Confucius and the Origins of Confucianism, pp. 17-24
Part of last Thursday's agenda was to explore the way in which various Confucian concepts (ren, li, filiality, Five Relationships, junzi) worked together to create a systematic intellectual perspective, rather than a list of independent doctrinal features. We also explored how the Confucian syllabus (archery and charioteering, text study, li mastery, music and dance) was linked to that perspective. On Tuesday, the goal will be to explore this perspective through the passages themselves. I'd like to work through several particular passages, which I'll list here, with some specific questions to reflect on before and during class. This class will (I hope) be more of a discussion class than a lecture.
We'll warm up by reviewing passage 12.1 (p. 6) to remind ourselves of the connection between ren and li -- why does Confucius respond to the disciple Yan Yuan's question about ren by talking about li? We can then follow this up with 12.2 (p. 7) to expand on these ideas.
Here are other passages I'd like to discuss:
Compare 4.15 (p. 20) and 15.3 (p. 12) - by close reading and analysis, can you distinguish the very different lessons they teach? What might the inclusion of these two passages, one in an "early" book of the text and the other in a "late" book, tell us about the Analects?
12.11 (p. 9): Why would Confucius's cryptic answer about government work, on the Confucian view? How would it relate to 3.19 (also p. 9)? How would it relate to 10.3 (p. 23)?
11.10 (p. 22): What does this tell us about li? about Confucius?
1.1, 8.12 (p. 14), and 5.9, 6.11 (p. 22): What do these passages reflect about the reward structure of early Confucian education -- at least as the Analects wished student-readers to understand it?
11.23 (p. 23): Why would this passage be in the Analects at all? What might its inclusion tell us about the function of the text among early Confucians?
9.5 and 3.24 (p. 6 and p. 16): How do these passages reflect the Analects authors' understanding of Confucius's role? How might they relate, in different ways, to 7.19 (p. 24) and 8.13 (p. 15)?
11.26 (pp. 14-15): What message does this convey to disciple-readers of the Analects? (See Study Question 4).
In addition, be sure to reflect on the two questions under "Exercises," at the close of the reading. I'd like to be sure we discuss these in class.