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Neville coined the phrase to refer to those who hold that Confucianism could be successfully adapted to a western perspective, and does not have to be confined to Chinese culture and tradition. (Both Platonism and Christianity began as such portable traditions, which can be practiced outside of the Greek and Jewish roots which originally generated them.) However, this is a view that is common to New Confucians in general, whether from Boston, Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong or Singapore. Indeed, there are contemporary advocates of Confucianism who are not New Confucians, but who would agree that Confucianism is not geographically or culturally parochial, any more than Buddhism or Islam have been. (Philip J. Ivanhoe, Joel J. Kupperman and David B. Wong would fall into this latter category.) Consequently, "Boston Confucian" is a term more closely linked to geography than intellectual content.
- Robert Neville, Boston Confucianism. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2000.
- Bryan W. Van Norden, Review of Boston Confucianism in Philosophy East & West 53:3 (July 2003): 413-417.