An article in today’s New York Times discusses Bard College’s decsion to allow students to apply to Bard via submission of four 2,500 word essays, in lieu of the standard list of test scores and high school grades. My eye was drawn to the first of the questions listed in the article:
In “The Analects,” Confucius identifies the cardinal virtue of ren (variously translated as goodness, humanity, benevolence) with many different attitudes and behaviors. Yet Confucius also says, “There is one thread that runs through my doctrines.” Commentators differ about what that one thread is. What, in your opinion, could that one thread be? How does that one thread tie together the wide range of moral values that Confucius celebrates in “The Analects”? Support your answer by interpreting specific passages from the text.
This is perhaps less surprising, in light of the fact that Bard for several years used the Analects as a key reading in its First-Year Seminar program, and continues to include readings from classical Chinese thought.