Key Passages in
the Analects of Confucius

The title of the Analects, Lun-yü, , of Confucius, we can translate as something like "Discourses and Dialogues" -- Analects, , would be "Digest" or "Collection" from Greek. Here we have sayings and stories from or about Confucius, or sometimes just about his students.

This page is not a commentary on the Analects. It merely identifies passages that are famous, often quoted, discussed in books about Chinese Philosophy, or that I consider to be especially expressive for the principles of the thought of Confucius. The translation referred to is usually that of Arthur Waley, and there are the occasional complaints about it [The Analects of Confucius, 1938, Vintage Books, 1989]. Other translations consulted have been those of James Legge [Confucius, Confucian Analects, The Great Learning & The Doctrine of the Mean, from Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1893, Dover, 1971], D.C. Lau [Confucius, The Analects (Lun yü), Penguin, 1979, 1988], and Joanna C. Lee & Ken Smith [The Pocket Confucius, Museworks, Hong Kong, 2010]. The Chinese text used is that of Legge. Passages are often referred to without being quoted because this was compiled for use in my Ethics class, where students had the text at hand. Full quotations, often with the text in Chinese, are gradually being added. The translations of Lee & Smith, which, as here, do not include the whole Analects (not even, surprisingly, the famous II:4), are modern, accurate, and succinct, with Chinese text and, uniquely, a valuable transcription in Pinyin.

Wade-Giles and Pinyin writings are both used here a little carelessly, which may be a confusing -- the way to identify each is discussed elsewhere. A full exposition of the Chinese terminology of Confucius may be found at the Confucius page. It is hard to know the proper term for the subdivisions of the Books of the Analects. "Chapters" seems like too much for passages that may be only a sentence long, while "verses" implies too little for those that are substantial paragraphs, while "aphorisms" does not always apply to what is given. Perhaps "paragraph" itself would be the right word.

Book I

Book II

Book III

Book IV

Book V

Book VI

Book VII


Book IX

Book XI

Book XII


Book XIV

Book XV

Book XVI


Psychological Types, Typology of Chinese Virtues

Confucius [K'ung-fu-tzu or Kongfuzi]

The Six Relationships and the Mandate of Heaven

Chinese Virtues

The Confucian Chinese Classics

Sangoku Index

History of Philosophy, Chinese Philosophy

History of Philosophy

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