The Essential Confucius, Paperback

The Essential Confucius Paperback

Part of the Virgin Philosophers S. series

3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Confucius was the only philosopher whose ideas were taken on as a full state religion.

Born into an aristocratic family, he rose to become a minister in the state of Lu in China.

After falling out with the ruler he became a wondering sage, trying to replace empty religious observances by teaching moral values as the basis of social and political order.

The the "Virgin Philosophers Series" cover the life and ideas of the major philosophers, attempting to clarify the mysteries of philosophy for the general reader.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Oriental & Indian philosophy
  • ISBN: 9780753506080


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In this short book (57 pages including recommended reading, quotations and an index), Paul Strathern attempts to shed some light on Confucianism. Being completely uninitiated in the philosophy of Confucius, I am the target market. However, this also makes it quite hard to judge whether or not I have received a good grounding. Strathern seems to do a reasonable job of covering the basics, and I certainly know more about Confucianism than when I picked up the book. Sadly, the author comes across as being too eager for the text to be accessible, with puns and jokes which do nothing but distract. Strangely jarring with this wish to be accessible, he also can't help but take a few needless potshots at religious belief and faith, which I also found distracting. Overall though, a decent book.A couple of quotes stood out to me. The first, as a fan of The Mighty Boosh,"To expect a man to do something without the proper advice - this is an outrage."The second, as a university student,"It is difficult to find a man who is willing to study for three years without getting a job at the end of it."

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