A Reader's Companion to the Confucian Analects
Readers of the Analects of Confucius tend to approach the text asking what Confucius believed; what were the views that comprise the 'ism' appended to his name in English? A Reader's Companion to the Confucian Analects suggests a different approach: he basically taught his students not doctrines, but ways for each of them to find meaning and purpose in their lives, and how best to serve their society. Because his students were not alike, his instruction could not be uniform; hence the large number of incompatible readings that have been given to what he said. By providing brief essays, finding lists, background and comparative materials, and historical context, this Companion is not intended as another interpretation of the ancient text, but rather as an aid for contemporary students to develop their own interpretive reading of it, in the hope of thereby aiding them in the search for meaning, purpose, and service in their own lives - as seventy-three generations of Chinese have done.