Classical Chinese Texts
The Analects is the school text of the School of Confucius in Lu. Its core consists of a set of sixteen (16) of Confucius, remembered after his death (0479) and written down as a group, probably by Dz-gung, at the time the disciples were gathered for his funeral. This core was continually expanded, as new sayings were needed to address new situations as time went on. The first sayings were then gathered in 0479, and the text continued to grow until the extinction of Lu by Chu in 0249. The text was then hidden in the wall of the Confucian residence (which at that time was adjacent to the palace of the Ruler of Lu. It was recovered in Han from the memory of an aged student of the school, a copy later compared with the original, when in came to light in the destruction of the Confucian residence to make a new palace for the Imperial child who had been enfiefed with the territory of Lu.
The last saying to go back to an actual memory of Confucius is the one recorded in LY 9:6, with a variant provided by the elderly disciple Chin Lau (9:7, c0405). Up to this point, the end of the 05c, the school had been led by a succession of disciples. Then the school came under the headship of members of the Kung family, who shifted the school emphasis from the ethical to the ritual. Their first production was not another Analects chapter but a sort of ritual behavior guide for the aspiring courtier (LY 10, c0380). An almost equally important transition came at the end of the 04c, when the Confucians not only renounced meditation (originally practiced by Yen Hwei; it had been tainted by the rise of the meditation school whose text was the Dau/Dv Jing), as announced in *15:31 (c0301), but also renounced war (15:1-2, c0305). This latter move lost them influence at the Lu court. The school first consoled itself with the thought that private virtue was just as much a contribution as virtue in office (LY 1, c0294, unfortunately the first part of the Analects that students read), and the school continued in a subdued mode, chiefly as a bystander and commentator on other events (such as the Mencius/Sywndz human nature dispute), and as a sparring partner with the Micians over the three-year mourning (both in LY 17, c0260). When Lu was conquered and annexed by Chu, the last Confucian school head (Dz-shvn; see the table below) sealed up the school text in the wall of the school building, and himself escaped to Wei, where he can a second career in the service of that state.
Dates given in the chart below are approximate end dates; the material of the chapter was often accumulated earlier, with final editing (and formal pairing) at the date given. The pairing pattern is often obscured by retrospective interpolations, which were made to homogenize the text against the differences of doctrine or practice that occur over time.
Chapter Dates and Compilers
4 (c0479) Dz-gung 5 (c0470) Dz-you 6 (c0460) Youdz 7 (c0450) Dzvngdz 8 (c0436) Dzvng Ywaen 9 (c0405) Dzvng Ywaen 10 (c0380) Dz-sz 11 (c0360) Dz-shang 3 (c0342) Dz-jya 12 (c0326) Dz-jing 13 (c0322) Dz-jing 2 (c0317) Dz-jing 14 (c0310) Dz-jing 15 (c0305) Dz-jing 1 (c0294) Dz-gau 16 (c0285) Dz-gau 17 (c0270) Dz-shvn 18 (c0262) Dz-shvn 19 (c0253) Dz-shvn 20 (c0249) Dz-shvn
- The input from the Gwandz and also from the Mwodz in the statecraft chapters LY 12-13 (and to a lesser extent in LY 2) is probably due to Mencius, at the time a senior member but not the head of the Analects school; the nonritual sayings in those chapters are indistinguishable from the line taken by Mencius when speaking on his own behalf to the Kings of Ngwei and Chi from 0320. Mencius had been in Chi some years earlier, where he had also contacted the Chi version of Lu meditation, whose text is the Nei Ye (Gwandz 49).
- The coming of textualization, symbolized by Dz-gung's writing a saying down on his sash in LY 15:6 (c0305), is contemporary with the idea that a body of wisdom should be logically consistent (*15:3, c0301; a similar remark was also interpolated in the core chapter as *4:15 (also c0301), in order to give the new principle a proper emphasis and an authoritative origin). A third member of this intellectual-history cluster is the tendency of the schools, at the end of the 04c, to define themselves against rival schools. The Analects abandonment of meditation is a clear example. We suggest that philosophy in the modern sense arose in China at this moment, when it was first asked of a body of lore that it be coherent as a system of principles.
- E Bruce Brooks and A Taeko Brooks: The Original Analects (Columbia 1998). The definitive study and translation.
- Supplement to The Original Analects. Adds several notes and updates from work since 1998.
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