Erin M. ClineJan 20, 2022
The Analects: A Guide
Oxford University Press 2021
Probably the most well-known Chinese philosopher around the world is Kongzi, typically called by his Latinized name, “Confucius.” And yet he did not write a single book. Rather, his students collected Kongzi’s life and teachings into the Analects, a text which has become immensely influential from ancient Confucian traditions up to the current day.
In The Analects: A Guide (Oxford University Press, 2021), Erin M. Cline argues that we should understand the Analects not only as a guide for living, or a philosophical set of sayings on ethics, but as a sacred text. She argues that this approach helps us reflect more critically about the categories like the sacred, and to appreciate the role of Kongzi as a personal exemplar in the text. Engaging closely with the text of the Analects as well as traditional commentaries and contemporary scholarship, Cline introduces the reader to the history of this text as well its major themes, such as ritual, filial piety, and the relationship between the ordinary and the sacred. By situating the Analects alongside works such as the Nichomachean Ethics and the Bible, her work investigates the text from both philosophical and religious perspectives, while reflecting on these categories themselves.
Malcolm Keating is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit philosophy of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras (and stuff).