The Analects Summary

Decent Essays
This selection of the Analects revolves primarily around the importance of virtue tradition and the characteristics of a junzi or “ideal gentleman”. The introduction of this selection of the analects defines the key term of ren as “true happiness” or “humanity” and states that it is a necessary characteristic that must be possessed by a junzi. Book One of the Analects explores the origin and characteristics of junzi and explains that before one can become a junzi, one must first fulfill their role in the family. Book Two of the Analects highlights the need for a leader to have virtue, stating that virtue is preferable to other modes of control because virtue, unlike alternative methods, will enable the people to retain a sense of shame, which can be useful in reforming an individual. Book Three emphasizes the need for ritual, using the success of the Chinese Zhou dynasty as a testament to ritual’s effectiveness. Finally, Book Four of the Analects continues to emphasize the importance of ren, connecting ren to…show more content…
While, the introduction to this selection of The Analects provides some insight to the origins by explaining how under the Zhou dynasty and their strict adherence to religious customs coincided with a prosperous period in Chinese history, it is not immediately apparent that the two are more than a coincidence. Furthermore, oftentimes, as history has shown, tradition for traditions’ sake can often stymie progress and prevent necessary adaptations in the face of changing circumstances. Would the course of human history not have been improved if slavery had not been maintained, at least in part, by tradition? Finally, as the world has become increasingly secular and progressive over time, in what why should a modern reader interpret the messages in The Analects and apply them
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