The Lunyu, a homeless dog in intellectual history: On the dating of discourses on Confucius’s success and failure

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Joachim Gentz in chapter five (“The Lunyu, a Homeless Dog in Intellectual History: On the Dating of Discourses on Confucius’ Success and Failure”) expresses skepticism regarding the prospects of dating the Lunyu (The Analects of Confucius). While acknowledging its wealth of “concepts, ideas, thoughts, terms, metaphors, discourses, and problems,” he argues that the Lunyu does not contextualize or systematize these elements in ways that lend themselves to intellectual historical analysis, because “[t]he purpose of the book is obviously not to take part in intellectual debates.” Drawing broadly on a wealth of transmitted texts and recently unearthed manuscripts, Gentz presents two case studies: the Lunyu’s contradictory presentation of ren 仁 (often translated as “humaneness” or “benevolence”) and its treatment of the problem of Confucius’ success and failure in comparison to pre-Han debates on the subject. Yet neither individual concepts nor the success/failure problem, Gentz concludes, allow us to date the Lunyu—a text that with its fundamental focus on Confucius’ action “is homeless in early Chinese intellectual history.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConfucius and the Analects Revisited
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives on Composition, Dating, and Authorship
EditorsMichael Hunter, Martin Kern
Place of PublicationBoston/Leiden
PublisherBrill
Chapter5
Pages116-151
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9789004382947
ISBN (Print)9789004382770
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2018

Publication series

NameStudies in the History of Chinese Texts
PublisherBrill
Volume11

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