The Master Wishes to be Silent
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.
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