Though studiously ignored by major journals in America and Europe, our Analects book did receive many reviews in other places, and was also discussed in the general media, including a cover story in the Atlantic Monthly. Here are some extracts from prepublication comments and postpublication reviews, starting with the ones on the back of the book.
- "Represents an exciting mode of investigation which will require most past scholarship on ancient Chinese philosophy to be redone" (David S Nivison, prepublication comment, 1997)
- "Inaugurates a new era. Scholars take note: the study of early China will never be the same" (Frederick W Mote, prepublication comment, 1997)
- "Places the study of early Chinese civilization on a new and sounder footing" (Dennis Grafflin, prepublication comment, 1997)
- "Epoch-making for the understanding of Chinese civilization" (Aihe Wang, prepublication comment, 1997)
- "Restores historical respectability to its subject, which has too long coasted on traditional assumptions" (David N Keightley, prepublication comment, 1997)
- The most exciting study of the Lun Yu yet published . . . its potential implications are monumental" (John Makeham, in China Review International, Spring 1999)
- "One of the most important Sinological works, not only of the twentieth century, but of all time . . . The Original Analects is but one part of a grand project that includes critical reappraisal of all "pre-Chin" texts" (Victor H Mair, in Sino-Platonic Papers #90, January 1999)
- "The most exciting text-based scholarship on Chinese antiquity . . . In the coming years it is hoped to give equally thorough treatment to other major texts . . . and the development of Warring States thought and society" (Lionel Jensen, in Kelly Boyd [ed], Encyclopedia of Historians and History Writing, 1999)
- " . . . a program of research of which this translation is only one small, but significant, piece" (T C Kline, review in Pacific Affairs, v72 #2, 1999)
- "A remarkable book . . . among the most significant and impressive works on Chinese thought ever published in English" (John B Henderson, in Journal of Asian Studies, v58 #3, August 1999)
- "A path-breaking book" (Whalen Lai, in Asian Philosophy, v9 #3, November 1999)
- "This new chronological sequence of sayings will have a deep impact on Confucius scholars, because the rich historical, cultural, and political contexts presented invite new research and scholarship . . . this revolutionary treatment of the Analects rightly deserves to be the impetus for discussion among students and specialists in Chinese thought, culture, and comparative religion" (Linda L Lam-Easton, in Religious Studies Review, v26 #1, January 2000)
- "Provides the basis for a moving and persuasive interpretation of Warring States society in general and the dynamic interactions among the Hundred Schools in particular" (Alice W Cheang, in The Review of Politics, v62 #2, Summer 2000)
- "A Taeko Brooks and E Bruce Brooks have stirred these waters mightily with the landmark publication of The Original Analects . . . This dovetails nicely with the Brooks' assertion that texts such as the [Mencius] are understood best as lively conversations and debates, even conflicts, between different disciple-groups" (Jeffrey L Richey, "State of the Field" report, AAS Newsletter, v64 #1, May 2001
- "Bruce Brooks and Taeko Brooks, fresh from their groundbreaking and controversial research on the authenticity and structure of the [Analects], propose an accretional model for the composition of the Mencius. Judging from the reception of The Original Analects, their effort here would undoubtedly bring further excitement to the field. . . . Besides explaining the apparent inconsistencies, the theory also provides an account of the ideas of the historical Mencius, which are closely allied with those found in Books 12 and 13 of the [Analects]. . . One of the most tantalizing suggestions is that whereas the "earlier" material seems to support a view of human nature that is endowed, the "later" material in Book 7 sees xing as an achievement concept. The implications of the Brookses' historical-critical reconstruction are far-reaching" (Alan K L Chan, in Mencius: Contexts and Interpretations, Hawaii 2002).There have also been many testimonials to the value of the Project for others' work, including its sponsoring of Conferences and other forums where productive scholarly interaction could take place. Here are some extracts from acknowledgements in books, or in first footnotes to articles:
- Eric Henry: "An earlier version of this study was presented to the Eighth Conference of the Warring States Working Group, held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst MA, April 26-27, 1997. I am grateful to many scholars, both within and without the Warring States Conference, who studied earlier versions of this paper and made valuable criticisms and suggestions." [HJAS v59 #1, June 1999]
- Paul R Goldin: "I have also benefited from discussions with other members of the Warring States Working Group and its two founding spirits, E Bruce and A Taeko Brooks." [Rituals of the Way, Open Court 1999]
- Victor H Mair: "Here I wish to pay tribute to the Warring States Project which is headquartered at the University of Massachusetts. Although underfunded, this pathbreaking academic endeavor led by Bruce Brooks is totally reshaping our understanding of the formative age of Chinese politics and culture." [On Transformationists, in Cadonna ed: India, Tibet, China, Olschki 1999]
- Jeffrey L Richey: "Altogether, these recent scholarly publications have transformed our ideas about seminal Chinese texts and their reception in both Asia and the West. As a result, the field of early Chinese textual, philosophical, historical, and religious studies has become a great deal more complicated - and hence much more interesting. Twenty-five years ago, or even ten years ago, these texts appeared to many to have been picked clean by scholars. This clearly is no longer the case." [State of the Field, AAS Newsletter, v46 #1, April 2000]
- Stephen Durrant: "The Warring States Working Group, managed by Bruce Brooks, should provide evidence of how lively and varied contemporary Sinology can be." [JAS v59 #3, August 2000, p705]
- Steve Farmer et al: "Important ongoing work in Sinology, much of it associated with the Warring States Project at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has helped refocus attention on processes of textual layering in the formative stages of Chinese thought. Hopefully, expanded studies of this type will help revive similar interests among Western classicists, who largely abandoned studies of this sort early in the twentieth century, and encourage new research in this direction by Mesoamericanists, who are just starting to confront the heavily layered textual traditions of literate New World societies. While research on stratified texts has been underway for 150 years, especially in Biblical and Vedic studies, philologists have rarely studied the obvious connections between textual layering and long-range developments in the history of thought. Much more attention, as epitomized by classic papers published in this journal by Bernhard Karlgren, [n71] and by recent work in the Warring States Project, has focused on the traditional goal of unraveling stratified texts to attempt to reconstruct the original historical conditions underlying individual layers." [BMFEA #72, 2000, p75]
- Moss Roberts: "In 1993, about the time I began thinking about how to approach this project, the Warring States Working Group was getting organized under the leadership of the research team of Professor E Bruce Brooks and A Taeko Brooks. These two scholars had been studying and analyzing the entire Warring States corpus for several decades. With the collaboration of Professor Alvin Cohen at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the Brookses summoned into being a new and exciting regional symposium on a wealth of topics relevant to the history of the Warring States texts. The group provided a much-needed focus for research work and free-wheeling discussion and has now become an important national and international forum. I was fortunate to have been present at the creation of the group and to have participated in many of its meetings and other activities, and my association with it was quite helpful to my research." [Tao Te Ching, California 2001]
- Victor H Mair: "Here I wish to pay tribute to Gu Jiegang (1893-1980) and his associates in the Gu shi bian (Verifying Ancient History) project, as well as to E Bruce Brooks and A Taeko Brooks of the Warring States Project for their exacting scholarship in critically reexamining the whole range of Warring States through Han texts." [JAOS v122 #4, 2002]
- Yuri Pines: "I benefited greatly from the Zuo zhuan-related discussions with members of the Warring States Working Group. Aside from those participants, whose studies are cited in my book, I would like to point out the important contributions of Terry Kleeman, Paul Goldin, Martin Kern, and of course, E Bruce Brooks, whose relentless criticism of my views helped me to modify and refine many of my arguments." [Foundations of Confucian Thought, Hawaii 2002]
- Michael Puett: "Many sections of this book were delivered as conference talks and invited lectures over the past several years, beginning in 1996: several meetings of the Warring States Working Group, organized by E Bruce Brooks at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst." [To Become A God, Harvard 2002]
- Victoria Tin-bor Hui: "Bruce Brooks scrutinized my Chapter Two in excruciating detail and answered innumerable questions on different aspects of ancient Chinese history. I am also indebted to members of the Warring States Working Group and the China/Greece Colloquium listservs for sharing their opinions. I benefited immensely, in particular, from Stephen Angle, Thomas Bartlett, Christopher Beckwith, Taeko Brooks, Chow Kai-wing, Steve Farmer, Paul Goldin, Andrew Huxley, Whalen Lai, Victor Mair, John Major, Yuri Pines, Moss Roberts, Steven Sage, David Schaberg, Raphael Sealey, and Adam Smith." [War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe, Cambridge 2005]
It has also happened that Project results, shared in conferences and conversations, have been appropriated without acknowledgement to the Project. It would be ungraceful to give details, but these cases too, in their own way, are witnesses to the Project's influence and importance.
In recent years, The Original Analects has acquired a further importance. It has come to represent the accretional view of the text, in contrast to (1) the naive view of the Analects as entirely composed of sayings of the Historical Confucius, and also to (2) a recent claim that the Analects was first compiled in the Han Dynasty, from miscellaneous sayings then current. Neither view will explain the evidence of philosophical development within the Analects, or its manifest engagement with other Warring States texts.
Finally, we note with pleasure that The Original Analects is being translated into Chinese, and will be published in China, thus returning the text to its homeland, and bringing our analysis of the text to the land of Tswei Shu (1740-1816) and other critical scholars, going back more than a thousand years, in whose tradition we have worked.
All materials on this site are Copyright © 1993 or subsequently by the Warring States Project or by individual authors