Boston Confucianism

Starting in the late 20th century, America has seen the rise of its own indigenous form of Confucianism known as Boston Confucianism. “Boston Confucians” was a term that began to be used jokingly in the late 1980s at conferences of Confucian-Christian dialogue to refer to the representatives from the Boston area. However, the initial joking nature has come to define an intellectual movement. This small but growing group of intellectuals seeks both to promote Confucianism by showing what it can offer the world, and to argue that Confucianism can stand alone outside of its East Asian roots. For example, one of the main figures of the movement, Robert Cummings Neville, who does not speak or read Chinese, considers himself to be both a Confucian and a Christian. In other words, the Boston Confucians are arguing that one does not need to be an East Asian, read Classical Chinese, or abandon other religious affiliations to understand and incorporate this philosophy into one’s way of life.