The Commentarial Tradition

John B. Henderson, On Cho Ng

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


In the Confucian tradition, few students of the classics read canonical writings without the aid of some form of gloss or commentary. Not only was commentary necessary to illuminate the numerous obscurities in the canonical texts, but also to defend against heterodox interpretations that might arise from “naïve” explanations of the “plain meaning” of the text. But however valuable the services that commentators performed in illuminating obscurities in the canonical texts, this was not the only and perhaps not even the principal function of commentaries. Commentaries to the Analects also served a polemical purpose, to establish that the text lived up to a fairly universal set of criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDao Companions to Chinese Philosophy
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameDao Companions to Chinese Philosophy
ISSN (Print)2211-0275
ISSN (Electronic)2542-8780

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Philosophy


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