Thomas A. Wilson, Michael Nylan, and He Jianye
Huan hua zhi long : liang qian nian Zhongguo li shi bian qian zhong de Kongzi. Chinese translation of Michael Nylan and Thomas A. Wilson, Lives of Confucius: Civilization's Greatest Sage Through the Ages (New York: Doubleday, 2010).
Thomas A. Wilson and Michael Nylan
Confucius—“Master Kung” (551–479 BCE), the Chinese thinker and social philosopher—originated teachings that have deeply influenced Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese thought and life over many centuries. His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, justice, and appropriateness in social relationships. In time these values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Taoism and even Buddhism. His thoughts later developed into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism.
Today there remain many mysteries about the actual circumstances of his life, and the development of his influence has yet to be encapsulated for the general reader. But with Michael Nylan and Thomas Wilson’s Lives of Confucius, many mysteries are laid to rest about his historical life, and fascinating details emerge about how his mythic stature evolved over time, right up to the present day.
Thomas A. Wilson
The sacred landscape of imperial China was dotted with Buddhist monasteries, Daoist temples, shrines to local deities, and the altars of the mandarinate. Prominent among the official shrines were the temples in every capital throughout the empire devoted to the veneration of Confucius. Twice a year members of the educated elite and officials in each area gathered to offer sacrifices to Confucius, his disciples, and the major scholars of the Confucian tradition.
The worship of Confucius is one of the least understood aspects of Confucianism, even though the temple and the cult were highly visible signs of Confucianism’s existence in imperial China. To many modern observers of traditional China, the temple cult is difficult to reconcile with the image of Confucianism as an ethical, humanistic, rational philosophy. The nine essays in this book are an attempt to recover the meaning and significance of the religious side of Confucianism. Among other subjects, the authors analyze the social, cultural, and political meaning attached to the cult; its history; the legends, images, and rituals associated with the worship of Confucius; the power of the descendants of Confucius, the main temple in the birthplace of Confucius; and the contemporary fate of temples to Confucius.
Thomas A. Wilson
Beginning in the Southern Sung, one Confucian sect gradually came to dominate literati culture and, by the Ming dynasty, was canonized as state orthodoxy. This book is a historical and textual critique of the process by which claims to exclusive possession of the truth came to serve power.