The Original Analects
Extracts from Comments by Readers
A fuller list of reviews of the Project's first major publication, The Original Analects, is available elsewhere. These extracts from those reviews, and from comments on some later publications, will give a sense of the professional reception of the Project's contribution.
- "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).
Fuller texts of some of these comments will be found under Reviews. Perhaps the most impressive testimonials to the strength of the Project's challenge to old views are from scholars who are attempting to defend those views. See the section containing our Responses.