Analects of Confucius

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  • Chinese/Japanese: 論語 (Lún Yǔ / Rongo)

The Analects of Confucius are a collection of the teachings of Confucius, the core original text of Confucian philosophy, and the sole surviving record of information about the historical Confucius himself, and his teachings.[1] Compiled by his disciples, and their disciples, the text consists of numerous anecdotes describing conversations with Confucius, or elements of his life, divided into twenty chapters. Most of the anecdotes begin with the phrase "The Master said" (子曰, C: zi yuē, J: shi iwaku), which has thus led to the stereotypical phrase in English, "Confucius say..."

The word "Analects" comes from the Greek analekta, meaning "selections,"[2] and the text is indeed a mere compilation of bits selected by the disciples and adherents who compiled it. The East Asian name for the text, however, might translate more literally as "words of rhetoric" or "discourse."


  1. Albert Craig, The Heritage of Chinese Civilization, Third Edition, Prentice Hall (2011), 15-18.
  2. "Confucius and the Analects," Sources of Chinese Tradition, 42.