Classical Confucianism I: Confucius

Peimin Ni

in The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195328998
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Classical Confucianism I: Confucius

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Philosophy
  • Non-Western Philosophy



This article provides an introduction to Confucianism. Confucius (551–479 bce) was born during the Spring and Autumn period in Qufu, a town in the state of Lu in central China, when the glory of the early Zhou dynasty was declining but still in fresh memory in the minds of the people. Confucius considered himself a “transmitter” rather than a creator. The wisdom that he taught, according to himself, was already entailed in the ancient traditional rituals, the history, music, poetry, and limited written works, which were, though corrupted in the ages of turmoil, still available at the time. He is believed to have edited some of the most basic Chinese classic books, including the Book of Rites, the Book of History, the Book of Odes, the Book of Music, and the Book of Changes. There is a spiritual and religious dimension in Confucianism, which contains a strong sense of mission, a journey that is not supposed to end before one's death, and an aim even more important than life itself.

Keywords: Confucianism; Confucius; Chinese philosophers; Chinese philosophy; religion; mission

Article.  5361 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »