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Confucius [Paperback]

Meher McArthur
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: £9.99
Price: £7.44 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

29 Sep 2011

Scholar, philosopher and political sage, Confucius lived at a turbulent time in his country's history, the so-called 'Spring and Autumn Period' of the sixth century BC, during which China was wracked by warfare between rival feudal states. Against this backdrop he developed a system of social and political behaviour that he hoped could be used to create harmony and peace throughout the land.

The teachings of Confucius attracted a large number of pupils, but were largely ignored by the rulers of China's various kingdoms. As a result, he did not see his philosophical teachings applied during his lifetime. After his death, however, his teachings were kept alive by his followers, and within a few centuries, his philosophy (as outlined in The Analects, which record the words and acts of Confucius and his disciples) was adopted by China's rulers and became the foundation for Chinese government, education and social structure.

Beyond its profound influence on the culture and history of East Asia, Confucianism has also exerted a powerful fascination for western thinkers and philosophers.

Meher McArthur's accessible and thoughtful biography not only traces the outline of her subject's life, but also examines why Confucius and his teachings are still relevant today.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (29 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857381644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857381644
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 435,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'A fine and accessible account of a man whose philosophy has informed Chinese moral and social thought for over two thousand years' Frances Wood.

From the Inside Flap

Scholar, philosopher and political sage, Confucius lived in the so-called 'Spring and Autumn Period' of the sixth century BC, when China was wracked by warfare between rival feudal states. In response, he developed a system of social and political behaviour that he hoped would create harmony and peace throughout the land. His teachings attracted a large number of pupils, but were largely ignored by the rulers of China's various kingdoms. As a result, he did not see his philosophical teachings applied during his lifetime. After his death, however, his teachings were kept alive by his followers, and within a few centuries his philosophy was adopted by China's rulers. It became the foundation for Chinese government, education and social structure, and was later embraced by rulers of neighbouring Vietnam, Korea and Japan. Beyond its profound influence on the culture and history of East Asia, Confucianism has also exerted a powerful fascination for Western thinkers and philosophers. Meher McArthur's accessible and thoughtful biography not only traces the outline of her subject's life, but also examines why Confucius and his teachings are still relevant today.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By Fíal
Format:Hardcover
It may be really unfair-- I know the author doesn't read Chinese and is just intending to give a popular version of Confucius's life; but I stopped reading this book at page xii in the Preface when she writes: "Some of the best-known commentaries [on the Confucian Analects] were written by later disciples such as Mencius (in Chinese Mozi, c. 372-289 B.C.)...."

Mencius is Mengzi 孟子 (ca 372-289 BCE) in Chinese. Mozi (墨子, ca 470-391 BC) is a completely different person. Both of them are very famous. This is the equivalent of mixing up Aristotle and Plato. How could I trust anything else this author says?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enticing 19 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book i have only read just recently and i have found it to be most enticing it is a brilliant read and it tells more of the man himself then his Analects. Great read
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3.0 out of 5 stars it is okay 13 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A good introduction to the subject, the style of the writer is a little repetitive. An introduction to Confucius for the beginner
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating biography of a great eastern sage 3 July 2013
By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Confucius by Meher McArthur, Quercus, 2011, 254 ff

The author of this book is a specialist in Asian culture and she was formerly Curator of East Asian Art at the Pacific Asia Museum at Pasadena, California. Confucius, or Kung-fu tzu lived in the 6th century BCE and his teachings founded one of the great systems of practices and mystical beliefs in China. He was therefore roughly a contemporary of Lao-tzu, whose school established the philosophy of Taoism and created one of the great works of Asian literature, the Tao Te Ching. Confucius' other great spiritual near contemporary was Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, who was born in India.

Confucius was born into a humble background in what is now called the Shantung (or Shandong) province in Northeastern China, known today in the west for the quality of its silk. Although he travelled widely, Confucius is known for the system of moral philosophy that he taught to his disciples in his home state of Lu and which has been handed down to us today through the work known as `The Analects' or Lun Yu. The emphasis in his philosophy was on social responsibility - of parents to their children and equally of children to their parents if they became infirm - and on education in promoting these moral values.

No actual writings by Confucius have survived, but The Analects compiled by his students and successors reflect his philosophy; and McArthur deals with them in some detail throughout this book. There are chapters on Confucius' early life, his teachings, his followers, the years of wanderings, and the return to Lu.

Considering that details of the life of Confucius himself are scarce, this book gives an effective overview of the practices of the times in which he lived and of the people around him. At the end of the book there are several pages of Notes, a short Bibliography and a good Index.

Howard Jones is the author of The Tao of Holism
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