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The Analects is the title of a book purported to contain the words and acts of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. It was written over a period of 30 to 50 years between 479BCE and 221BCE. The earliest fragments of the document were found written on bamboo strips and have been dated to some time before 55BCE.


The Analects can be considered significant for several reasons.

  • It is the representative document of Confucianism, a philosophy that is still highly significant to East Asian thinking and has been so for over 2000 years.
  • It is possible to draw parallels between the Analects and the Sermon on the Mount, often considered by Christians to be the finest sermon, and the best advice ever given. The concept of the ethic of reciprocity is mentioned in both texts: Matthew 7-12 Bible-icon.png and Analects XV:24. The existence of this and other versions of the ethic of reciprocity prove that values often claimed to be divinely inspired were predated by secular thinking as well as by philosophers of faiths other than Christianity.