Prepare To Be Beaten, Dead Horse!

So I’ve been somewhat reticent lately, and there have been a couple of good reasons for this–most important, though, is the simple reason that I haven’t really had anything very interesting to say recently.  This is mostly because the dissertation is using up most of my creative energy, and given that I’ve blogged on many of the topics covered in the dissertation, I don’t want to keep covering the same thing over and over (especially because, among other things, blogging is a way to avoid said dissertation).

Anyway–looking back over the heap of past blog posts here at “Unpolished Jade”, I realized there was a project I was involved in some time ago which I’d completely forgotten about, and which I think it’s about time to resurrect.  I had been giving translations and interpretations of passages from the Analects.  Now, in renewing this project, I think I will take a slightly different approach.  Namely, instead of simply going through the Analects passage by passage (this can get kinda tedious, especially when dealing with passages like the Book 10 “if the mats weren’t properly positioned, he wouldn’t sit” type of thing), I will focus on what I take to be interesting or important passages from the Analects (I know, I know–they’re all interesting and important…).  Also, I will try to integrate (in a way I didn’t before) some of the traditional commentaries in my discussions on the passages.  Of course, I will do this in a different way than Slingerland does it in his translation of the Analects–I will mention them in order to critically engage with them, rather than as ways to explain the text.  I was converted about a year or so ago to the view that the traditional commentaries are indispensable for understanding the Analects, even if mainly because many of the main interpretive options are descended from views outlined in the commentaries.  So I’ll probably be wrestling with the Analects and some commentary, especially He Yan’s  語集解 (Lunyu jijie) and Zhu Xi’s 集住 (Lunyu jizhu), along with other Zhu works, because I think Zhu Xi’s impact on early Confucian interpretation was massive, and, maybe, underestimated by some philosophers, or at least not dealt with as often as I’d like.  I haven’t completely lost my marbles and bought into the Neo-Confucian readings of the Analects, however, so expect resistance on this front.
One final matter–if there are any Analects passages any readers of “Unpolished Jade” are interested in, send them along, and I’ll give my best shot at some interpretation.  This blog is nothing if not a springboard for further thoughts.  I have my pet passages (which I’ll be sure to get in), and I’m sure everyone who reads this blog has their own as well.  So let’s get Confucianizing!  I think I’ll deal with 2.3 first–expect something on this in the next day or so.  A nice passage to begin with, I think, given my interest in Confucius and behavioral situationism.

2 responses to “Prepare To Be Beaten, Dead Horse!

  1. They ARE all interesting! (So I’m hoppy about your announcement.) The mat passage is interesting because if ‘zheng’ there means simply “straight” (i.e. presumably in relation to the walls and furniture) it suggests a conception of proper orientation (or reason or form or yi or something) that is more physis, less nomos, than if ‘zheng’ means “properly positioned according to li.”

  2. Not only are they all interesting, but the mat analect is the MOST interesting. It’s my favorite.

    Maybe you can start by explaining to me (because I’m dense, mostly) why 2.3 is a paradigm case of sitationism. Is it merely because of the call for ritual in order to be good, such that something external (perhaps) sets the stage for a person’s behavior?

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