Confucius and Confucianism: The Essentials / Edition 1

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"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<BR><BR>"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<BR><BR>This lively and highly accessible introduction provides a comprehensive account of the life, teachings of Confucius, and the development of Confucian thought from ancient times to the present day.<BR><BR>The book skillfully lays out and explores the philosophical and religious questions at the heart of Confucius' thought. These are carefully placed in the context of Chinese society, demonstrating how Confucius responded to the conflicts and pressures of his time and offered solutions to society's problems. After Confucius' death, his followers expanded and reinterpreted his ideas - a process that continued throughout Chinese history and has developed into the "New Confucianism" of today. The book also considers the legacy of Confucian thought, tracing his influential ideas and their proponents through the centuries and up to the present day. We see how Confucian teachings have become the basis of East Asian culture.<BR><BR>This lucid and well-organized book will offer both students and general readers the background, information, and analysis they require to understand and appreciate the wisdom and timeless relevance of Confucian teachings.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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)

“Minor quibbles aside, 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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405188418
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/18/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Preface: Why Confucius?

Book Notes


1 Confucius' World and His Life 1

Confucius' World: Looking Back to a Long, Unified Civilization 2

The Zhou Dynasty 2

Ancestors and Spirits 4

Heaven and the "Choice of Heaven" 4

The Decline of the Zhou Dynasty and the Rise of the Warring States 5

The Life of Confucius 9

Sources 10

Versions of the Texts 10

Hagiography, the Pious Stories of Confucius' Life 11

Scholarly Versions of Confucius' Life 16

2 Confucius' Teachings I: The Foundation of a Good Person 23

Filial Piety 23

Dutifulness or Loyalty 29

Honesty and Sincerity 30

Rightness and Knowledge 31

Courage 31

Understanding, Sympathy, Compassion 32

Humanity 34

Ritual 35

The Gentleman 42

3 Confucius' Teachings II: The Foundation of a Good Society and Other Topics 45

Setting Words Right 46

For the Benefit of the People 48

Laws 49

Models 50

Education without Distinction 54

Women 55

The Gods, the Spirits of the Dead, and the Afterlife 57

The Choice of Heaven and Heaven 59

Fate 60

The Way 61

4 Terms, and Mozi 63

Problems with "Schools" and "-isms" 63

Problems with the Term "Confucianism" 65

Mozi and Mohism 69

5 Opponents 75

Daoism 75

The Strategists 80

The Logicians 82

Legalism 83

Others 85

6 Mencius 87

Human Nature is Good 89

Human Nature and Heaven 95

Government 96

Mencius on Confucian Themes 99

Summary 103

7 Xunzi 105

Human Nature is Evil 106

Morality is Artificial 109

Ritual 110

Government 111

Language 113

Heaven 114

Xunzi on Confucian Themes 116

Summary 118

8 Confucians, "Confucian" Texts, and the Qin Dynasty 119

Other Confucian Groups 119

Confucius and "Confucian" Texts 121

The First Emperor and the Reunification of China 128

9 The Han Dynasty, 206 BCE-220 CE 132

History and Development 132

The Classics in the Han 134

The New Text School 134

The Yin-Yang Theory 135

Qi 137

The Five Phases 139

The Status of Confucius 140

The Old Text School 140

Other Confucian Texts in the Han Dynasty 143

Summary 144

10 From the Han to the Tang Dynasties, 220-907 CE 146

Buddhism and Its Development 146

Confucianism from the Han to the Tang Dynasties 148

Civil Service Examinations and the Imperial Civil Service 148

The Civil Service 151

The Status of Confucius in Imperial China 151

Confucian Temples 152

Confucius as a God 154

Confucianism outside of China: Korea, Japan, and Vietnam 155

Summary 158

11 Neo-Confucianism 159

The Northern and Southern Song Dynasties 159

Neo-Confucianism 160

Issues in Neo-Confucianism 161

Early Neo-Confucian Thinkers 161

Zhu Xi (1130-1200) and Li Xue, the School of Principle 165

The School of Mind/Heart 171

Wang Yangming 172

Summary 174

12 Confucianism and Modernity 176

The Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911 176

Kang Youwei (1858-1927) and the Reform of Confucianism 177

The May 4th Movement 178

The Guomindang and the New Life Movement 180

The Communist Party and the Communist Government 180

New Confucians 181

Confucianism as the Foundation of Chinese Culture 183

Substance/Application 183

The Confucian Core 184

Confucianism as Religion 184

Asian Values 186

Governments: Taiwan, Singapore, and China 186

Critics of New Confucianism 189

New Confucianism's Impact and Importance 190

Summary 191

13 Issues 192

What is Confucianism? 192

Democracy 193

The Emphasis on the Economy 195

Ritual 196

Filial Piety 196

Education 197

Self-cultivation 198

Does Confucianism Include Women? Can Confucianism Include Women? 198

Critics 201

Is Confucianism a Religion? A Philosophy? Something Else? 202

Summary 204

Notes 207

Glossary of Names and Terms 241

Suggestions for Further Reading 249

Bibliography 253

Index 258

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