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1.    Threads in the Analects

The Master said: “Shen! My way is one [thread] that strings (guan) them [all].” Zengzi said: “Yes.” The Master withdrew. The disciples asked: “What did he mean?” Zengzi answered: “The Master’s way is shu and zhong, nothing else.” (4.15)

What are shu and zhong? What is their relationship, and what is their role in the general ethical construction of the Analects? What similarities can we find between these terms and the more familiar versions of what is generally called “the golden rule” – “the notion that one’s own desires can serve, by analogy, as a guide for how one should treat others” (Ivanhoe, 1990)? These and other questions are commonly asked about this well-known passage in the Analects, and the answers suggested vary widely. Philip J. Ivanhoe’s 1990 review shows the degree to which some of these interpretations diverge: Fung Yu-lan, D. C. Lau, Fingarette, Nivison, and Ivanhoe himself offer readings that come to build quite different stories about the meaning of this fragment1. Their only common ground is that they all accept and develop Zengzi’s identification of the two “strands,” to use Ivanhoe’s formulation, of the Master’s “thread.” To put it otherwise, that they accept the disciple’s explanation of the Master’s enigmatic pronunciation.

I will not concern myself here with ethics: I do not intend to advance yet another interpretation of shu and zhong – that is why I also leave the terms untranslated. I would like to propose a new set of questions regarding this fragment. What is the context of this mediated exchange between the Master and his disciples? How can we explain Zengzi’s explanation? Finally, how can we understand the Master’s use of the “thread” (guan) figure in the exposition of his own dao?

Let us begin by pointing out the obvious. The fragment above is an exchange involving two speakers and an audience. At the beginning, the audience includes Zengzi and the other disciples, Zengzi standing out by the fact that, addressed directly, he shows his agreement to what the Master has to say. When Confucius leaves the scene, Zengzi assumes the Master’s position and, in response to the other disciples’ question, he offers his explanation as to the meaning of the Master’s words. This change of roles by means of which Zengzi gets to play the part of the Master and show his hermeneutic abilities is paralleled by the dramatic setting in which the exchange is placed. The Master makes a statement, specifically addressing one disciple. The other disciples are silent, a mute background to this solemn impartment of wisdom. Zengzi, the one directly spoken to, acknowledges his understanding of the Master’s pronunciation. The Master leaves the scene. The chorus-like voice of the other disciples asks for the explanation. Zengzi provides it as naturally as he can – “He meant this and that, nothing else”: understanding the Master, he seems to say, is really easy.

Such a dramatization of the setting may have been, of course, part of a textual strategy by which one of the many Confucian schools that appeared after the Master’s death intended “to bolster [its] … authority … by illustrating a disciple's exemplary ability to grasp the implication of the Master’s teachings,” as van Zoeren puts it (1991, 34). The point may perhaps be further refined by drawing attention to the way in which the substitution that articulates this exchange subtly echoes older models of authority and power. The highly formulaic and ritualistic bronze inscriptions, to take the earliest example available, frequently contain similar shifts, by means of which the roles typically occupied in the inscription by the king and the caster are fundamentally reverted in the caster’s address to his descendants. Schaberg (1996, 44-58), who analyzes the particularities of such transpositions, also points out the way in which these exchanges on bronze inscriptions contribute to building a sense of community and participation. This seems to be the case of our exchange as well: Zengzi not only asserts his hermeneutic superiority over all those present, but also firmly invites his listeners (or, for that matter, future readers) to accept his reading of the Master’s words. Our own membership in this post-verbal, strictly textual community is what prompts us to leave Zengzi’s interpretation unquestioned2: rather than focus on what Confucius may have wanted to say, we concentrate on what Zengzi tells us that the Master meant to say. Instead of attempting to see the one thread that strings them all, we seek to properly define and circumscribe shu and zhong. We, just like all the readers of the Analects, are thus strung on the two strands that make up Zengzi’s thread.

But the Master has more to say about his thread that strings everything together. The next passage is, just like the first one, built around a Master-disciple confrontation:

The Master said: “Ci! Do you take me to be one of those that learn a lot and remember it [all]?” Zigong replied: “Yes, I do. Or isn’t it so?” The Master said: “No, it isn’t. By means of one [thread] I string (guan) them [all].” (15.3)

Zigong’s indecision as to the nature of his Master’s learning is not probably meant to show faulty hermeneutic abilities3; it is more likely intended to serve as a background against which Confucius emphasizes the unique character of his method of learning, which he manifestly contrasts with the diversity of accumulated knowledge. Unlike what Zengzi had to say, here no multiple strands make up the thread by means of which Confucius links everything together.

The opposition between one and many is further emphasized by the occurrence of the figure of piercing and stringing that baffled so much the disciples in the first passage. In contrast to the simple accumulation of knowledge, which appears to be a purely external, non-committed way of understanding, the strategy adopted by Confucius is one of penetration into the inner workings of things, which thus become united and harmonized along the string of his dao. The Master’s ability to capture the common essence of things may thus be construed as a profound hermeneutic that transcends all distinction and unifies, as we shall see, all knowledge and action.

These are the only passages in the Analects in which we are informed about the Master’s way of stringing things. Zengzi’s interpretation gives the process an ethical turn and bifurcates it into shu and zhong4; the exchange with Zigong indicates an epistemological direction. What choice are we to make at this point? What pronunciation is more appropriate? Before interpreting interpretations or even before engaging on any hermeneutic activity, we should perhaps ask the obvious questions: why do we need an interpretation in the first place? Why should we make any choice?

The answer is provided, I believe, by Confucius himself and is visible in both fragments above: instead of telling us what his way is, the Master prefers to say what it does, i.e. that it “strings” together or “pierces” (guan). Confucius thus emphasizes the performative aspect of his dao, the pragmatic and efficient way of acting that confirms the validity of all knowledge. Defying all description by its very dynamics, the Master’s dao cannot be given a definition, but only illustrations, i.e., images, labels, figures. In this case, the Master’s dao, his way, or doctrine, or method, or technique, is said to “string” or “pierce”; but no dao can string anything unless we choose to see it as a string or a thread. To put it otherwise, unless we see it as a figure requiring interpretation.

Interpretations of this figure diverge and, as we have seen, what the Master’s dao really is is hard to say. What it does, however, is quite obvious: it brings things together, it puts them in a continuum, a coherent continuity in which every thing or aspect has its proper place. How we choose to read such a continuum, what aspect we choose to emphasize and put in a position of prominence, is a matter of hermeneutics: one reading takes us to the ethical dimension of the Master’s doctrine, as in Zengzi’s case; another makes us acquire new knowledge within the framework of the Master’s dao, as in Zigong’s case. Other interpretations are both possible and present in the Analects, as I will try to show. They build the same kind of coherent and unitary outlook, in textual (canonical) or aesthetic directions. I will explore some of these below.

2.    Reading the Poems

Zigong said: “ ‘Poor and yet not flattering, rich and yet not arrogant’: how about that?” The Master said: “It is acceptable. But it is not as good as, ‘Poor and yet delighting in the Way, rich and yet a lover of rites.’ ” Zigong said: “The Poems say: ‘As cut, as chiselled, as carved, as polished.’ Is this what it is about?” The Master said: “Ci! I can now start talking with you about the Poems. I will tell you about what has happened and you will know what is to come.” (1.15)

Apart from similar textual strategies, meant perhaps to promote the hermeneutic ability of a disciple, this passage bears little resemblance to the exchanges above. For instance, here it is not Confucius who initiates the discussion, but rather a disciple, Zigong, whose hesitations apparent at 15.3 are all but gone. All extra audience is noticeably absent; there is, accordingly, no change of roles in the manner we have seen in the first fragment discussed. Moreover, there is no particular figure that requires a disciple’s masterly interpretation (unless, of course, we consider the very presence of the quoted text as a macro-figure). We do have, however, elements that make this and other exchanges centred on texts from the Book of Poems particularly interesting.

Zigong, as already stated, is the one who starts the dialogue here by indirectly posing a question regarding an aphorism. He does not directly request teaching from the Master, but rather asks for an interpretation; as such, his question looks more like a statement than a request. By quoting the proverb, Zigong states his preoccupation with ethical issues and thus indicates his participation in the Confucian project of knowledge and action. Confucius, in turn, accepts the validity of Zigong’s statement and offers the requested interpretation, which is simultaneously a redefinition of the sense and meaning of the disciple’s quest. The lack of concrete action in the disciple’s example, as higlighted by the prominent presence of negative constructions, is redirected by the Master to actively positive ethical involvement. The correction is not fundamental, as shown by Confucius’s formal acceptance of the first course of action; the Master’s course is a refinement of what is basically the proper ethical orientation.

If the exchange had stopped at that, we would have had little to add to our previous discussion. But Zigong chooses to continue and extend or transfer, by invoking the Book of Poems, the ethical into the textual. The excerpt from Poem 55 is used to demonstrate not only an understanding of the Master’s correction, but also a peculiar hermeneutic competence. Zigong shows to Confucius not only that he can learn by making the right interpretation, but also that he has no difficulty in switching codes, accommodating the textual code to the situation at hand, and, of course, claiming the canon for his own. This must be why, at the end of this exchange, the Master asserts his satisfaction with the disciple’s achievement. Significantly, the master’s judgment is constructed in terms of what may be seen as temporal continuity: knowing the past, as encoded in the textual canon of the Poems, the disciple is deemed able to interpret the future. To put it otherwise, for he who can see, the “real” future follows the “textual” past in predictable and meaningful ways.5

The claim that events can be strung together by means of hermeneutic skills exerted over the textualized past is backed, in the Analects as well as in many other Confucian texts, by the appeal to canonical textuality.6 It is by mastering the Poems and the Rites that the disciples are frequently shown to acquire the ability to interpret and act in efficient ways.7 The closed text of the canon is projected continuously over what becomes the closed text of the world, in correspondences that cannot fail to be true and meaningful. Knowing the textual continuum is thus knowing the world, both past and present, and the canon, stringing texts together, also strings the world together.

It should be pointed out that Confucius seems to be willing to discuss the Poems not at the beginning of his teaching agenda, but rather after the disciples have demonstrated strong hermeneutic competences. At 1.15, for instance, as we have noticed, Zigong shows himself twice to be a good interpreter, first when he poses his aphoristic question and then when he gives a new turn to the whole discussion by quoting Poem 55. This, however, does not mean that the Master ranks textual competence higher than ethics; the relevant thing, once again, is not what the thread that strings everything together is like, but rather what it does.

Further proof that textuality functions as a unifying outlook on the world comes from another passage:

Zixia asked: “ ‘Lovely smiling dimples, Beautiful black and white eyes: Plain silk made into decorations.’ What does this mean?” The Master said: “The painting comes after the plain silk.” Zixia said: “Do rites come after?” The Master said: “Shang is [indeed] one who stimulates me! I can now start talking with him about the Poems.” (3.8)

In spite of some similarities, let us notice that Zixia’s strategy is not like Zigong’s. Zigong first requested Confucius to interpret an aphorism, thereby stating his understanding of the essential orientation of his Master’s programme. It was only later that he switched to the code of the Poems, demonstrating further hermeneutic abilities. Here, however, we only see Zixia inquiring over the basic meaning of the verses he quotes from Poem 57. He seems to request little more than guidance in what looks like a form of tropological reading, and Confucius responds by reading the text as a figure and translating it into non-figurative language.

To this, however, Zixia responds by a transposition (a trans-figuration) similar to Zigong’s move. As expected, the Master also makes the same comment as to Zixia’s readiness to begin training in the Poems. And yet, unlike Zigong, who is deemed able, because of his apt quotation of a Poem, to learn to project his textual knowledge on the world and thus string things on one thread, Zixia is merely said to “stimulate” his Master, perhaps to engage on a discussion about the Poems. As a stimulus, therefore, Zixia is more likely to initiate discussions and theorize hermeneutics, while Zigong, one who knows how to unite word and deed, seems better equipped for practical, applied hermeneutics. Not surprisingly, Zixia will become the head of his own Confucian school, while Zigong will choose to participate more actively in the complicated hermeneutics of the age of separation.8

Both Zixia and Zigong are capable, as obvious from these exchanges, to interpret interpretations and use the textual continuum for a coherent overwriting of the world. Other contexts, showing their other weaknesses or abilities, make it quite clear that such textual hermenutics are, just like the ethical training in the contexts quoted above, but one of the many possible ways by means of which things get strung together in the Confucian curriculum.

3.    Confucius’s smile and the aesthetic turn

Zilu, Zeng Xi, Ran Qiu, and Gong Xihua were seated in attendance. The Master said: “You think that I am older by one day than you. Do not think of me [like this]. You often say: ‘They do not know me [and my worth]!’ If someone were to know you, what would you do?” (11.26)

The many features9 that indicate this passage to be a late addition to the Analects should not prevent us, I believe, from reading it as highly relevant for the present discussion. The Master indirectly invites the disciples to speak freely – not bypass ritual or abandon property, but rather speak up their mind, their zhi, the “targets” or “aims” they set for their actions. Unlike the similar context in Analects 5.26 (on which this passage is said to be based), here Confucius is careful to remove all possible barriers between himself and his audience, insisting on a community of project and orientation: it is only a short distance in time that separates the disciples from himself, he says, not a difference of authority or position. A certain kind of discursive equality and commonality is thus suggested, and the Master definitely places himself on a single string with his disciples: his and their zhi, no matter how dissimilar they may seem, are expected to be of one common orientation and participate in the same project of  self-realization.

The Master’s request is no easy task for the disciples. What Confucius asks them to do is to attempt a hermeneutic of their own selves, an appreciation of their own position in the shared field of knowledge and action. In order to be meaningful and significant and, more importantly, legible from the ouside, the reading of the selves requested here must be the precise opposite of the decoding operations we have seen at work above. The disciples are expected to prove their ability to encode themselves, ethically (by a self-projection onto the field of ritual action), textually (by quoting a Poem perhaps?), figuratively (in a way probably not unlike Confucius’s celebrated pronouncement on Zigong at 5.4, where the disciple is said to be a vessel), etc. No direct formulation of the self is appropriate in such an exercise of personal projection, as such articulations cannot be taken as a basis for the interpretation of interpretations that Confucius wants to engage upon.

The first to answer, in order of seniority, is the impulsive Zilu. Just like in the context at 9.27, he does not understand what the Master wants from him and, what is worse, he does not know that the interpretation is required from him so that he himself may be interpreted. He says:

Zilu hastily answered: “A country of one thousand chariots, pressed between larger countries, invaded by [foreign] troops and armies, experiencing famine and poor crops — if I were to run it, I could, in three years’ time, make it[s people] brave and know their direction.” The Master smiled at him.

Zeng Xi, the disciple expected to speak now, is strangely bypassed by Confucius. The Master chooses to address the next two disciples, whose options are different from Zilu’s:

“Qiu! How about you?” Ran Qiu answered: “[A country] sixty or seventy li square, or [perhaps only] fifty or sixty li – if I were to run it, I could, in three years’ time, make its people have enough. As for rites and music, they would await a gentleman.” “Chi! How about you?” Gong Xihua answered: “I am not saying that I am able to [do the following], but I am willing to learn: in the work in the ancestors’ temple or in [diplomatic] gatherings and reunions, dressed in my robe and cap, I would be willing to act as a small assistant.”

Unlike Zilu, whose interpretation of the Master’s invitation stems from a fundamental hermeneutic inability, Ran Qiu makes not one, but two interpretations. First, he takes the Master’s smile to imply a negative judgment of Zilu’s self-projection, and then interprets Zilu’s interpretation in order to move away from it and propose a different and improved version. His is, as van Zoeren points out (1991, 61-63), not a strategy to state his zhi, but rather an attempt to say something he imagines that Confucius wants to hear. As the Master will show at the end of this long passage, Ran Qiu’s scaling down of Zilu’s project (and of his own person) is just as inadequate as the original attempt.

The third disciple to put forward his zhi has no direct stimulus from which to start in his interpretation of the Master. Like Ran Qiu, he knows what he has to avoid, but unlike him, he does not know what Confucius thinks of the previous interpretation. He continues therefore along the same lines, also scaling down his project and playing the card of modesty and selfless participation in the administration of state.

All such readings of the self are fundamentally flawed, as the final part of the passage will clearly show. The disciples fail to read correctly both the initial stimulus and the hint given by Confucius, i.e. his smile. They string themselves together in the wrong direction, creating an alternative model based, as van Zoeren puts it (1991, 64), on hypocrisy or lack of self-understanding.10 Or, as we have seen, rather on their total or partial misunderstanding of the figures that lie at the very basis of their hermeneutic attempt.

Confucius phrases his invitation by a double use of figure. He first states what he knows his disciples think about him and invites them not to think of it any longer. This negative movement by which the status difference is removed obviously requires an overwriting of reality with an imaginary projection: this signals, and the disciples know it, that what we are about to witness is a test, an exercise in self-interpretation. They understand the figure, but do not read it correctly, and keep telling Confucius what they think their Master wishes to hear. And yet, the next move taken by the Master in the phrasing of his invitation makes it quite clear that this is not what he wants: Confucius invites the disciples to imagine themselves in a situation of self-fulfilment, in which the target of their common programme, i.e. proper action in the world, is achieved. In such a situation, their mastery of words, figures, texts, hermeneutics, ritual, or ethics should be able to manifest itself fully in the actual production of appropriate figurative, textual, ethical, etc. action. Failing to understand this figure, the disciples offer themselves only to the Master’s negative interpretation, as obvious in the concluding part of this passage.

The disciple who missed his turn above,11 Zeng Xi, seems, however, to understand what his Master wishes and does make manifest his zhi:

“Dian! How about you?” Zeng Xi’s plucking of the qin [chords] weakened, and after a [last] echo, he put aside the qin, got up and said: “My choice is different from the one made by the other three masters.” The Master said: “What harm is there in that? It is just that each of you is speaking his own aim.” Zeng Xi said: “At the end of spring, after the spring garments have already been completed, with five or six capped youths and six or seven boys, I would bathe in the Yi, stay in the wind on the [Terrace of the] Rain Dance, and then return singing.” The Master sighed and said: “I am with Dian.”

The complex setting of this particularly elaborate exchange shows its fictional character. Its detailed construction has been also subjected to much analysis because of what is understood as its “Daoist” content: to many, Confucius’s support for Zeng Dian’s choice seems somewhat contrary to the judgements he makes in many other parts of the Analects. And yet, in many senses, the support offered by Confucius is hardly unexpected, both because Zeng Dian is indeed the only disciple who understands the double transposition requested by Confucius and because his vision of the self is coherent in terms of the Confucian continuum.

The Master, as already discussed, wanted two things from his disciples: to accept equality of status between themselves and him (leading consequently to an exposition of their “aims” in a sincere way); and to show a true capacity of realizing a coherent and convergent hermeneutic of the self. With all the others failing to understand correctly the requirement, Zeng’s achievement stands out as remarkable and is properly framed as such. Unlike the others, Zeng understands what he is requested to express, and indeed speaks out his zhi after pointing out his difference from the others. The contrast between what he has to say and what has been already said is thus carefully emphasized, just as, indirectly, is the contrast between this true zhi that gets Confucius’s approval and the would-be zhi of the other disciples.

What exactly zeng means to say and why Confucius approves of it, is not easy to discover. Wing-tsit Chan (1963, 38) states in this sense:

Why did Confucius agree with Zeng Xi? The field is wide open for speculation, and most Confucianists have taken the best advantage of it. Thus it was variously explained that Zeng Xi was enjoying the harmony of the universe (Wang Chong), that he was following traditional cultural institutions (Liu Baonan), that he was wisely refraining from officialdom at the time of chaos (Huang Kan), that he was thinking of the ‘kingly way’ whereas other pupils were thinking of the government of feudal states (Han Yu), that he was in the midst of the universal operation of the Principle of Nature (Zhu Xi), and that he was expressing freedom of the spirit (Wang Yangming …).

More interpretations could be added, no doubt, to Chan’s list. But, once again, it is perhaps more significant not to know exactly what the meaning of this self-figuration is, but rather realize that it is unified and coherent, and that therefore Zeng Dian succeeds where the other disciples have failed. He manages, I believe, to offer a figure of complete coherence that is similar to the “thread” suggested by Confucius, and thus formulate ritually and aesthetically a similar rule of unity. By expressing his approval for such self reading, Confucius also endorses an aesthetic and religious reading of his dao which is presented with just as much legitimacy as Zengzi’s initial deciphering at 4.15.

Zeng Xi is Zengzi’s father. Zigong is considered to belong to the first group of disciples, while Zixia is seen as one of the later students. Their readings of figures and texts differ, just as their abilities to produce appropriate interpretations are not alike. More than anything, their projections of an ethical, textual, or aesthetic nature make their strategies look different and their interests diverse. And yet, I believe they are constantly shown as participating in the building of one unique educational project, adapted to suit their own abilities and personalities, but coherent and converging into a continuum of knowledge and action.12 The ethical strands identified by Zengzi from which we started are thus part, I think, of what is fundamentally a multi-faceted but uniquely oriented educational programme. 13 This, perhaps, is what the thread that strings everything together for Confucius seems to be: but, once again, what it is means little once we have learned what it does.




ALLINSON, ROBERT E., “The Golden Rule As the Core Value in Confucianism  and Christianity: Ethical Similarities and Differences”, Asian Philosophy 2.2, 1992, pp. 173-186.

BEHUNIAK, JIM P., “Poem as Proposition in the Analects: A Whiteheadian Reading of a Confucian Sensibility,” Asian Philosophy 8.3, 1998, pp. 191-202.

CAI ZONGQI, “In Quest of Harmony: Plato and Confucius on Poetry”, Philosophy East and West, 49.3., 1999, pp. 317-345.

CHAN, WING-TSIT (tr.), A Sourcebook in Chinese Philosophy, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963.

CHANG HUI-CHING, “Language and Words: Communication in the Analects of Confucius,” Journal of Language and Social Psychology 16.2, 1997, pp. 107-131.

CHENG, ANNE (tr.), Les entretiens de Confucius, Paris: Seuil, 1981.

CREEL, H. G., Confucius and the Chinese Way, New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1960 (1949).

DAWSON, RAYMOND (tr.), Confucius. The Analects, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

GIER, NICHOLAS F., “The Dancing Ru: A Confucian Aesthetics of Virtue”, Philosophy East and West 51.2., 2001, pp. 280-305.

HENDERSON, JOHN B., Scripture, Canon, and Commentary, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.

IVANHOE, PHILIP J., “Reweaving the ‘One Thread’ of the Analects”, Philosophy East and West 40.1, 1990, pp. 17-35.

LAU, D. C. (tr.), Confucius, The Analects, London: Penguin Books, 1979.

LEWIS, MARK, Writing and Authority in Early China, Alabany: SUNY, 1999.

RULE, PAUL, “Was Confucius a Taoist?” JOSA 22-23, 1990-91, pp. 146-155.

RYCKMANS, PIERRE (tr.), Les entretiens de Confucius, Paris: Gallimard, 1987.

SCHABERG, DAVID COPLEY, Foundations of Chinese Historiography: Literary Representation in Zuozhuan and Guoyu, Ph.d. dissertation, Harvard University, 1996.

SHIH, VINCENT Y. C., “Literature and Art in The Analects”, Tr. by C. Y. Hsu. Renditions 8, 1977, pp. 5-38.

VIȘAN, FLORENTINA (tr), Confucius: Analecte, București, Humanitas, 1996.

VAN ZOEREN, STEVEN, Poetry and Personality: Readings, Exegesis, and Hermeneutics in Traditional China, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991.

WALEY, ARTHUR. (tr), The Analects of Confucius, New York: Vintage Books, 1938.

WANG, QINGJIE JAMES, “The Golden Rule and Interpresonal Care — From a Confucian Perspective”, Philosophy East and West 49.4, 1999, pp. 415-438.

Yang Bojun (ed.), Lunyu yizhu. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1980 (1958).


1 The same holds true about the more recent efforts of ALLINSON (1992) and WANG (1999).

2 See, however, Qingjie Wang’s discussion about the possibly inappopriate character of Zeng Shen’s reading of the Master’s words and the legitimate advancing of divergent hypotheses (1999, 434).

3 See, in this sense, the exchange at 1.15 discussed below.

4 For a reading that denies such a bifurcation and reads a tautology behind the two terms, cf. ALLINSON, 1992.

5 The point is, of course, made many times in the Analects, the Master’s statement at 2.11 being a well-known example: “He who gets to know what is new by reviewing old [knowledge] is worthy of being a teacher”.

6 Many studies that treat the problems of textuality and canon in the Analects and the Confucian tradition review and often put forward new interpretations of the many fragments relevant in this context. Mention should be made, inter alia, of the work of SHIH (1977), VAN ZOEREN (1991), SCHABERG (1996), CAI ZONGQI (1999) and LEWIS (1999).

7 Analects 16.13 is but one example in this sense.

8 Zilu, another major disciple, is shown at 9.27 to fail miserably in his interpretation of a fragment from Poem 33. Unlike Zigong or Zixia, Zilu is unable to do any reading whatsoever of the text, either by himself or under guidance. This may be seen, perhaps, in conjunction with Confucius’s insistence that the hermeneutics of texts should come late in his curriculum. For biographies of the three disciples, cf. CREEL, 1960, 61-74.

9 Enumerated by VAN ZOEREN (1991, 263).

10 On Ran Qiu’s character, cf. CREEL, 1960, 66.

11 The point is emphasized by RULE, 1990-1991, 49.

12 See, in this sense, the exchange at 11.22, for instance, in which Confucius explains how he customizes his teaching to match the personalities of his disciples. Notice also the use of the two verbs jin (“advance”) and tui (“retreat”), that suggest walking shoulder to shoulder on one common path.

13 See, in this sense, Gier’s formulation of the “aesthetics of virtue.” Gier introduces some of his arguments by appealing to similar arguments in the work of HALL and AMES (Thinking through Confucius, 1987) and ROBERT ENO (The Confucian Creation of Heaven, 1982).




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Joburi Studenti JOB-Studenti.ro

Oportunitati si locuri de munca pentru studenti si tineri profesionisti - afla cele mai noi oferte de job!

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Viata in campus: stiri, burse, cazari, cluburi, baluri ale bobocilor - afla totul despre viata in studentie!

Cariere si modele CVStudentCV.ro

Dezvoltare personala pentru tineri - investeste in tine si invata ponturi pentru succesul tau in cariera!


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