Translation of Gongyang Commentary

Palgrave Macmillan has published Harry Miller’s complete translation of The Gongyang Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals. It is available as hardcover or eBook. The publisher’s description follows; check out the website for preview access to some of the book.

The Spring and Autumn Annals was a cryptic and mysterious chronicle of the history of China’s Zhou kingdom from the perspective of the feudal state of Lu from 722 to 481 BCE. When it was first written, scholars believed it was the work of the great sage Confucius (although no one really knows who wrote it), and they treated it like a religious scripture, analyzing and explaining even its smallest detail, determined to discover exactly what Confucius meant. Several schools of interpretation arose, and The Gongyang Commentary is the legacy of one of them. It takes the form of a catechism, a series of questions and answers on Confucius’s narrative, designed to explain why he described people and events the way he did. Confucius thus emerges as the original editorialist: offering praise and scorn, embellishing the exemplary and suppressing the embarrassing – passing judgment with nearly every word. The history itself – filled with diplomacy, war, intrigue, assassination, honor, and knavery – gave Confucius plenty to pass judgment on. The Gongyang Commentary has never before been translated into English.

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