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The Confucian World


I haven’t actually read this book, but it looks like a good one to add to my reading list: Confucius and the World He Created, by Michael Schuman. Here is the Amazon description:

Confucius is perhaps the most important philosopher in history. Today, his teachings shape the daily lives of more than 1.6 billion people. Throughout East Asia, Confucius’s influence can be seen in everything from business practices and family relationships to educational standards and government policies. Even as western ideas from Christianity to Communism have bombarded the region, Confucius’s doctrine has endured as the foundation of East Asian culture. It is impossible to understand East Asia, journalist Michael Schuman demonstrates, without first engaging with Confucius and his vast legacy.

On March 13, China Real Time posted an interview with the author. Here is the introduction:

Once reviled as a source of China’s backwardness, Confucianism is experiencing a revival in the country. President Xi Jinping frequently invokes the teachings of the sage as he seeks to imbue society with ethical values and find new sources of legitimacy — ones rooted in Chinese culture and tradition – to help bolster Communist rule.

Elsewhere in East Asia, Confucian virtues of education, hard work and thrift are often touted as the font of the region’s economic dynamism.

From being seen as a bulwark of the conservative social order, Confucianism is now frequently taken as inspiration for societies on their march to modernity. How has it managed this improbable transition?

Michael Schuman, a China-based author and journalist, has spent 19 years living and working in Confucian societies in East Asia. He is the author of Confucius And the World He Created. China Real Time’s Andrew Browne spoke with him by email.

You can read the entire interview here.

It would also be a good time to read (if you haven’t already) the Spring 2014 edition of the ChinaSource Quarterly (Confucius and Christ: Conflict, Compromise or Communication), which examines this resurgence and its impact on Christianity in China.

Image Credit: "Confucius Sculpture, Nanjing" by Kevinsmithnyc - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is senior vice president of ChinaSource and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University... View Full Bio