Cover image for An introduction to Confucianism
An introduction to Confucianism
Yao, Xinzhong.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Cambridge University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xviii, 344 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; cm
General Note:
Added t.p. title in Chinese characters.
Introduction : Confucian studies East and West -- Confucianism, Confucius and Confucian classics -- Evolution and transformation : a historical perspective -- way of Confucianism -- Ritual and religious practice -- Confucianism and its modern relevance.
Reading Level:
1450 Lexile.
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL1852 .Y36 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Taking into account the long history and wide range of Confucian Studies, this book introduces Confucianism - initiated in China by Confucius (551 BC-479 BC) - primarily as a philosophical and religious tradition. It pays attention to Confucianism in both the West and the East, focussing on the tradition's doctrines, schools, rituals, sacred places and terminology, but also stressing the adaptations, transformations and new thinking taking place in modern times. Xinzhong Yao presents Confucianism as a tradition with many dimensions and as an ancient tradition with contemporary appeal. This gives the reader a richer and clearer view of how Confucianism functioned in the past and of what it means in the present. A Chinese scholar based in the West, he draws together the many strands of Confucianism in a style accessible to students, teachers, and general readers interested in one of the world's major religious traditions.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this very readable phenomenological investigation, Yao (Univ. of Wales, Lampeter), an insider and a critical observer of Confucian doctrine, discusses Confucius, his contributions, and the history, doctrine, religious ritual, and practices of the tradition, in Korea and Japan as well as China. He considers how Confucian values have transformed current cultures, i.e., how Japanese Confucianism helped accelerate modernization, while Korean Confucianism was believed to obstruct it. Thus Yao examines modern multicultural challenges to "a revived Confucianism." Though he observes that the influences of Confucianism's scholars, institutions, and rituals have been almost erased in the 20th century, he argues that a strong "hidden heritage" of Confucianism remains inherent in Chinese psychology and ethics, underlying attitudes and behaviors. Yao admits mixed motives generating current forms of "Confucian Marxism" or "Confucian capitalism," restructured academies and Confucian religious institutions, and politically correct promotion of "self-cultivation"; he sees these merely as phenomena that show "a new understanding of the nature and function of Confucianism" and says "certain aspects" of Confucianism will become important: the moral and spiritual ideals of respect for human life and dignity, transformed into modern values. But will this ever come about, and if it dose, will it be Confucianism reduced to its essence or Confucianism at all? General readers; undergraduates. J. M. Boyle; Dowling College

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Confucianism in history: chronological table
Introduction: Confucian studies East and West
1 Confucianism, Confucius and Confucian classics
2 Evolution and transformation - a historical perspective
3 The way of Confucianism
4 Ritual and religious practice
5 Confucianism and its modern relevance