Confucius and The Analects FAQ

Temple of Confucius, Qufu

Temple of Confucius, Qufu

Here is a list of frequently asked questions about Confucius and the Analects. I will update them as they occur to me.

Q: Did Confucius have any brothers or sisters?

A: Confucius had nine half-sisters, who were the daughters of his father’s first wife. None of their names appear to have survived. He also had half-brother called Meng Pi, who was the son of his father’s first concubine. Meng Pi had a lame foot and because of his disability was deemed unfit to carry out the rites towards the family’s ancestors. After Confucius’s father died, Confucius’s mother Yan Zhengzai (颜徵在) took both her son and Meng Pi to live with her family. Following the death of his mother, Confucius continued to support Meng Pi for the rest of his life.

Q: Which followers of Confucius appear in Book 1 of the Analects?

A: The following disciples appear in Book 1: Youzi (有子) , Zengzi (曾子), Zixia (子夏), Ziqin (子禽), and Zigong (子貢). You can learn more about them by clicking on the embedded links and by reading this post.

Q: Was Confucius religious or spiritual?

A: Confucius was much more interested in solving the problems of the here and now rather than worrying about whether gods or spirits existed or the possibility of an after-life. His attitude is probably best summed up in Chapter 20 of Book 7 of the Analects, which says: “Confucius never talked of strange phenomena, prodigious feats of strength, rebellions, or spirits.”

Q: Did Confucius play any sports?

A: Confucius was an active outdoorsman in his younger years and enjoyed archery and fishing. However, he regarded archery as a ritual rather than as a sport and was opposed to any form of competition. You can learn more about his views on this subject in Chapter 7 and Chapter 16 of Book 3 of the Analects.

Additional Resources on Book 1 of the Analects
You can click here for a list of additional resources covering Book 1 of the Analects. Please feel free to email me at if you have any additional questions you’d like me to answer.

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