is an excellent survey of the history of Confucianism, incorporating philosophical issues and development and the received histories of key figures in the tradition."
Jennifer L Oldstone-Moore, Wittenberg University

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