Classic of Filial Piety

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Classic of Filial Piety
Frontispiece of The Classic of Filial Piety (孝經) by Niu Shuyu.jpg
Niu Shuyu's frontispiece of The Classic of Filial Piety (1826)
Author (trad.) Confucius
Published c. 4th century BC
Classic of Filial Piety
Xiaojing (Chinese characters).svg
"Xiàojīng" in—from top to bottom—seal script and traditional and simplified characters
Traditional Chinese 孝經
Simplified Chinese 孝经

The Classic of Filial Piety, also known by its Chinese name as the Xiaojing, is a Confucian classic treatise giving advice on filial piety: that is, how to behave towards a senior such as a father, an elder brother, or ruler.


This document probably dates to the 4th century BC, it is not known who actually wrote the document. It is attributed to a conversation between Confucius and his disciple Zengzi. A 12th-century author named He Yin claimed: "The Classic of Filial Piety was not made by Zengzi himself. When he retired from his conversation (or conversations) with Kung-ne on the subject of Filial Piety, he repeated to the disciples of his own school what (the master) had said, and they classified the sayings, and formed the treatise."


Many Japanese translations of the Xiaojing exist, the following are the primary Western language translations.

  • Legge, James (1879). The Hsiâo King, in Sacred Books of the East, vol. III. Oxford University Press.
  • (in French) de Rosny, Leon (1889). Le Hiao-king. Paris: Maisonneuve et Ch. Leclerc. Republished (1893) as Le morale de Confucius: le livre sacré de la piété filiale. Paris: J. Maisonneuve.
  • Chen, Ivan (1908). The Book of Filial Piety. London: J. Murray; New York: E.P. Dutton & Co.
  • (in German) Wilhelm, Richard (1940). Hiau Ging: das Buch der Ehrfurcht. Peking: Verlag der Pekinger Pappelinsel.
  • Makra, Mary Lelia (1961). The Hsiao Ching, Sih, Paul K. T., ed. New York: St. John's University Press.
  • Ames, Roger T.; Rosemont, Henry, Jr. (2009). The Chinese Classic of Family Reverence: A Philosophical Translation of the Xiaojing. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

See also[edit]



Works cited[edit]

  • Barnhart, Richard (1993). Li Kung-lin's Classic of Filial Piety. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 0870996797. 
  • Boltz, William (1993). "Hsiao ching 孝經". In Loewe, Michael. Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide. Berkeley: Society for the Study of Early China; Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California Berkeley. pp. 141–52. ISBN 1-55729-043-1. 
  • Chen, Ivan (1908). The Book of Filial Duty. London: John Murray. 
  • Rosemont, Jr., Henry; Roger T. Ames (2009), the Chinese Classic of Family Reverence: a Philosophical Translation of the Xiaojing. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. ISBN 978-0824833480. 

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