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The Chinese Classic of Family Reverence

The Chinese Classic of Family Reverence: A Philosophical Translation of the Xiaojing

Henry Rosemont
Roger T. Ames
Copyright Date: 2009
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  • Book Info
    The Chinese Classic of Family Reverence
    Book Description:

    Few if any philosophical schools have championed family values as persistently as the early Confucians, and a great deal can be learned by attending to what they had to say on the subject. In the Confucian tradition, human morality and the personal realization it inspires are grounded in the cultivation of family feeling. One may even go so far as to say that, for China, family reverence was a necessary condition for developing any of the other human qualities of excellence. On the basis of the present translation of the Xiaojing (Classic of Family Reverence) and supplemental passages found in other early philosophical writings, Professors Rosemont and Ames articulate a specifically Confucian conception of "role ethics" that, in its emphasis on a relational conception of the person, is markedly different from most early and contemporary dominant Western moral theories. This Confucian role ethics takes as its inspiration the perceived necessity of family feeling as the entry point in the development of moral competence and as a guide to the religious life as well. In the lengthy introduction, two senior scholars offer their perspective on the historical, philosophical, and religious dimensions of the Xiaojing. Together with this introduction, a lexicon of key terms presents a context for the Xiaojing and provides guidelines for interpreting the text historically in China as well as suggesting its contemporary significance for all societies. The inclusion of the Chinese text adds yet another dimension to this important study. The Chinese Classic of Family Reverence is sure to appeal to specialists of comparative and Chinese philosophy and to all readers interested in the enduring importance of the family.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6463-7
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Translators’ Preface
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-104)

    The Chinese characterxiao孝 (pronounced “sheeow” in a falling, affirmative tone) was originally a highly stylized picture of a gray-haired old person 老 and a young child 子, reflecting as it does generational deference and the reverence it engenders. Ideally, each generation instructs and inculcates in the succeeding generation a reverence for the family by modeling the appropriate conduct toward the generation that preceded them, thus suffusing the family with unconditional love and a sense of belonging.Xiaohas conventionally been translated as “filial piety,” and to the extent that the pious are deferential, the term is not altogether...

  6. Classic of Family Reverence (Xiaojing)
    (pp. 105-118)

    仲尼居 ,曾子侍 。子曰 :「先王有至德要道 ,以順天下 ,民用和睦 ,上下無怨,汝 知之乎 ?」曾子避席曰 :「參不敏,何足以知之 。」子曰 :「夫孝、德之本也 ,教之所由生也 。復坐 ,吾語汝 。身體髮膚 ,受之 父母 ,不敢毀傷 ,孝之始也 。立身行道 ,揚名於後世 ,以顯父母 ,孝之終也 。夫孝始於事親 ,中於事君 ,終於立身 。《大雅》云 :『無念 爾祖 。 聿脩厥德』」

    Confucius was at leisure in his home, and Master Zeng was attending him. The Master said, “Do you understand how the former kings were able to use the model of their consummate excellence (de) and their vital way (dao) to bring the empire into accord (shun), and how the people on this account were able to attain harmony (he) and to live with each other as good neighbors...

  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 119-128)
  8. Index
    (pp. 129-132)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 133-136)