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Books that Matter: The Analects of Confucius | The Great Courses

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The Analectsof Confucius is a collection of ideas that manifested sometime during the 5th century BCE when devoted students of this great Chinese philosopher began compiling and writing down their master’s sage advice on how to live. Although often overlooked as required reading in Western societies, it has gone on to become one of the greatest books in human history, and much of the socio-political life we take for granted has roots found in the teachings of Confucius.

Philosophy itself has a reputation that makes it seem inaccessible to the uninitiated, but the Analects of Confucius is a collection of philosophies and ideas that come from a thinker who was first and foremost a teacher—making it anything but dry ancient philosophy. Many of the passages in the book are ambiguous, contradictory, and even maddening. It is populated with characters and conversations, reflecting a different approach to understanding life than that undertaken by great minds of the Western tradition. Getting to the heart of the Analects—and its importance—a challenging and undeniably exciting intellectual pursuit.

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