The Great Courses: Books that Matter: The Analects of Confucius


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Compiled centuries before the birth of Jesus, the Analects of Confucius is anything but dry ancient philosophy. Many of its passages hold the same power as any great Socratic dialogue. Which makes trying to get to the heart of the Analects-and its importance-a challenging and undeniably exciting intellectual pursuit. With these 24 accessible lectures, enjoy an adventurous exploration of one of the world's most important philosophical texts. Filled with rich historical context, detailed close readings of key passages, expert interpretations of larger cultural trends, and stories of Confucius and his most notable students (and critics), these lectures are required learning for anyone who wants a solid understanding of Eastern philosophy-and the ways a single book can cross cultures and go on to inspire an entire world. After grounding your approach to the Analects with a look at what we know (and don't know) about Confucius' life, career, and teaching philosophy, you'll examine some of the book's most powerful, central themes. Among these are remonstrance (an idea at the heart of Chinese social and political life) and effective rule (which, for Confucius, required a grounding in morality and integrity). As you illuminate your understanding of key passages in the Analects, you'll also meet the students, philosophers, and statesmen who, in their own ways, contributed to the millennia-long story of this enduring book-by recording Confucian thought, critiquing it, building on it, pillorying it, and resurrecting it for the modern age. As with all great philosophical experiences, the Analects is a work whose intellectual richness and insight remain with you long after you've read the final passages. So, too, will these lectures, which will help internalize Confucian teachings-and make them work in your own life.