From the Publisher
"Confucius even now remains the mind of China, and always returns again, whatever the regime. But he can be difficult for Westerners to apprehend, because our cultures and his are so different. It is one of the strengths of Annping Chin's The Authentic Confucius that she clears away most of the difficulties, and allows us to approach an understanding of the sage's life, work, and sayings. Like Socrates and Jesus, Confucius relied upon the spoken word, with all its nuances of enigmatic wisdom. Annping Chin helps us to recover those nuances, as no one else has." Harold Bloom
"The life of Confucius, China's 'Sage for Ten-Thousand Generations,' began like all others in a particular time and place. Although Annping Chin is clearly impressed with the timeless quality of Confucius' teaching, she strives to show us Confucius as he traveled through his life. As she says of his teaching, so too might we say of this book: 'it mirrors a life unfolding, and it is natural.' This may not be 'the' authentic Confucius forever and always, but it is an authentic one of his time and place, and for ours." Edward L. Shaughnessy, professor of Early Chinese Studies, The University of Chicago
"The teachings of Confucius have survived through periods of political upheaval and brutal suppression for some twenty-five hundred years. Gleaned from her years of study of fragments of ancient texts, Annping Chin has sketched a highly readable and thought-provoking portrait of the life and times of Confucius." Henry A. Kissinger
"Meticulously researched and finely judged, Annping Chin's The Authentic Confucius is a perfect companion to the Analects and a wonderful introduction to early Chinese Confucianism." Sarah Allan, 1107 professor of Asian Studies, Dartmouth College
"This is a passionate biography of a man who, as Annping Chin puts it, strove 'to keep the idea of the moral within human reach.' It is a fascinating attempt to recover the actual historical figure who did so much to shape one of the world's great civilizations; but it is also a gripping portrait of that rare person who both faced up to 'human form and fate' and lovingly embraced what he saw." Jonathan Lear, Committee on Social Thought, The University of Chicago
Confucius set out to save the world from degeneration through politics and teaching. As a "common gentleman" whose rank in society depended exclusively on what he did with his life, how he spent his time, and how he applied his skills and knowledge, Confucius became known as the most notable and talented gentleman. Highly regarded scholar Chin (history, Yale) gives us an expertly researched and eloquently written account of Confucius's life, ideas, and work, turning, as Confucius and his responsible associates did, to old documents for information. Along with an international team of archaeologists, philologists, historians, and philosophers interested in the revival of traditional Chinese scholarship, Chin has been studying bamboo-slip manuscripts in China since 1998. One set, dated to 300 B.C.E., represents the earliest manuscripts we have of Confucius either discussing an even earlier text or conferring with his adherents about moral development or government strategy. This may not be the only book about Confucius, but Chin's simple, elegant writing style, combined with her erudition, distinguishes it from the rest. Highly recommended.
Jennifer H. Pollock