The World of Thought in Ancient China / Edition 1

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Overview


The center of this prodigious work of scholarship is a fresh examination of the range of Chinese culture thought during the formative period of Chinese culture. Benjamin Schwartz looks at the surviving texts of this period with a particular focus on the range of diversity to be found in them. While emphasizing the problematic and complex nature of this thought he also considers views which stress the unity of Chinese culture.

Attention is accorded to pre-Confucian texts, to the evolution of early Confucianism, to Mo-Tzu, to the "Taoists" the legalists, the Ying-Yang school, the "five classics" as well as to intellectual issues which cut across the conventional classification of schools. The main focus is on the high cultural texts, but Mr. Schwartz also explores the question of the relationship of these texts to the vast realm of popular culture.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement

The book is a lucid, accurate, agreeably written and comprehensive survey, based on a long familiarity with the whole of the literature of Chinese schools of thought down to the second century BC, and its great strength is its range of comparisons with other traditions. Chinese thought has never before been contemplated with quite this breadth of vision...Schwartz's book deserves to stand for some time to come as the most authoritative account of ancient Chinese thought for the Westerner interested in the history of ideas.
— A. C. Graham

New York Times Book Review

With this immensely learned book, Mr.Schwartz has challenged those who reflect only on Western historical experience or 'primitive' societies to take the world of thought in ancient China into account...The great contribution of this book is to engage ancient Chinese thought in a dialogue with late 20th-century intellectual, moral and political concerns.
— Willard J. Peterson

Christian Science Monitor

[This book] is a fascinating, readable, and even inspiring study of Confucius and the great sages who followed him...A powerful exposition of the great ancient Chinese thinkers...Schwartz's vigilance to the particular fragile core of meaning embedded in the ancient texts makes him an acute commentator...Reading this book will keep the reader from simply appropriating 'China'—or the media's image of it—into his own scheme of values.
— Thomas D'Evelyn

Journal of Asian Studies

[Schwartz's] arguments are impressive, both in breadth and depth. From a lifetime of learning he offers insights into ancient Chinese ideas and Greek, modern European, and contemporary American thought as well...This work is essential reading for every scholar of intellectual history.
— Henry Rosemont, Jr.

Times Literary Supplement - A. C. Graham
The book is a lucid, accurate, agreeably written and comprehensive survey, based on a long familiarity with the whole of the literature of Chinese schools of thought down to the second century BC, and its great strength is its range of comparisons with other traditions. Chinese thought has never before been contemplated with quite this breadth of vision...Schwartz's book deserves to stand for some time to come as the most authoritative account of ancient Chinese thought for the Westerner interested in the history of ideas.
New York Times Book Review - Willard J. Peterson
With this immensely learned book, Mr.Schwartz has challenged those who reflect only on Western historical experience or 'primitive' societies to take the world of thought in ancient China into account...The great contribution of this book is to engage ancient Chinese thought in a dialogue with late 20th-century intellectual, moral and political concerns.
Christian Science Monitor - Thomas D'evelyn
[This book] is a fascinating, readable, and even inspiring study of Confucius and the great sages who followed him...A powerful exposition of the great ancient Chinese thinkers...Schwartz's vigilance to the particular fragile core of meaning embedded in the ancient texts makes him an acute commentator...Reading this book will keep the reader from simply appropriating 'China'--or the media's image of it--into his own scheme of values.
Journal of Asian Studies - Henry Rosemont
[Schwartz's] arguments are impressive, both in breadth and depth. From a lifetime of learning he offers insights into ancient Chinese ideas and Greek, modern European, and contemporary American thought as well...This work is essential reading for every scholar of intellectual history.
Journal of Asian Studies
[Schwartz's] arguments are impressive, both in breadth and depth. From a lifetime of learning he offers insights into ancient Chinese ideas and Greek, modern European, and contemporary American thought as well...This work is essential reading for every scholar of intellectual history.
— Henry Rosemont, Jr.
New York Times Book Review
With this immensely learned book, Mr.Schwartz has challenged those who reflect only on Western historical experience or 'primitive' societies to take the world of thought in ancient China into account...The great contribution of this book is to engage ancient Chinese thought in a dialogue with late 20th-century intellectual, moral and political concerns.
— Willard J. Peterson
Times Literary Supplement
The book is a lucid, accurate, agreeably written and comprehensive survey, based on a long familiarity with the whole of the literature of Chinese schools of thought down to the second century BC, and its great strength is its range of comparisons with other traditions. Chinese thought has never before been contemplated with quite this breadth of vision...Schwartz's book deserves to stand for some time to come as the most authoritative account of ancient Chinese thought for the Westerner interested in the history of ideas.
— A. C. Graham
Christian Science Monitor
[This book] is a fascinating, readable, and even inspiring study of Confucius and the great sages who followed him...A powerful exposition of the great ancient Chinese thinkers...Schwartz's vigilance to the particular fragile core of meaning embedded in the ancient texts makes him an acute commentator...Reading this book will keep the reader from simply appropriating 'China'--or the media's image of it--into his own scheme of values.
— Thomas D'Evelyn
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674961913
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/1989
  • Series: Belknap Press Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 504
  • Sales rank: 1,398,331
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Benjamin I. Schwartz was Leroy B. Williams Professor of History and Political Science, Emeritus, Harvard University.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Early Cultural Orientations: Issues and Speculations

2. Early Chou Thought: Continuity and Breakthrough

3. Confucius: The Vision of the Analects

4. Mo-tzu's Challenge

5. The Emergence of a Common Discourse: Some Key Terms

6. The Ways of Taoism

7. The Defense of the Confucian Faith: Mencius and Hsün-tzu

8. Legalism: The Behavioral Science

9. Correlative Cosmology: The "School of Yin and Yang"

10. The Five Classics

Postscript

Notes

Selected Bibliography

Glossary

Index

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