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Lives of Confucius: Civilization's Greatest Sage Through the Agesby Michael Nylan
Synopses & Reviews
Confucius—“Master Kung” (551–479 BCE), the Chinese thinker and social philosopher—originated teachings that have deeply influenced Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese thought and life over many centuries. His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, justice, and appropriateness in social relationships. In time these values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Taoism and even Buddhism. His thoughts later developed into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism.
Today there remain many mysteries about the actual circumstances of his life, and the development of his influence has yet to be encapsulated for the general reader. But with Michael Nylan and Thomas Wilson’s Lives of Confucius, many mysteries are laid to rest about his historical life, and fascinating details emerge about how his mythic stature evolved over time, right up to the present day.
Book News Annotation:
In a biography that fills in gaps in the life of Confucius/Kongzi (551-479 BC), Nylan (early Chinese history, U. of California at Berkeley) and Wilson (history, Hamilton College, Clinton, New York) trace the life and evolution of thought of the Middle Way philosopher from his inauspicious beginnings to veneration as a sage whose ideas on personal and government morality are still influential. They also discuss his critics and followers, and include a summary chart of American perceptions of the Chinese from the 19th century to the present. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The profound influence of Confucius across the ages--his teachings of personal and government morality, justice, and appropriateness in social relationships--is the subject of this unique history.
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