Confucius was the only philosopher whose ideas were taken on as a full state religion. Born into an aristocratic family, he rose to become a minister in the state of Lu in China. After falling out with the ruler he became a wondering sage, trying to replace empty religious observances by teaching moral values as the basis of social and political order. The the "Virgin Philosophers Series" cover the life and ideas of the major philosophers, attempting to clarify the mysteries of philosophy for the general reader.
Paul Strathern is a professional writer, a former Somerset Maugham prize winner and author of five novels, as well as biographies and travel books. As a university lecturer, he taught philosophy, but also mathematics and modern Italian poetry. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Mendeleyev's Dream: The Quest for the Elements and the forthcoming Dr Strangelove's Game (both Hamish Hamilton)