This book is a philosophical translation of the Xiaojing (Classic of Family Reverence). It articulates a specifically Confucian conception of “role ethics,” which takes as its starting point and as its inspiration the perceived necessity of family feeling as ground in the development of the moral life. This introduction discusses the historical, philosophical, and religious dimensions of the Classic of Family Reverence and presents a lexicon of key terms. It first explains why we should study the Classic of Family Reverence before turning to Confucius’s insights about family reverence, friendship, education, and community as well as Master Zeng’s compilation of the Classic of Family Reverence. It then examines family reverence, or xiao, in classical Confucianism, along with its sociopolitical, ethical, and religious dimensions. It also looks at some of the key terms employed in classical Chinese philosophical discourse that have immediate relevance for understanding the language of the Classic of Family Reverence.
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