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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


An Image of Confucius In Ancient Classics

Vol. 32 No. 1   6/2002   


An Image of Confucius In Ancient Classics


Sherman Chu









Key words

Confucius, mandate of Heaven, Spring and Autumn, Prophet, Son of the Heaven, Sage


       In the modern era, Confucius is often viewed as a great instructor, a philosopher in ethics, and an enthusiastic secular humanist. These images of Confucius are extremely distinct from images of Confucius are extremely distinct from images in the ancientera, when he was seen as a perfect role model in terms of morals and virtues─that is, as a saint.

       As a matter of fact, his status as a saint was already recognized by some people of his time. However, did people living in Confucius’ time have other images in mind? Concerning this question, we learn from the past studies that modern people’s viewpoints this on Confucius are carrying on the tradition from the Sung Dynasty.

       The Analects of Confucius was esteemed as a saint’s words but the viewpoints of its editors and composers were seemingly neglected. The Analects of Confucius was collected and edited by Confucius’ disciples and his junior generation and it was said that The Spring and Autumn Annals was a masterpiece written by Confucius with an attention to set up regulations for emperors in later times. Nevertheless, were there any other attributes in The Spring and Autumn Annals for people in that age? Questions like this have, to date, hardly been discussed. In addition to The Spring and Autumn Annals, classics like The Book of Odes and The Book of Records were also said to be edited and written by Confucius. Although many researchers retain a conservative attitude towards what had been said, few researchers really dig further into these questions. This essay assumes that in constituting the existing images of Confucius, an important link has been missing. This missing part is what we would like to address in this essay.



Author: Sherman Chu
Genre: Article
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