Oh you can’t skip over all the history and go straight to the original. I mean, it’s more of a tradition than a single author.

Oh you can’t skip over all the history and go straight to the original. I mean, it’s more of a tradition than a single author.
but you can use all the history to understand the originals better – and there is a lot of it.
For example first: you have “jing 經, the Confucian Classics”
where this seems to be a significant pivot-point (to me from skimming this):
“The difference between the so-called old-texts and the new-texts of the Confucian Classics developed at the end of the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE). Until that date there was only one tradition which operated with a text corpus of Confucian Classics which was transmitted first more or less orally and then written down in the second century BCE in the then usual chancery script (lishu 隸書). Only with the discovery of older texts written in the seal script (zhuanshu 篆書) during the first century BCE Confucian scholars began making a difference between the new-texts used until that date (jinwen 今文) and the old-texts (guwen 古文) newly discovered.”
but then:
you have the history of the COMMENTARIES of the Confucian Classics over the last six hundred years or so.
I don’t believe it’s possible to skip over thousands of years of raw brain power invested into unfolding and interpreting the texts, particularly when the language itself morphed and changed over that time.
But … there’s so many views of it from different parts of history it’s unlikely you’d find ‘the one’ that matches what you’re looking for — but perhaps somewhere between them you will, as they’re all ultimately rooted in the same thing.
Ooh, interesting!
Before we continue I would like to ask you about something: you say that there is no word in Chinese that is equivalent to Confucianism.
Actually, the name Confucius was invented by the Jesuit missionaries who were in China starting in the 16th and 17th centuries. They romanised the Chinese family name Kǒng Fūzǐ, which means Master Kong (his last name). The ism is an invention that comes from a discipline developed in the academic world in Europe during the second half of the 19th century, which felt the need to invent a tradition that could date back to Confucius, the person. The word Confucianism was created in the same manner as Christrianism: we take the main figure of Christ and transform it into an ism. However, when we speak of the philosophy opf Confucius in Chinese, we do not speak of the name Confucius. We speak of Rújiā, the teaching of a class of people in ancient China who in short were experts in the written culture and rituals. They were involved in the constitution of the first centralised empire, after the 13th century of the Christian era, because the government needed people who knew how to write for archiving tasks and to be able to transmit information to the borders of the Chinese territory, as well as people who mastered the rituals. The Confucians were convinced that ritual structures were necessary in order to have orderly human relations, especially in the hierarchical structure of society. The political structure has been and remains an extremely top-down model: the power of decision runs from the peak to the base and rarely goes in the other direction (bottom-up).
Oh this explains something I’d wondered about:
Do we have a deformed idea of the Confucian tradition here in the Western World?
I have always been surprised by the contrast of what happened between the 18th century in Europe, with philosophers such as Voltaire who consider China a philosophical nation par excellence, and the beginning of the 19th century with the invention of professional philosophy embodied by Kant or Hegel: it is precisely Hegel who decides that philosophy is of Greek origin. China is left out of this definition and becomes the great “other” philosophical discourse. All of a sudden, no one knows what to do with China, because there is no denying that it is a very ancient civilisation. Then, another discipline is invented and this one has become Sinology. Moreover, language experts put European languages into the Indo-European group, and the Chinese language is then even more marginated in this otherness since it does not form part of this group of languages.
What bothers me about relegating China to this otherness is that we are still within this Hegelian scheme.

The Chinese are like us: they are equally consumerists, capitalists, connected to the web, etc.

To continue to speak of Chinese alterity is to not understand the reality of today and validate a certain propagandistic discourse.

China’s official discourse finds it very easy to appropriate this notion to say: “we have a tradition that is completely different from yours, and therefore, we have nothing to do with your talks about human rights, democracy, etc.”

The thirst for justice is universal. When children die due to a sanitary crisis or an earthquake destroys schools which were not correctly built due to corruption, there are demands for justice.
Well, it’s usually divided into “Western Philosophy” and “Eastern Philosophy”, although Eastern Philosophy is usually “Chinese studies” or Sinology as Eastern Philosophy would also include India.
Her bit of history in that article helps: Looks like American Chinese studies dominates now but is focused on social sciences, whereas Europe is more focused on reading/language/translation stuff.
” In Europe in general, Chinese studies were very common up to the Second World War, then the American Sinology became the dominant option. The Americans integrated the field of Chinese studies into the wider area of social sciences. In contrast, Europe tended to conserve the philological tradition. But there is no reason to consider ourselves on the sidelines because the language tradition is very important in these types of civilisations; we need to read the texts, and this is something the Americans not always do. And I am very happy to be here because the Sinology being developed in Spain is very dynamic.”
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