From its beginnings, Confucianism has vibrantly taught that each person is able to find the Way individually in service to the community and the world. For over 2,600 years, Confucianism has sustained a continual process of transformation and growth. In this comprehensive new work, John Berthrong examines the vitality and expansion of the Confucian tradition throughout East Asia and into the entire modern world.Confucianism has been credited with being the dominant social and intellectual force shaping the enduring civilizations of East Asia. If we are to grasp the history of East Asia, we must understand the role that Confucianism has played in the social and cultural formation of the entire region. Just as civilizations are ever-changing, there has been nothing timeless or static about Confucianism.Berthrong's study is unique in its discussion of each of the historical and regional phases of the development of the Confucian Tao. All too often, Confucian studies have focused exclusively on the classical early period and the great thinkers of the later neo-Confucian revival in the Sung Ming dynasties. Berthrong's work opens the reader's eyes to the often neglected gifts of scholars of the Han, T'ang, and the modern periods, as well as to the vast contributions of Korea and Japan. The author concludes this revelatory study with an examination of the contemporary renewal of the Confucian Way in East Asia and its recent spread to the West.
John H. Berthrong is associate dean for academic and administrative affairs and director of the Institute for Dialogue Among Religious Traditions at Boston University.