My Top 5 Books on Confucianism

These books can help Christians gain a better understanding of Confucianism and do better in our evangelism.

Confucianism is a belief system rather than a religion, a system of ethics rather than a story of the divine. As the former state religion of ancient China, Confucianism serves as the foundation for Chinese culture, shaping its worldview, forming its traditional values, and offering a structure for relationships and the challenges of everyday life.

Many of God’s truths, which Chinese people have observed and applied from general revelation, can be understood through Confucianism and acknowledged when Christians share the gospel with people of Chinese descent. For example, both recognize the corruption of humanity. But while the Bible finds the root of depravity in sin, Confucius blames it on a bad environment and doesn’t offer an account of what makes this context bad to being with. Understanding these similarities and differences can help us in our apologetics, evangelism, and ministry to Chinese people.

Below are five books about Confucianism that I recommend.

An Introduction to Confucianism

Xinzhong Yao

This is a balanced and concise textbook on Confucianism. Unlike many books that offer a linear account of Confucian intellectual history and influence, this title presents Confucianism as a system of thought with many dimensions and as an ancient tradition that still holds contemporary appeal. As we witness the growing interest in Confucian studies around the world today, this book gives us a glimpse of why this revival is taking place.

Confucius and the Chinese Way

H. G. Creel

What are some of the images or impressions that come to mind when we think of Kongzi (Confucius, 孔子) or Confucianism? It may surprise us today that the traditional Chinese depiction of Kongzi is not what we would expect for a sage who’s …

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