Analects of Confucius

The primary source essays are analytical.  You must not simply summarise the plot of the work nor should you engage in purely literary analysis.  The most important point is to place the work in its historical context in one major theme: how does the text relate to the period of its composition (or when it is set) politically (e.g. state, government, rulership), socially (e.g. gender, sexuality, urbanism, social classes), economically or religiously?  Your choice demonstrates the soundness of your judgement.  The key to understanding the context is to read the available background materials in my lectures and, optionally, the textbook.  Address the theme you have chosen in light of these background materials, using specific examples from lectures and text to prove your argument.  In other words, you must form an argument of how the text reflects the period in one of the themes using examples from text, lectures and textbook to prove your case.  The point is to demonstrate your understanding both of the text and of the period in which it was written/set.

Length 2.5 pages, 12 font, Times New Roman, double-spaced.

Choose one of the four themes (politics, society, economics or religion) and analyse its context in Confucius’ Analects in accordance with the instructions above.  Confine your analysis to the Zhou period rather than the later Qin and Han dynasties.

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