The Ethics of Confucius, by Miles Menander Dawson, , at sacred-texts.com
Including Ancient Books Edited by Him, Books of His Sayings, and Accounts of His Teachings by His Disciples and by Early Apostles and Commentators.
Confucius was born in 552 B.C. and died in 479 B.C. His name was Kung Chin Chung-ni, of which Kung was the family name, Chin the personal (i.e., what we call Christian) name, and Chung-ni the special name given upon reaching full age. He was called Kung Fu Tse later, the appellation Fu Tse meaning "Master"; and this has been Latinized into Confucius.
1. The actual authorship of but one book is
ascribed to him, viz: Chun Chin, "Spring and Autumn" (English Edition, vol. v., "Chinese Classics").
This book is said to have been written by Confucius himself, in his seventy-second year, and to have been designed by him to serve as an epitome of his teachings upon all ethical, social, and religious subjects. At least, Mencius so speaks of it. The book, in a different form and known as "The Annals of Lu," was in existence before Confucius, and his task seems, after all, to have been to edit and amplify it. The work as it has come down to us, however, undoubtedly unchanged since the Han dynasty, is a bare record of events, almost utterly devoid of instruction and even of interest.
2. A collection of conversations with Confucius, containing many of his most important sayings, was made by his disciples after his death. It is known as:
Lun Yü, "The Analects," translated by James Legge, and published in "The Sacred Books of the East."
Several important books or collections of books, already ancient when Confucius was born and regarded as classics, were edited by Confucius and further edited by his early disciples. These are:
3. Yi King, the "Book of Changes."
4. Hsiâo King, the "Book of Filial Piety."
5. Shu King, the "Book of History."
6. Shi King, the "Book of Poetry," also called "The Odes."
7. Li Ki, the "Book of Ceremonies."
All of these were translated by James Legge and published in "The Sacred Books of the East."
The last mentioned is also often called "Younger Tai's Record of Rites," and it is affirmed that the "Li-Ching," said to be an older and greatly variant edition, should be accepted instead. In this book or collection of books are comprised two of very special importance:
8. "The Great Learning," said to have been committed to writing by Tse-Tse, the grandson of Confucius, from his recollections of the teachings of his grandfather and from reports of the same by his father and other disciples of Confucius. His text is elucidated by commentaries in the "Li Ki." This book has also come down separately.
9. "The Doctrine of the Mean," also the work of disciples of Confucius and their early successors. This has also come down separately.
There is also the very valuable volume of the sayings of Meng Tse, the great apostle of Confucianism in the second century laterwhose name is Latinized into:
This Book of Mencius was also translated by James Legge and is published in "The Sacred Books of the East."
"The Four Books," meaning thereby the elements and very core of Confucian doctrine, is the
name given to "The Analects," "The Great Learning," "The Doctrine of the Mean," and "Mencius."
"The Five Classics" or "The Five Canons" is the name applied to the "Yi King," "Hsiâo King," "Shu King," "Shi King," and "Chun" (or "Chin King"), collectively. The word "King" means "classic" or "canon."
Other works of Confucian commentators and scholars which are occasionally quoted from, are:
11. Shuo Yuan ("Park of Narratives").
12. Hsun Tze.
13. Ku-hang Chuan ("Ku-liang's Commentary").
14. "Many Dewdrops of the Spring and Autumn."
16. "History of Han Dynasty."
17. "History of Latter Han Dynasty."
18. "Narratives of Nations."
19. Kung-Yang Chuan ("Kung-Yang's Commentary").
The citations of this book are for the most part given by the name of the work, the name or number of the chapter and other grand division of the work and the verse, to the end that any edition in Chinese or any translation into English or into another language may be conveniently referred to.
M. M. D.