Set alongside The Analects and Mencius, these two texts make up the 'Four Books' of Chinese Confucian tradition. Their depiction of the 'Way of Great Learning' focuses on the moral tenets of Confucian thinking, establishing a universal framework that links individuals with the cosmos. By drawing together key ethical and philophical, and metaphysical issues, the essays deal with the individual's development of moral character. They have long occupied a central position in the educational and political infrastructure of China, Korea and Japan, and their influence and popularity continues to grow, in the East and in the West.
ANDREW PLAKS is Professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton University. He has published widely on Chinese philosophy and religion. XINZHONG YAO is Professor of Religion & Ethics at the University of Wales, Lampeter.