Angle, S. C. (2001). Review of Neville: Portable Tradition. Journal Of Asian Studies.
“Boston Confucianism” means two things, according to Robert Cummings Neville. The first is “the general project of bringing the Confucian tradition into play with the other great civilized traditions in the creation of a world civilization” [p. 1]. The second is “the work of the group of Confucian thinkers gathered in and around Boston under the leadership of Professor Tu Weiming” [p. 1]. Neville’s remarks about “tradition” and about Tu’s “leadership” make clear that he understands Confucianism to be something more than a typical philosophical doctrine. Consider also the following statement: “The long-run argument for the orthodoxy of Boston Confucianism has to be that the inclusion of Xunzi as a portable root for planting in America brings out the best in Confucianism for this situation” [p. 7]. Neville is arguing that the approach of the group led by Tu is “orthodox” because it is the most fruitful way to promote moral, political, and spiritual value via the Confucian tradition. Confucianism, for Neville, is a live tradition that one can (and should) practice.