An Inspection of David Collie’s Misinterpretations of The Analects, With a Focus on the Notes

Xiaoxue ZHANG


David Collie’s translation of The Analects displays obvious features of Christian influence and an inclination towards the Occidental culture, which is shown by the abundant annotations in his version. Through ample examples, the author proves that Collie was limited by his identity as a Christian missionary, the historical background of the time, as well as his tunnel vision of the Oriental culture, which led to serious distortions of the original work and misinterpretations of Confucianism. The problems can be classified into three major types. i.e. unfair criticisms of Confucius’ teachings, far-fetched allusions to Christianity and intentional propagations of Western culture. However, seen from another perspective, the biased interpretations may serve to illuminate and enrich the original in the hermeneutic sense, and are likely to inspire further and deeper reflections on the classical text, esp. in the context of cross-cultural communication.


David Collie; Translation of The Analects; Misinterpretations; Causes and effects

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