Press releases
News archive
Selected books
ARC Home > News and Resources > News archive:

A new translation by Martin Palmer brings ancient Chinese history and wisdom to life in the 21st century.

August 19, 2014:

’And remember: Heaven's blessing will cease forever if there's despair and poverty in your lands.’
(Confucius, The Most Venerable Book)

A wonderfully enjoyable storehouse of ancient Chinese history and legends, which also has an important role in understanding 21st century China, has just been published in a fresh translation by Martin Palmer (Secretary General of ARC)

The Most Venerable Book (also known as The Book of History) is one of the Five Classics. It is a key work of Chinese literature which preserves some of the most ancient and dramatic chronicles of the history, both real and mythological, of the Chinese state.

For many centuries it was a central work for anyone wishing to work for the Imperial administration, preserving as it does a fascinating mixture of key Confucian concepts as well as page after page of heroes, benevolent rulers, sagacious ministers, and struggles against flood, corruption and vicious, despotic rulers. The First Emperor tried in 213 BC to have all copies of the book destroyed because of its subversive implication that 'the Mandate of Heaven' could be withdrawn from rulers who failed their people. For similar reasons it was also banned by Chairman Mao.

This new statue of Confucius was recently unveiled in the grounds of Shenzhen Polytechnic
Confucius rediscovered

But, extraordinarily, the values of The Most Venerable Book have now been revived by the Chinese government . This rediscovery reflects an official reappraisal of Confucianism and the potential it may have to provide solutions to the social and environmental problems facing contemporary Chinese society. In 2013 several major Chinese Confucian organisations formed the International Confucian Ecological Alliance, a partnership working with ARC to promote environmental action inside China consistent with the teachings of Confucius. These remarkable developments make the issue of this new translation of Confucian thoughts both timely and useful.

Useful links

Penguin Books

International Confucian Ecological Alliance

< previous 
ARC site map
Related pages

What does Confucianism teach about ecology?
Confucian reflections about the natural world and our relationship with heaven and earth
Green pilgrimage network members
The vision is of pilgrims on all continents and the pilgrim cities that receive them, leaving a positive footprint on the Earth
July 15, 2014:
Confucius returns to the mainland: South China Morning Post story
The heat was intense. As the speakers took the podium in the gardens of Shenzhen Polytechnic a young woman fainted. Within a few seconds, a second student followed... article by ARC's Victoria Finlay on the return of Confucianism, ARC's latest faith partner.