Original Analects Supplement
LY 18

Passages: 5 7

Prefatory Note. With or without its interpolations, this is a fragmentary chapter; part of Tswei Shu's evidence for the formal decline in the segment LY 16-20 (of those five chapters, three are conspicuously shorter or more irregular than the standard chapter in the rest of the book). The centerpiece of the LY 18 fragment is 18:5-7, a brilliantly made argument for serving in office in difficult times. The opponents in this case are obviously the Jwangdz people. Compare the argument made in 17:4/6 against an attack from within the Confucian camp (the opposition in that case being symbolized by the refractory disciple Dz-lu). The Analects is an embattled text throughout the Tswei Shu layer.

18:5. No reader has failed to see that this piece and the next two echo aspects of the typical Jwangdz scene. But tales of Jwang Jou in the Jwangdz associate him with the reign of Lyang Hwei-wang (died 0320), and thus with the middle or late 04c. The dilemma for the usual theory of the Analects is what to make of these Jwangdzianisms in a work attributed to Confucius (died 0479). A common solution is that they are stray material which has somehow wandered into the Analects text. The idea that Warring States texts are "open" and thus available to such outside additions has many adherents, but it is supported by no evidence of fact or historical probability. (For a summary of the WS intellectual milieu in its textual aspect, which emphasizes the importance of intergroup clashes such as this one, see now Brooks Dynamics). Even the otherwise astute Waley suggests that 18:5-7 are hostile interpolations. We cannot regard this as a serious proposal, and we have done our best to ridicule it in the Reflections, page 183 (or see the Reflections below). The point is that 18:5 in particular, which is almost identical for most of its length with JZ 4:7, nevertheless ends oppositely, with the Dauist spokesman (not, as in the Jwangdz original, Confucius) fleeing from the scene, unable to meet the arguments of his adversary. No competent reader should miss the import of this difference.

18:7. This concludes the trio of Jwangdz refutation pieces. The power of the sarcastic conclusion should not be skipped over; together with the last line of 18:6, it is one of the high points of Analects rhetoric. Confucius fully acknowledges the force of the Dauists' complaints about the times. That the times are not right is not something that the Confucians have been somehow unaware of. But unlike the cowardly sniveling Dauists, the Confucians show their public spirit, their sense of social honor, in doing something to put the times right.

We may add that the Analects appeal, to sacrifice personal notions of personal purity in order to render urgent assistance to a world in need, is exactly the same appeal that is made and rejected in the Mencius (MC 4A17). The relation between these passages is complex, and will be discussed in our forthcoming work on the Mencius.

Reflections. It may be convenient to repeat here paragraph 4 of the chapter Reflections (referred to above), which runs as follows:

Waley (Analects 21) sees 18:5-7 as from "a world hostile to Confucius." We can follow him, up to a point. We can see the Dauists sneaking up to Confucian headquarters in the dead of night. We can see them jimmying open a window. We can see them taking the Analects manuscript out of its drawer in the office desk. We can see them writing anti-Confucian anecdotes into it. We can hear them chortling as they vanish into the night. What we can't see is the scene next morning, where Dz-shvn comes in, opens the book, finds the Dauist stories, scratches his head, mumbles, Well, yeah, I guess I must have, and calls the students in to memorize them. We envision another reaction.


This Supplement is Copyright © 2001- by E Bruce and A Taeko Brooks

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