Class #7


Readings: Analects: Passages 2.4, 3.13, 3.24, 5.13, 6.28, 7.24, 8.19, 9.5, 9.6, 9.12, 11.9 12.5, 14.35, 16.8, 17.19

Lecture PowerPoint Deck

Your readings for this class will be brief. You should concentrate on the passages translated on this page, which bring together the various discussions of Tian (Heaven) which appear in the text.

The birth of philosophy in China was a product of a crisis in values which focused on the issue of theodicy: If Tian is what we always thought it was -- the all-powerful all-good guarantor of order -- then how can we make sense of the mess we've been in for centuries? Answers to the crisis in values, of which Confucianism was the first, generally tried to frame their answers in such a way as to remold the idea of Tian so that Tian could: 1) be once again viewed as an all-good, all-powerful force, 2) legitimize the specific doctrines connected with each answer to the crisis in values. Thus, the Analects' Tian ought to be all-good and powerful, and ought also to support the ritual interests of the text.

Look through the passages about Tian, and see whether you can pick out ones which seem to function in this way. In class, I'll be trying to pull most of them together to make the Confucian portrait of Tian a coherent whole.