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A Theory of the AphorismFrom Confucius to Twitter$
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Andrew Hui

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691188959

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691188959.001.0001

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The Master Wishes to be Silent

(p.23) 1 Confucius
A Theory of the Aphorism

Andrew Hui

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses how the Analects of Confucius is an assemblage of the master's sayings that, while not offering a systematic account of the good, virtue, or just governance, nevertheless propelled the commentarial tradition of China that sought to codify it. The conversations of Confucius are “infinite” in the sense that they have elicited inexhaustible commentary from the time of their compilation. At the same time, the conversations of Confucius are “discontinuous” because of their fragmentary nature: the material upon which they were written—bamboo and silk—contains the merest traces of the original scene of instruction; the received arrangement of individual sayings can be said to be only loosely organized at best.

Keywords:   Analects, Confucius, sayings, conversations, China, commentary

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