Confucius, <i>The Analects</i>: The Path of the Sage—Selections Annotated & Explained

The foremost American researcher of Confucius as a religious and spiritual figure explains the Analects' universal wisdom for our own time, guiding us on the "path of the sage" or "Way of Heaven"—a journey of reason, peace and understanding.

Annotation by Rodney L. Taylor, PhD
Translation by James Legge
Revised by Rodney L.Taylor, PhD

5½ x 8½, 192 pp | 978-1-59473-306-2

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The wisdom of Confucius, China's greatest teacher and sage, can guide each of us in our own time.

Twenty-six centuries after their origination, the principles laid down in the Analects of Confucius still act as the foundation of Chinese philosophy, ethics, society and government, and play a formative role in the development of many Eastern philosophies. In this intriguing look at the ethical and spiritual meaning of the Analects, Rodney L. Taylor, the foremost American researcher of Confucius as a religious and spiritual figure, explains their profound and universal wisdom for our own time. He shows how Confucius advocates learning and self-cultivation to follow the “path of the sage” or “Way of Heaven”—a journey that promises to promote reason, peace and understanding.

Alongside an updated version of the classic translation by Sinologist James Legge, Taylor provides informative and accessible commentary that illuminates the meaning behind selected passages from the Analects and their insights on character development, respect and reverence, and the nature of learning, goodness, truthfulness and righteousness.

“Follow[s] in the footsteps of the best of the East Asian Confucian tradition in presenting a judicious, readable and creative commentary on the words of the master in order to introduce Confucian philosophy and spirituality to an expanded audience.”

Dr. John H. Berthrong, associate professor of comparative theology, Boston University School of Theology

“A lucid, heartfelt and succinct presentation ... with special attention to the depth of [Confucian] teachings as a Way of life dedicated to learning the Way of Heaven.... Deftly brings to light layers of meaning and moral wisdom that address the human condition, both in the time of Confucius and today.”

Judith Berling, professor of Chinese and comparative religions, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley; past president, American Academy of Religion

“Rigorous in scholarship, and yet accessible to the general public. [Taylor's] exposition on the single thread, in particular, will greatly illuminate the unifying core of Confucian teachings for the reader.”

Derek Lin, translator and annotator, Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained

“Provide[s] us with valuable reflections on the significance of the Analects for our times.... A unique contribution [that] will become its own Way of Learning.”

Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University; co-editor with Tu Weiming of Confucian Spirituality

“The most thoroughly researched and absorbing work of its kind on Confucian and indeed classical Chinese religious, educational, social and ethical thought in general known to me in my more than forty years of college-level teaching in religious studies.”

Frederick M. Denny, professor emeritus of religious studies, University of Colorado at Boulder

“A timely and welcome addition to the growing corpus of books that highlight the relevance of Confucianism in the contemporary world.... Unabashedly personal ... with an emphasis on [Confucianism's] religious dimensions.”

Richard Shek, professor of humanities and religious studies, California State University, Sacramento

“Becoming morally mature while continuing to learn—what could be more relevant in the world today? Rodney Taylor's [volume] provides an inspiring guide to this goal in a new reading of the Chinese classic that also takes into account its profound practical relevance. A must read!”

Livia Kohn, Boston University; translator and annotator, Chuang-tzu: The Tao of Perfect Happiness—Selections Annotated & Explained

Introduction ix

1. Opening the Analects: The Pursuit of Learning 1
2. Confucius' Humanity 5
3. The Noble Person 21
4. On Filial Piety 49
5. Ritual and Music 59
6. The Nature of Learning 69
7. Truthfulness and Righteousness 81
8. The Teaching of Goodness 89
9. The Single Thread 105
10. Reflections on Tradition 111
11. The Way of Heaven 119
12. Closing the Analects: Learning for the Self 133

Acknowledgments 137
Notes 139
Suggestions for Further Reading 141
Index of Passages 143