The Analects

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Re: The Analects

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:10 pm

I've now read and made notes on the first 6 Books.

Somethings that stand out:

1) I'd never heard Heaven referred to as Tian before. The commentary suggests it was a phrase more prevaliant in the Zhou dynasty. Was Heaven still referred to in this way commonly by the Han Dynasty?

2) This is probably running before I can walk but there are a lot of references in the commentary to different schools of thoughts. It seems one needs a basic understanding of these to understand the nuances of the text. Would anyone mind giving me a basic guide to that or link me to a site that gives a good instruction. Also for bonus points what schools were popular in the Han Dynasty and in what regions?

3) Being a good ruler meant living righteously and then Confucius believed, others would emulate you.

4) Lots of it chimes with Christianity in my opinion. Especially 4.6, 5.11 and 5.27 (5.12 goes without saying :lol: )
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Re: The Analects

Unread postby laojim » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:59 pm

The writings of Confucius are peppered with reference to the great teacher fussing around about how his mat is oriented and oblique references to doing the right things, without ever really saying what that might be. That would, of course, have been clear to a contemporary, but that is one of the reasons that Confucius has been long regarded as a conservative thinker and Confucianism as an ultra conservative philosophy. In that light it is interesting to note that the recent movie about Confucius shows him as a progressive and innovative fellow in harmony with the common people. In other words it is intended to rehabilitate Confucius. The first part of his progressive thinking is shown in his well recorded opposition to human sacrifice, a practice which was common at the time in the form of burying important people with their servants and retainers. This progressive attitude is laudable, but hardly makes him an avant garde reformer.
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Re: The Analects

Unread postby XuanPin » Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:40 am

I found this to be a particularly helpful pair of essays introducing Confucius.
http://www.academia.edu/20043761/Confuc ... e_Analects

Beyond that, I think Arthur Waley's translation is unsurpassed.
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Re: The Analects

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:08 am

Thanks for sharing the articles, I'll check them out! What is it that you like about Waley's translation?
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Re: The Analects

Unread postby XuanPin » Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:19 am

Waley is a fine literary translator: his rendering of the Tale of Genji remains the most readable and accessible after a century. His translation of the Analects makes a clear distinction between the core chapters that go back to Kong Tze and the later accretions. He has useful introductory material on key concepts.

I think the bast thing about Waley is that he's not an academic. His knowledge of the language and the texts is as good as anyone's, but unlike an academic, he is primarily interested in communicating the material to intelligent general readers—not just his colleagues. His literary ability is very high, though he isn't a poet—his Book of Songs (Classic of Poetry, Shih Jing) translation is accurate but not a lot of fun to read. For prose and philosophy he's still in my opinion the best in English. His abridgement of Journey to the West and his Dao De Jing ("The Way and its Power") are well worth getting.
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