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Back Book Title Between the Confucian Li and Ren : A Philosophical Hermeneutics

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Between the Confucian Li and Ren : A Philosophical Hermeneutics
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- Richard G. Ang, OP
- Philippines
- University of Santo Tomas Publishing House (UST Publishing House), Manila
- 9789715068345
- 2018
- xii, 182p. ; 23cm. Includes Index ; Bibliography
- Vol. 1
- Thomasian Studies on Religion and Ethnics Series
- 300 gms.
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1. Philosophy, Confucian 2. Li 3. Ren. With the appearance of this masterful book we no longer have a labor under the assumption that everything Confucius held is uniquely Chinese and therefore East Asian, or that we do better to care for those who are already familiar to us than simplistically to benefit strangers, or that ethics is a special knowledge that would be meaningful only to philosophers. Indeed, Richard Ang’s examination of the Confucian concepts of "Li" and "Ren" demonstrates that values play a crucial role in holding up the center of every identifiable socio-political culture—whether of ancient Greece or ancient Rome, modern China or contemporary Manila—and that they play a role also in defining the actions of such moral exemplars as Socrates, Confucius, Jesus, Gandhi, Jose Rizal, who cultivated in themselves those behaviors, dispositions, and qualities that produced their greater adaptability, innovativeness, resilience, and flexibility, eventually leading to the presence in themselves of a good and beautiful soul, that unique gem among other gems.
–Luis David, SJ Richard G. Ang’s book is so systematically presented, so convincingly argued, and so lucidly and elegantly written, that it is an indispensable addition to the library of both the expert and the layman. The significance of its contribution to philosophical scholarship and discourse will be determined in the near future by experts in the field. But, even now, its timeliness is indisputable. Aside from providing a detailed summary of recent scholarship on its subject, the author offers a historical review of the life and times of Confucius, an exhaustive examination of the Confucian concepts of “Li” and “Ren” and their interconnections, a succinct analysis of the major scholarly interpretations of the Li-Ren dynamics, and, finally, his original “contextual interpretation,” which takes into account the “moral cultivation of a person into a "Jun Zi" (roughly translated as the Confucian gentleman). Given China’s geo-political role as the world’s new, looming superpower, the value of its insights—for all who would attempt to better understand the consciousness of psyche of both the Chinese and the Filipino Chinese—is incalculable.
–Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo More than the systematic and penetrating analysis of the prevailing interpretations of the relation of the Confucian "Ren" and "Li" in recent scholarship that one will find in this work, what makes it significant is the particular reading of the relation of the said Confucian virtues which Ang offers. It can be said in this regard that Ang has effectively resolved the hermeneutical difficulty inherent in discerning as accurately as possible the original thought of Kong Zi, an erudite figure in the past, too far removed from our time. The compelling force of Ang’s propositioned interpretation lies in his ingenuity to read the mutual relation of "Ren" and "Li" in the context of the cultivation of the gentleman, which is the ultimate aim of the Confucian system. I commend the author for this important opus, which beyond doubt will enrich the contemporary discourse in Confucian studies.
–Jannel N. Abogado, OP

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