Common Names of Confucius

Confucius, the great Chinese thinker and social philosopher who lived during 551 BC – 479 BC in China.

Most must have heard of the Confucius while traveling to East Asian countries such as China and Taiwan. Some may have read on topics covering in Chinese culture or visiting Confucius temples featured in travel books.

Interesting as this set of educational doctrinaire philosophies may be taught, it is not considered as a religion for one to worship relating spiritual matters.

Confucius is a system of ethics, it focus directly on human and social responsibility.

There are much to learn about Confucianism  and Confucius quotes to share.

Before writing more posts on Confucius topics, there are a few names commonly seen to identify the same person or teaching.

Use it as a reference to clearly explain the meaning, so that one will not be dazed and confused by the ethics, thoughts, philosophies in Confucianism.

  1. Confucius ~ Latinised name of Chinese philosopher, who was later introduced to Europe by the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci.
  2. Confucianism ~ Not a name of person. Define as Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius.
  3. Master Kong ~ Literally translate from Chinese character 孔夫子 (pronounce as Kong Fuzi, three syllabus). Sometime seen as K’ung-fu-tzu in written books.
  4. Kong Fu Zi (孔夫子) ~ Same meaning as Master Kong. The middle name Fu (夫) is additional and may be omitted.
  5. Kong Zi (孔子)~ Also as K’ung-tzu. Translate from “Master Kong”, or shortened name from 孔夫子. An identification upholding more respect from the real name described next.
  6. Kong Qiu (孔丘)~ combination of surname Kong (孔) and given name Qiu (丘). The name used before honored as Master Kong or teacher, such as during academia period name used in classes.
  7. Zhong Ni (仲尼) ~  is a courtesy name. A traditional Chinese practice for owning a ‘style name’ to signify adulthood and respect.

There are some other great names to identify Confucius, mostly in Chinese language. The above-mentioned names are widely used in books, academia or in spoken discussion.

As China modernize, the newer generation prefer contemporary than the ancient names. So if you have Chinese friends in school or at work, naming Confucius“, “Kong Fu Zi” or “Kong Zi” is clearly understandable.