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Analects 论语 – Top 100 Books in China

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The origin of Confucian culture


Chinese Name:论语

English Name: Analects, Analects of Confucius, Sayings of Confucius, Lun Yu

Author: Confucius’ disciples and their disciples

Originally Published: Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period春秋战国时期

Genre: Philosophy, Quotations

Brief Introduction of Analects

The Analects is an ancient Chinese book composed of a large collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his disciples, traditionally believed to have been compiled and written by Confucius’s followers.

the Analects 论语 Confucius 孔子

The book consists of 20 chapters and 492 chapters, mainly in quotation style, supplemented by narrative style, which more intensively reflects the political ideas, ethical thoughts, moral concepts and educational principles of Confucius and Confucianism. Most of the articles are quotations, but the sentences and chapters are vivid. Their main characteristics are concise language, easy to understand, far-reaching intention, elegant and implicit style, and can show the characters in simple dialogue and action.

As a Confucian classic book, the Analects of Confucius is broad, profound and all-inclusive.
The thought of the Analects of Confucius mainly has three independent and closely dependent categories:

  • Ethical category – Ren仁(Benevolence, Humaneness)
  • Social and political category – Li礼(rites, ritual, ceremony,rules of propriety, etiquette)
  • Cognitive methodology category– Zhong Yong中庸(doctrine of the mean)
Confucius gave lectures to his disciples孔子讲学图
Confucius gave lectures to his disciples孔子讲学图

The Analects of Confucius reflects Confucius’ educational principles. Confucius taught students in accordance with their aptitude. For different objects, considering their different qualities, advantages and disadvantages, and the specific situation of improving morality and learning, Confucius gave different teachings, showing the valuable spirit of tireless teaching.


Historical background of Analects

The Analects of Confucius is the crystallization of the collective wisdom of Confucius’ disciples. Its compilers are mainly Zhong Gong, Zi you, Zi Xia and Zi Gong. They are worried about the loss of Confucius’ thought, so they discuss to record the teacher’s quotations. Then it was completed by a few disciples who stayed in the state of Lu and their disciples.

The Analects of Confucius is not only a quotation style, but also a collection of several fragments. The arrangement of these chapters does not necessarily make any sense; Even between the two chapters, there is not necessarily any connection. And the chapters of these fragments are not written by one person.

The chapters of the Analects of Confucius were written not only by different disciples of Confucius, but also by the disciples of his different disciples. There are obvious differences in the time of each chapter. The use of word meaning can reflect that the sequence interval of the whole book of the Analects is more than three or fifty years.

Author of Analects

The Analects of Confucius is a collection of quotations from Confucius and his disciples. It is compiled by Confucius’ disciples and their retransmission disciples. It is not the work of someone. Confucius created the atmosphere of private lectures. It is said that he had 3000 disciples and 72 virtuous disciples. After the death of Confucius, his disciples and their successors recorded the words, deeds, quotations and thoughts of Confucius and his disciples and compiled them into the Confucian classic The Analects of Confucius.

孔子弟子像Confucius disciples
孔子弟子像Confucius disciples


Excerpts of Analects



Isn’t it very happy to study and review on time?
Isn’t it nice to have like-minded people coming from afar?





I review myself many times a day:
Do you work hard for others?
Is it sincere and honest to communicate with friends?
Have you reviewed the knowledge taught by the teacher?


When you see a wise man, you should think of keeping up with him; When you see a bad person, you should reflect on whether you have similar problems.


Don’t impose on others what you don’t like

Evaluation of Analects

All I know in my life is no more than the Analects of Confucius.

Zhao Pu赵普Prime Minister of Northern Song Dynasty北宋宰相

Confucius is the center of Chinese culture and education and the philosophy of Washington.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Video: ‘China in the Classics’ – Analects of Confucius

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