Volume 35, Issue 1, March 2012
Learning Chinese Philosophy with Commentaries
The last two decades have seen a resurgence of interest in the study of classical Chinese texts by means of the subsequent commentaries. New versions of works like the Analects and Mencius that include selected commentaries have begun to appear, making some view about the value of commentaries necessary simply for picking which edition of a text to read. In this paper, I consider the potential role of the 2000-year-old commentarial tradition in the teaching and learning of Chinese philosophy. Given the difficulty of the original works, does the addition of commentaries make things better or worse from a student’s perspective? How far should we go in emphasizing the role of commentary in interacting with the texts?