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The Chinese Classic of Family Reverence: A Philosophical Translation of the Xiaojing
152pp. November 2008
The Chinese Classic of Family Reverence: A Philosophical Translation of the Xiaojing
Author: Rosemont Jr., Henry; Ames, Roger T.;
Few if any philosophical schools have championed family values as persistently as the early Confucians, and a great deal can be learned by attending to what they had to say on the subject. In the Confucian tradition, human morality and the personal realization it inspires are grounded in the cultivation of family feeling. One may even go so far as to say that, for China, family reverence was a necessary condition for developing any of the other human qualities of excellence. On the basis of the present translation of the Xiaojing (Classic of Family Reverence) and supplemental passages found in other early philosophical writings, Professors Rosemont and Ames articulate a specifically Confucian conception of "role ethics" that, in its emphasis on a relational conception of the person, is markedly different from most early and contemporary dominant Western moral theories. This Confucian role ethics takes as its inspiration the perceived necessity of family feeling as the entry point in the development of moral competence and as a guide to the religious life as well.

In the lengthy introduction, two senior scholars offer their perspective on the historical, philosophical, and religious dimensions of the Xiaojing. Together with this introduction, a lexicon of key terms presents a context for the Xiaojing and provides guidelines for interpreting the text historically in China as well as suggesting its contemporary significance for all societies. The inclusion of the Chinese text adds yet another dimension to this important study. The Chinese Classic of Family Reverence is sure to appeal to specialists of comparative and Chinese philosophy and to all readers interested in the enduring importance of the family.

"The fruitful partnership between Henry Rosemont, Jr., and Roger T. Ames, which earlier yielded The Analects of Confucius: A Philosophical Translation, has delivered another fine translation and study of a major Confucian classic." —Journal of Chinese Studies (50, 2009)
Author: Rosemont Jr., Henry; Ames, Roger T.;
Henry Rosemont, Jr., is George B. and Wilma Reeves Distinguished Professor Emeritus at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and Visiting Scholar in Religious Studies at Brown University. Roger T. Ames is professor of philosophy at the University of Hawai‘i and editor of Philosophy East & West.
Read an excerpt (PDF).
Translators’ Preface

I. Why Study This Text?
II. Historical and Textual Background
1. Synopsis of the Book
2. Confucius
3. Master Zeng
4. The Text and Its Historical Context
III. Philosophical and Religious Background
1. Xiao in Classical Confucianism
2. The Sociopolitical Dimensions of xiao
3. The Ethical Dimensions of xiao
4. Xiao and Human-centered Religiousness
IV. The Lexicon of Key Chinese Philosophical Terms

Notes to the Introduction

Classic of Family Reverence (Xiaojing)
Chapter 1 Setting the Theme and Illuminating Its Meaning
Chapter 2 The Emperor as Son of "tian"
Chapter 3 The Hereditary Lords
Chapter 4 The Ministers and High Officials
Chapter 5 The Lower Officials
Chapter 6 The Common People
Chapter 7 The Three Powers and Resources
Chapter 8 Governing through Family Reverence
Chapter 9 Sagely Governing
Chapter 10 A Record of Family Reverence in Practice
Chapter 11 The Five Punishments
Chapter 12 Elaborating upon "the Vital Way"
Chapter 13 Elaborating upon "Consummate Excellence"
Chapter 14 Elaborating upon "Raising One’s Name High for Posterity"
Chapter 15 On Remonstrance (jian)
Chapter 16 Resonance
Chapter 17 Serving One’s Lord
Chapter 18 Mourning for Parents
Notes to the Classic of Family Reverence