Confucius

Confucius (kənfyōō´shəs), Chinese K'ung Ch'iu or K'ung Fu-tzu, Pinyin Kong Fuzi, c.551–479? BC, Chinese sage. Positive evidence concerning the life of Confucius is scanty; modern scholars base their accounts largely on the Analects, a collection of sayings and short dialogues apparently collected by his disciples, and discard most of the later legends. Confucius was born in the feudal state of Lu, in modern Shandong prov. Distressed by the constant warfare between the Chinese states and by the venality and tyranny of the rulers, he urged a system of morality and statecraft that would preserve peace and provide people with stable and just government. He gathered about him a number of disciples, some occupying high positions, although Confucius himself was at most granted an insignificant sinecure, possibly because of his extremely outspoken manner toward his superiors. From about his 55th to his 65th year he journeyed to several neighboring states, but he was never able to induce any ruler to grant him high office so that he might introduce his reforms. Later tradition depicts Confucius as a man who made special study of ancient books, in an effort to restore an older social order. It is said that he was a minister of state and the author, editor, or compiler of the Wu Ching [five classics] (see Chinese literature). His supposed doctrines are embodied in Confucianism.

For bibliography, see Confucianism.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Confucius & Confucianism: The Essentials
Lee Dian Rainey.
Wiley-Blackwell, 2010
Confucius
Shigeki Kaizuka; Geoffrey Bownas.
George Allen & Unwin, 1956
Confucius
Spence, Jonathan D.
The Wilson Quarterly, Vol. 17, No. 4, Autumn 1993
The Original Analects: Sayings of Confucius and His Successors
E. Bruce Brooks; A. Taeko Brooks.
Columbia University Press, 1998
Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy
Philip J. Ivanhoe; Bryan W. Van Norden.
Seven Bridges Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. One "Kongzi (Confucius): The Analects"
An Introduction to Confucianism
Xinzhong Yao.
Cambridge University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Confucianism, Confucius and Confucian Classics"
Confucius, Rawls, and the Sense of Justice
Erin M. Cline.
Fordham University Press, 2013
The Rivers of Paradise: Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, and Muhammad as Religious Founders
David Noel Freedman; Michael J. McClymond.
William B. Eerdmans, 2001
Confucian Moral Self Cultivation
Philip J. Ivanhoe.
Hackett Publishing, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Kongzi ('Confucius')"
Learning from Asian Philosophy
Joel J. Kupperman.
Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Confucius and the Problem of Naturalness," Chap. 10 "Confucius, Mencius, Hume, and Kant on Reason and Choice," and Chap. 17 "Confucius and the Nature of Religious Ethics"
Transformations of the Confucian Way
John H. Berthrong.
Westview Press, 1998
Coming out of the Middle Ages: Comparative Reflections on China and the West
Wei-Cheng Chu; Ruth Hayhoe; Ruth Hayhoe.
M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1990
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Confucius of History and the History of Confucius"
Disputers of the Tao: Philosophical Argument in Ancient China
A. C. Graham.
Open Court, 1989
Librarian’s tip: "A Conservative Reaction: Confucius" begins on p. 9
Fifty Eastern Thinkers
Diané Collinson; Kathryn Plant; Robert Wilkinson.
Routledge, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Confucius (Kongfuzi, K'ung Fu-Tzu) 551-479 BCE" begins on p. 217
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