East Asian Languages and Cultures | Seminar in Chinese Thought
C681 | 26935 | Eno


[This is the correct section for the course formerly listed as EALC-
C 600.]

TOPIC:  Reconstructing the Early Confucian Community

For two thousand years, our understanding of the birth and early
growth of Confucianism was based on a static set of texts produced
during China’s Warring States era (c. 450-221 B.C.).  Some of these
texts were exclusively the recorded teachings of major Confucian
masters (the Lunyu, Mengzi, and Xunzi), others were either short
anonymous texts in compilations such as the Liji or Lüshi chunqiu,
or texts that occasionally provided information about Confucians or
their ideas in the course of narratives or philosophical attacks
(e.g., the Zhanguo ce or Hanfeizi).  These texts form a corpus of
materials complex enough to continue to provide opportunities for
new historical hypotheses and philosophical portraits about early
Confucianism, but the appearance through archaeological excavation
of newly discovered Warring States texts and early redactions of
received texts has opened new possibilities, and allows us to re-
envision the literary and philosophical context in which early
Confucianism developed.

This course will focus on building and deploying skills needed to
read and interpret these newly discovered texts, and on using the
knowledge we gain from them to understand the development of early
Confucianism.  Students will read widely in received texts and
secondary scholarship, in order to gain good background knowledge of
traditional understandings of Confucianism and its early growth, but
will also, individually and as a group, explore relevant newly
discovered texts.  The goal will be to produce a set of individual
seminar research papers that can inform one another and help us all
better form or revise our picture of early Confucian intellectual
history.

The principal texts for the class will be drawn from recent
published finds, such as the Guodian Chumu and Shanghai Bowuguan
collections.  Students must have advanced reading knowledge of
Literary Chinese and some background in the history of early Chinese
thought.