Historical Dictionary of Confucianism

Rowman & Littlefield. Nov. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9781538166000. $150. REF
Confucianism has been a tradition and influential system of thought for over 2,500 years. Littlejohn (philosophy and Asian studies, Belmont Univ.; Chinese Philosophy and Philosophers) expertly traces its development with this impressive compilation of 700 terms, personalities, practices, movements, and texts. Intended for nonspecialists, the book introduces the ideas and precepts that are most often included in Confucian history and teachings. Entries are brief, but the “Analect,” “Books,” “Civil Service Exams,” “Five Classics,” “Mencius,” “Self-Cultivation,” “Spring & Autumn Annals,” “Tu Weiming, and “Xu Kwang” sections are several pages longer. The “Confucianism & Buddhism,” “Confucian Iconography,” and “Neo-Confucianism” entries are highlights. Entries contain Romanized spellings of subjects and applicable Chinese, Korean, and Japanese versions. Explication is accessible, authoritative, clear, and expertly detailed. The resource’s comprehensive chronology is a wonderful feature. The amazing introduction succinctly outlines Confucian evolution, general concepts, and growth. For readers who want to do further research, the bibliography comprises 20 pages of the most essential and impactful studies on Confucianism.
VERDICT This well-researched, well-written reference is packed with information on one of the world’s foremost intellectual, moral, philosophical, and social systems. It’s an indispensable resource for high school and undergraduate students doing term papers, reports, and projects.
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