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While we trace the study of Confucianism in the West to the 16th and 17th centuries when Christian missionaries/scholars started deliberating on the teaching, doctrine and practice of Confucius and his followers, Confucian Studies as an academic discipline taught throughout the world took real momentum in the late 20th century. In the past 30 years in particular, scholarship on Confucianism has grown rapidly in and outside China, with an increasing number of scholars focusing on Confucianism as one of the key philosophical, cultural, political and spiritual elements in East Asian civilisation. The new scholarship has gone well beyond traditional ‘sinology’ boundaries confining Confucianism to historical classics; it has explored Confucianism from many different perspectives such as politics, economics, sociology, anthropology, history, aesthetics and arts, education, religion, gender studies, cultural studies etc.
Confucian Studies has become an intensively debated field where scholars and students of different academic backgrounds have reexamined Confucian teachings and practices, reassessed Confucian relevance and values to contemporary life, and engaged in Confucian dialogues with other philosophical and religious traditions in the world. This is the first book to systematically examine major themes that have developed in Confucian Studies and provide a scholarly, reliable and easily accessible guide to students and scholars. It will consolidate our current understanding of Confucian theories and practices and form a key reference about Confucian Studies for academics, students and the general public who are interested in Confucianism, China, East Asian culture and inter-civilization dialogue.