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A Concise Companion to Confucius

Paul R. Goldin (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-78383-2 August 2017 Wiley-Blackwell 408 Pages



This authoritative collection surveys the teachings of Confucius, and illustrates his importance throughout Chinese history in one focused and incisive volume.

A Concise Companion to Confucius offers a succinct introduction to one of East Asia’s most widely-revered historical figures, providing essential coverage of his legacy at a manageable length. The volume embraces Confucius as philosopher, teacher, politician, and sage, and curates a collection of key perspectives on his life and teachings from a team of distinguished scholars in philosophy, history, religious studies, and the history of art. Taken together, chapters encourage specialists to read across disciplinary boundaries, provide nuanced paths of introduction for students, and engage interested readers who want to expand their understanding of the great Chinese master.

Divided into four distinct sections, the Concise Companion depicts a coherent figure of Confucius by examining his diverse representations from antiquity through to the modern world. Readers are guided through the intellectual and cultural influences that helped shape the development of Confucian philosophy and its reception among late imperial literati in medieval China. Later essays consider Confucius’s engagement with topics such as warfare, women, and Western philosophy, which remain fruitful avenues of philosophical inquiry today. The collection concludes by exploring the significance of Confucian thought in East Asia’s contemporary landscape and the major intellectual movements which are reviving and rethinking his work for the twenty-first century.

An indispensable resource, A Concise Companion to Confucius blazes an authoritative trail through centuries of scholarship to offer exceptional insight into one of history’s earliest and most influential ancient philosophers.

A Concise Companion to Confucius:

  • Provides readers with a broad range of perspectives on the ancient philosopher
  • Traces the significance of Confucius throughout Chinese history—past, present, and future
  • Offers a unique, interdisciplinary overview of Confucianism
  • Curated by a team of distinguished scholars in philosophy, history, religious studies, and the history of art

A Concise Companion to Confucius is an ideal text for undergraduate and graduate courses on Confucius and Confucianism. It is also fascinating and informative reading for anyone interested in learning more about one of history’s most influential philosophers.

Notes on Contributors vii

Introduction: Confucius and Confucianism 1
Paul R. Goldin

Part I Representations of Confucius 13

1 Early Sources for Confucius 15
Michael Hunter

2 Confucius in Excavated Warring States Manuscripts 35
Scott Cook

3 The Unorthodox Master: The Serious and the Playful in Depictions of Confucius 52
Oliver Weingarten

4 Representations of Confucius in Apocrypha of the First Century ce 75
Zhao Lu

5 Visual Representations of Confucius 93
Julia K. Murray

Part II Confucian Ideas 131

6 Le in the Analects 133
Kwong-loi Shun

7 Women in the Analects 148
Anne Behnke Kinney

8 Confucius’ Elitism: The Concepts of junzi and xiaoren Revisited 164
Yuri Pines

9 Confucius and Filial Piety 185
Thomas Radice

10 The Gentleman’s Views on Warfare according to the Gongyang Commentary 208
Sarah A. Queen

11 Comparisons with Western Philosophy 229
Erin M. Cline

Part III The Legacy of Confucius in Imperial China 247

12 From Uncrowned King to the Sage of Profound Greatness: Confucius and the Analects in Early Medieval China 249
Alan K. L. Chan

13 The Reception of The Classic of Filial Piety from Medieval to Late Imperial China 268
Miaw-fen Lu

14 Kongzi as the Uncrowned King in some Qing Gongyang Exegeses 286
On-cho Ng

Part IV Confucius and New Confucianisms in Modern East Asia 305

15 Confucianism, Capitalism, and Shibusawa Eiichi’s The Analects and the Abacus 307
John A. Tucker

16 Confucius in the May Fourth Era 330
Q. Edward Wang

17 New Confucianism 352
Yong Huang

Index 375