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Rodney L. Taylor, Ph.D.
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Dr. Rodney L. Taylor, Professor of Religious Studies at University of Colorado at Boulder for more than 30 years, received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in East Asian religion. His principle area of specialization is the understanding of Confucianism as a religious tradition both historically and in the modern world where Confucianism can be a voice in the contemporary discussion of religion and spirituality.

His books include: The Religious Dimensions of Confucianism; The Way of Heaven; The Confucian Way of Contemplation; The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Confucianism; Confucianism (high school text); The Cultivation of Sagehood as a Religious Goal in Neo-Confucianism; They Shall Not Hurt: Human Suffering and Human Caring (with Dr. Jean Watson); The Holy Book in Comparative Perspective (with Dr. Frederick Denny) and his most recent volume, Confucius, the Analects: The Path of the Sage from Skylight Paths.

Entries by Rodney L. Taylor, Ph.D.

Confucius and the Age of Anxiety

(1) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 5:03 PM

One of the greatest innovations of Confucius' teachings was to change the meaning of the Noble Person from one of inherited rank by birth to one of nobility by moral stature. The Noble Person for Confucius was simply a person of moral goodness. This definition has a number of ramifications...

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The Passing of the Old Year: Confucian Thoughts

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2014 | 10:29 AM

The holidays are over, Winter Solstice has passed, and with each day, the sun warms our bodies and our hearts with a few more minutes of light as we move slowly toward Vernal Equinox and spring. Each religious tradition has expressed thoughts about this transition in our year and thus...

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The Confucian in the World: Neither Rustic Nor Pedant

(4) Comments | Posted August 9, 2013 | 1:22 PM

The juxtaposition of rustic and pedant may seem a bit odd at first glance -- why would one necessarily contrast these two figures? The contrast comes from an oft-quoted passage found in Confucius' writings in the Analects.

The Master said, " Where raw nature is in excess of culture, we...

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Partisanship: A Confucian Perspective

(5) Comments | Posted June 10, 2013 | 3:27 PM

Never a day passes, it seems, without some new level of partisanship as front-page news. Its effects, as we all know, are nothing short of derailing the very capacity of the government to carry out its most fundamental responsibilities. Rather than casting blame to one party or another for the...

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Confucian Thoughts on Aging

(22) Comments | Posted May 9, 2013 | 12:14 PM

We used to have our favorite Chinese restaurant in town. By we, I mean my spouse and I, our children and, when she was alive, my mother. Every couple of weeks it seemed we would make our pilgrimage to that spot of Chinese culinary delights for an evening meal. Of...

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Sitting By a Friend: Confucius on Tragedy

(21) Comments | Posted April 17, 2013 | 1:13 PM

In a selection from the Confucian Analects usually discussed as a description of Confucius' personality and character, there stands a very short passage (Analects VII: 9) that tells us a good deal about his feelings for others in times of tragedy and how he expresses such feelings. What better response...

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Confucius Say, 'YOLO!'

(20) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 2:02 PM

I had not heard the commonly expressed idiom YOLO ("you only live once") until my son mentioned it to me recently in a conversation saying, "So what does Confucius have to say about that!"

As I understand the phrase, it is used to suggest a lifestyle that...

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Winter Solstice: A Confucian View

(3) Comments | Posted December 24, 2012 | 4:20 PM

Here in Colorado its that time of the year again: shorter days, longer nights. It may not be so obvious in its physical appearance in a world dominated by technology to address our every need and convenience -- after all, we are able to keep much of the darkness and...

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Confucian Thoughts on Nature

(32) Comments | Posted November 14, 2012 | 7:00 AM

Apart from the numbing reading and rereading of election news, there appears to have been little else in our journalistic media for what seems far too long this election cycle. But if we can look beyond the political rhetoric, there have been several pieces suggesting the shear overload of not...

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Confucius on Nature

(6) Comments | Posted September 28, 2012 | 1:00 PM

The topic of nature and religion is one now discussed frequently, be it in the popular press or in more scholarly venues. Obviously much of the attention is in response to the issues of climate change and the recognition of the destructive path humankind has embarked upon in its limitless...

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The Simple Life: Confucius as Taoist?

(4) Comments | Posted August 16, 2012 | 11:06 AM

As with every religious tradition, there are often stereotypes associated with the founder or just with the tradition in general that frequently belie the subtlety or complexity of a worldview to the detriment of a full understanding of its teachings and practices.

Let's begin with a swiping view of...

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Testing and Blogging: What Would Confucius Say?

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2012 | 7:30 AM

For the Confucian tradition, and Confucius specifically, there is no time that is not a time for learning. Every event, every activity, every encounter is yet another occasion for learning, and to think of them in any less a fashion is to shortchange our capacity to engage always in the...

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Kool-Aid, Hemlock and Confucius

(3) Comments | Posted April 26, 2012 | 2:52 PM

The drinking of two beverages -- sweet Kool-Aid and bitter hemlock, has portrayed suicide in Western culture, but with profound differences in the meaning of the act. In their utilization, far beyond the particular historical circumstances surrounding either Kool-Aid or hemlock, they have assumed roles larger than life. Becoming profound...

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Civility: A Contemporary Confucian Plea

(2) Comments | Posted April 9, 2012 | 1:53 PM

Civility and contemporary society -- have they not simply become antithetical to each other?

Most of the time "civility" appears to be nothing but an old fashioned and out-of-fashion reminiscence of a by-gone era.

What has taken the place of civility in contemporary society may well represent "freedom...

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Sustainability, Wendell Berry and Confucius

(4) Comments | Posted March 18, 2012 | 9:23 PM

Wendell Berry, one of the original proponents of the principle of sustainability and a major social critic of 20th and now 21st century American society, has made surprisingly repeated references to Confucius and Confucian writings in his works. I say "surprisingly" because Berry, at first glance, might not seem like...

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Confucius on David Brooks

(8) Comments | Posted February 10, 2012 | 9:11 AM

I enjoy reading David Brooks, the op-ed columnist at the New York Times. I don't always agree with him, however I find his arguments cogent if not at times compelling, articulating views I like to take seriously and ponder.

Brooks' How to Fight the Man is a fascinating piece about...

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'Bowling Alone' -- With Confucius!

(2) Comments | Posted February 1, 2012 | 6:20 AM

The irony is delightful, maybe even a bit whimsical -- "bowling alone" with Confucius. The point, however, is poignant -- an insight into contemporary American society we might all stop and consider for a moment!

When the sociologist Robert Putnam first published his now well-known work Bowling Alone in 2000,...

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New Year's Resolutions: A Confucian View

(12) Comments | Posted December 29, 2011 | 2:09 PM

It's that time of year again when we find ourselves making those infamous resolutions for the New Year. While some may be of the most banal sort -- to lose weight, to drink less coffee, to take that dream vacation. Most, we might hope, suggest a focus upon the betterment...

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'Tis the Season -- With Confucius

(3) Comments | Posted December 20, 2011 | 3:02 PM

As we come into the holiday season, regardless of one's background or perspective, thoughts have a way of turning to the ideals we all seek, ideals that would make us all better people and the world a better place, ideals of generosity and love.

Sure, there are the Grinch...

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'Family Values' -- Confucian Style

(5) Comments | Posted November 29, 2011 | 9:21 AM

In a nation where the term "family values" has virtually become a bell weather gage for one's political affinities, the value of such values seems incapable of support without the implication of conservative or right wing political leanings.

But do family values have to have a political position? Can't...

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