Confucianism, the Literati, and Chinese Imperial Traditions

Leadership, Authority, and Religious Roles

Is education especially important in Confucianism?

No major religious tradition has placed greater emphasis on education than Confucianism. That is not to suggest that Confucian teaching reduces the truth to mere intellectual development. For Confucians, education goes far beyond developing mental skills and acquiring information. It means the cultivation of the whole person within the broadest possible perspective—humanism under Heaven. A number of very important Confucian institutions of higher learning have made major contributions throughout Asia over the centuries. Perhaps even more pervasive has been the Confucian influence in the development and maintenance of China’s imperial civil service system, the educational system that produced and regulated the social class called the Literati.


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