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A man who was unfamiliar with the Analects was considered uneducated and not morally upright.

For nearly two thousand years, the Analects were the foundation of Chinese education. The rigorous imperial examinations, which thousands of young men took each year in the hopes of gaining employment as functionaries in the imperial government, required a thorough knowledge of the Analects and the teachings of Confucius.

The Analects did not cease to be the central part of Chinese education until the creation of the Chinese republic and the reforms of which abolished the imperial examinations.

Linguistic Aspects

After the Communist takeover, the Analects and Confucianism, fell into disfavour with the government, but its teachings are so ingrained in Chinese society that they continue to shape the morality and thought of millions of Chinese. The Analects of Confucius. Success depended on a thorough knowledge of the Analects. This article is about the Analects. Extracts from the Book of History. The gentleman is one who follows the Way and acts according to a system of morals and beliefs that are not common amongst other individuals.

The use of the term "gentleman" to describe the chun-tzu is itself problematic, as it can conjure images related to an aristocratic existence.


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  • Confucius (551—479 B.C.E.)!
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Some scholars see a similarity between the term and Nietzsche's concept of the Ubermensch , although there is dispute over this idea as well. A "superior man" is another suggested translation of the term. Taken in consideration with the other terms presented, a more complete concept of the chun-tzu emerges. Li , or ritual, is another core concept in the text.

Although the work does not go into great detail on what ritual traditions actually entailed, their importance is presented as paramount in the cultivation of te and an understanding of the Tao. The general principles of conduct comprise much of what this term encompasses.

Here, moral initiatives outweigh pure historical knowledge. In other words, practicing what we might call good manners and conducting oneself in a moral and fair affectation were considered characteristic of a gentleman. An appropriate attitude was also necessary: one of reverence and respect for one's elders and for rites and cultural norms that had been handed down by past generations.

Also important to consider in reading The Analects is the historical context in which Confucius lived and the events that surrounded his struggle to spread his doctrine. During the Sixth century, powerful warlords and families gained control of the state of Lu, gradually undermining and marginalizing the ducal house.

Consequently, the normal structure and function of government and social rituals were altered, much to the dismay of Confucius. Confucius sought a revival of the Chou traditions that once had been the norm in Lu.

He saw these ways as legitimately bettering society. The term li fits best in understanding the Chou traditions that Confucius so eagerly wished to reinstate. Eventually, Confucius and his disciples sought an audience with various leaders in Lu to help bring these traditions back. Confucius's plan failed, however, and he left Lu after becoming convinced that the sort of rulers he needed to enlist to his side were not present there. So began a long period of traveling around to neighboring states seeking out such a ruler.


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  7. Some of this period is captured in the text. Confucius eventually returned to Lu upon the invitation of Jan Ch'iu and lived out his days teaching young men about the Chou traditions. However, he was not able to set up a state based on the teachings he held so dear. For this reason it is difficult to summarize the gentleman easily, but considering the term in the light of the other ideas in the text is helpful.

    Books that Matter: The Analects of Confucius - A Bird's-Eye View - The Great Courses

    The gentleman is one who follows the Way and acts according to a system of morals and beliefs that are not common amongst other individuals. The use of the term "gentleman" to describe the chun-tzu is itself problematic, as it can conjure images related to an aristocratic existence.

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    Confucius (551—479 B.C.E.)

    Some scholars see a similarity between the term and Nietzsche's concept of the Ubermensch , although there is dispute over this idea as well. A "superior man" is another suggested translation of the term. Taken in consideration with the other terms presented, a more complete concept of the chun-tzu emerges. Li , or ritual, is another core concept in the text.

    Although the work does not go into great detail on what ritual traditions actually entailed, their importance is presented as paramount in the cultivation of te and an understanding of the Tao. The general principles of conduct comprise much of what this term encompasses.

    Confucian Analects - Wikisource, the free online library

    Here, moral initiatives outweigh pure historical knowledge. In other words, practicing what we might call good manners and conducting oneself in a moral and fair affectation were considered characteristic of a gentleman. An appropriate attitude was also necessary: one of reverence and respect for one's elders and for rites and cultural norms that had been handed down by past generations. Also important to consider in reading The Analects is the historical context in which Confucius lived and the events that surrounded his struggle to spread his doctrine.

    During the Sixth century, powerful warlords and families gained control of the state of Lu, gradually undermining and marginalizing the ducal house. Consequently, the normal structure and function of government and social rituals were altered, much to the dismay of Confucius. Confucius sought a revival of the Chou traditions that once had been the norm in Lu. He saw these ways as legitimately bettering society. The term li fits best in understanding the Chou traditions that Confucius so eagerly wished to reinstate.

    Eventually, Confucius and his disciples sought an audience with various leaders in Lu to help bring these traditions back. Confucius's plan failed, however, and he left Lu after becoming convinced that the sort of rulers he needed to enlist to his side were not present there. So began a long period of traveling around to neighboring states seeking out such a ruler. Some of this period is captured in the text.

    Confucius eventually returned to Lu upon the invitation of Jan Ch'iu and lived out his days teaching young men about the Chou traditions.