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Historicality of the Analects[edit]

Hi, could you explain why you consider the Analects of Confucius to be an "ostensible record"? Because as far as i know, the status of the work as the bona fide record of the words of Confucius and his disciples is not disputed. (Btw how's the work on the Peking Opera coming along?) Cheers! :) --Plastictv 08:46, 7 October 2005 (UTC) [originally posted on Dpr's talk page]

At the risk of sounding argumentative, if you can show evidence that a consensus of serious academics holds the work to be indisputably historic, then we can remove "ostensible." You are probably right, in fact, that it is indisputable...but I'd rather err on the side of caution. Thanks --Dpr 01:16, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
i could point you to the Chinese language wikipedia (zh:論語) or other references (the copy of Analects i have, for example, says "[论语]记载着孔子的言语行事,也记载着孔子的若干学生的言语行事", meaning "[The Analects] records the words and acts of Confucius, as well as those of several of his students.") On the other hand, i'm really interested to know the source of your "ostensible" notion. There could be disputes i'm not aware of. --Plastictv 03:49, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
I mean, we need scholarly sources which trace the history showing that a) Confucius really existed and b) the Analects are an accurate historical record of his teachings, rather than a re-creation...for instance, Plato's works may or may not accurately refect Socrates; the same thing here. No, there is not a specific debate I am referencing. But as I said, I'd rather err on the side of caution; some could call the New Testament an ostensible record of Christ's teachings, for I'd say ostensible should be the default until there are historical sources shown.
Nonetheless, this is not my attempt at stopping the show--go on with whatever you want to do with article...this is just my approach/attempt to be NPOV, and others may have different interpretations of NPOV. --Dpr 01:44, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
... Oh my... i really don't know how to reply to that. i've typed several versions so far and deleted all because they all sounded sarcastic even though i don't mean to be. i guess i'll just take away the ostensibility for now, and you could add it back anytime if you find any base for contention alright? (i'm sorry i really can't come up with a good answer for you. Btw the quote from the copy of Analects i cited is from the foreword, i.e. coming from a scholarly source?) --Plastictv 06:05, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Well, I'd say we need more than one scholarly source, and I'd be inclined to say that we should be discriminating--not just "any" source is credible.
In any case, let's check this article out. --Dpr 06:55, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
The notion here is that Wikipedia upholds the opinion considered to be generally upheld, unless such opinion has been or is currently being seriously contested. i wouldn't call two "scholars" from Northampton serious contesters, not in the realm of Confucianism at least; not even the UMass professor, who certainly seems to have a very political agendum. --Plastictv 01:28, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
This is an entirely prejudicial response, as your scare quotes around "scholars" shows.

JSoules (talk) 17:12, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

As I understand it, the Analects are not now thought by scholars to have been Confucius's own work, but that of a later compiler.
Evangeline (talk) 03:49, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

The word "analect"[edit]

Where does the word "analect" come from? --HappyCamper 17:23, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Have a look at [wiktionary] friend. --DynV (talk) 04:59, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

James Legge, who I believe was the first to translate the Analects into English, in 1861, used the word, and it has become the traditional way to refer to the Lun Yu.
Evangeline (talk) 03:47, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
I can confirm that that's where it came from (I just read James Legge say that he thought up the name). Joshua Marshman also has a translation, written in 1814 (will add it to the main article later) but it uses a more common-english translation of the title, which clearly didn't catch on. Note that I am reading both in parallel on Google Play Books as a personal project. Alsuren (talk) 10:47, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Move to "Analects"[edit]

Analects redirects here and is the more common name. Compare to Iliad (not "Iliad of Homer"). Republic (Plato) is disambiguated parenthetically, but only because there are other works with this title. There are no other works called "Analects" at least none that come close to these in terms of notability. savidan(talk) (e@) 04:24, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Page moved. :) -GTBacchus(talk) 20:51, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Commented version[edit]

I really liked version with it's footnotes which save me a lot of research which I had to do with plain ones. Please add similar versions here (of course, also on the article). --DynV (talk) 04:54, 24 May 2008 (UTC)


I added content from the Dutch Wikipedia, which was written and formatted by a scholarly contributor, Guss (many thanks, I don't know how to format!)
Evangeline (talk) 04:52, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Official AND academic commentaries on the text of.....[edit]

己所不欲 勿施于人 in this topic....

-- (talk) 05:45, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 05:48, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Lead section[edit]

Inter alia, "Analects" and "Analects of Confucius" are not separate titles. Combine them. Also, per MOS-ZH, we should not be including the mess of Chinese text in the lead section when it is already easily available (in greater detail and with better treatment) in the infobox to the right.

Also—especially since I know native speakers are sometimes the last to practice it—it's worth pointing out that there are rules for the capitalization and spacing of Chinese in pinyin: this book is properly the Lunyu and not anything that involves two words. Someone can do some research at Google about relative frequency, though: if the "wrong" version is common enough, we should include it along with the proper format in the lead. — LlywelynII 13:07, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

See WP:R#PLA and MOS:BOLDSYN. --Omnipaedista (talk) 15:19, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

grammar in lede - "younger child become"[edit]

The third sentence of the second paragraph of lede reads:

- "Younger child become the most loving one to the parents and they have most devotion to the parents."

It could be a translation error from the editor, missing pluralization. But I haven't yet found the analectic that could correctly word this.

Suggestion: "The younger child becomes the most..." Can someone find a reference in an analectic?

Eturk001 (talk) 00:31, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

Possible good article?[edit]

This article reads well and is of high quality. How hard would it be to improve this to GA status? sstflyer 12:59, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

GOCE Copy-edit of October 3-4, 2015[edit]

In response to a request for a copy-edit of Analects at WP:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors/Requests#Analects, I am undertaking a copy-edit of this article. I will post any questions I have as I go through the article here.

1) In the lead, we read:

  • The a collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his contemporaries, traditionally believed to have been written by Confucius' followers.

However, in the first paragraph of the section Analects#Creation of the text, we read:

  • The vast majority of scholars specializing in the study of the Analects believe that the text was written and compiled within a century after Confucius' death in 473 BC, mainly by Confucius' first- and second-generation pupils.

I do not understand the use of the word "traditionally" in the first sentence. When a majority of scholars specializing in the subject agree – and notice that the verb in the second sentence is in present tense: "believe", so the statement is not only about scholars in the past – I do not believe "traditionally" is the right word to use. To bring the first sentence into agreement with the later sentence, I would change "traditionally believed" to "believed by most scholars". Is there any objection to that?

2) The second and third sentences (immediately following the second quoted sentence, above) are:

  • According to this traditional account, the work would have been written and completed sometime during the Warring States period (476 BC-221 BC). Most Analects scholars also believe that, by the early Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) the book was widely known and transmitted throughout China in a mostly complete form.

Again, I do not understand calling the opinion of a majority of scholars a "traditional account". Traditional accounts are usually stories or explanations passed down through generations, not the work of scholars. Also, the very next sentence says, "Most Analects scholars also believe that..." (followed by quite specific information). So the statement about the work being written and completed some time during the Warring States period is also a belief of scholars, not a traditional account. Can someone explain to me the use of "traditionally" in the lead and "this traditional account" in the section on "Creation of the text"? Otherwise, those words have got to go, and I will change them.

3) In the last paragraph of the section Analects#Creation of the text is the following sentence:

  • There was evidence that "additions" may have been made to the manuscript after it had been completed, indicating that the writer may have become aware of at least one other version of the Analects and included "extra" material for the sake of completeness.

I am curious as to why the verb at the beginning of the sentence ("was") is in past tense. Does that mean evidence existed but has seen been either destroyed or lost? If the evidence still exists, this ought to be in present tense: "There is evidence". Corinne (talk) 17:56, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

I'll just address one point for now - it is traditionally believed that text was written either in his lifetime, or soon after his death by his followers. This began to be questioned much later, perhaps starting in the Qing dynasty, and also by modern scholars. Some now believed that there might have been a series of versions with contents added quite some time after Confucius's death. The question is how much of it are later additions, so it's the assertion that "vast majority of scholars specializing in the study of the Analects believe that the text was written and compiled within a century after Confucius' death in 473 BC, mainly by Confucius' first- and second-generation pupils" that needed to be sourced (which is found in Paul van Els' article, but it also said that it is "scarcely ever supported by evidence.") Hzh (talk) 20:22, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
Just a note to say I believe it is better to leave the "traditional" part in. Most scholars accept the traditional narrative, but apparently without much evidence. Hzh (talk) 22:11, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

(edit conflict) Hzh Thank you for your responses. I kind of understand what you're saying, but the writing in the article also has to make sense. The second sentence in the section Analects#Creation of the text starts, "According to this traditional account". I don't see anything in the previous sentence to which this could refer, nothing labeled, or even suggested to be, traditional. Also, if the account mentioned in the first sentence is to be spoken of as traditional, it should be presented that way to begin with (and what is meant by "traditional" should be made clear). Corinne (talk) 22:15, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

The traditional account is what most scholars believe in (with perhaps some slight modifications, I'll need to check some sources first.)Hzh (talk) 23:17, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

(edit conflict) Thanks, Hzh, but I'm sorry to say that that's not good enough. When you use the word "traditional", you are implying that it is a belief accepted by many people, but probably not scholars, or it could imply that it was the belief of many people up until recently, with the suggestion of a contrast with modern scholarship, but I don't see a contrast. It says the majority of scholars believe, which brings it right up to the present. If it is indeed the case, we could change it to, "Until recently, the majority of scholars believed", bringing it closer to being in line with "traditional account", but I don't know what the situation is. Corinne (talk) 23:59, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

I think "traditional" here means it is believe by scholars for a long time (you can use "traditional scholarly view" if you want). I think scholars believed for a long time that the Analects was written his Confucius' lifetime or some time afterward, and this is more or less what most modern scholars believe. But I'll see if I can find some sources first. Hzh (talk) 01:02, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
I've added some content, although it is a pain to write, made worse by the citation style of this page which is very awkward to use (I will probably ignore that citation style from now on and if others want to use a unified system, then by all means fix them). I will probably try to fix some other issues in the page, mostly about the content (it seems that there might have been some misunderstandings of the source texts which led to inaccurate descriptions (for example the Heaven and spirits mentioned below, they are separate ideas which should not have been conflated). It will likely take some time. Feel free to copy edit what I wrote. Hzh (talk) 22:55, 4 October 2015 (UTC)

4) At the beginning of the section Analects#Social philosophy is the following sentence:

  • Confucius' discussions on the nature of the supernatural (Analects 3.12; 6.20; 11.11) indicate that he respected Heaven but believed that "spirits" were too difficult to understand, and that human beings should instead base their values and social ideals on moral philosophy, tradition, and a natural love for others.

The phrase "he respected Heaven" doesn't make a lot of sense. I think something is needed before "Heaven" such as:

  • he respected the concept of Heaven
  • he respected a belief in Heaven
  • he acknowledged the concept of Heaven

Corinne (talk) 22:24, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

That seems to be a problematic sentence. I don't think Confucius had ever not believed in or not respected the concept of Heaven, but simply accepted it. I would delete that part, or rewrite it as a separate sentence that can better explain the idea of Heaven in Confucian belief system (it's probably something like the natural order or the highest moral authority). The concept and approach are different from those regarding ghosts and spirits, the famous quote on those is "respect ghosts and spirits but keep them at a distance" (敬鬼神而远之, 6.20 or 6.22). Hzh (talk) 23:17, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
I've changed the wordings, probably not written well but you can try to phrase it better. The mention of Heaven has been deleted as it doesn't belong there. Hzh (talk) 01:02, 4 October 2015 (UTC)

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