The Classic of the Way and Virtue: A New Translation of the Tao-te Ching of Laozi as Interpreted by…

Paperback | March 24, 2004

Translated byRichard John Lynn

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The essential Taoist book and one of a triad that make up the most influential religious and philosophical writings of Chinese tradition, the Tao-te Ching is the subject of hundreds of new interpretive studies each year. As Taoism emerges as one of the East Asian philosophies most interesting to Westerners, an accessible new edition of this great work-written for English-language readers, yet rendered with an eye toward Chinese understanding-has been much needed by scholars and general readers.

Richard John Lynn, whose recent translation of theI Ching was hailed by the Times Literary Supplement as "the best I Ching that has so far appeared," presents here another fine translation. Like his I Ching, this volume includes the interpretive commentary of the third-century scholar Wang Bi (226-249), who wrote the first and most sophisticated commentary on the Tao-te Ching.

Lynn's introduction explores the centrality of Wang's commentaries in Chinese thought, the position of the Tao-te Ching in East Asian tradition, Wang's short but brilliant life, and the era in which he lived. The text consists of eighty-one short, aphoristic sections presenting a complete view of how the sage rules in accordance with the spontaneous ways of the natural world. Although the Tao-te Ching was originally designed to provide advice to the ruler, the Chinese regard its teachings as living and self-cultivation tools applicable to anyone. Wang Bi's commentaries, following each statement, flesh out the text so that it speaks to the modern Western reader as it has to Asians for more than seventeen centuries.

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From the Publisher

The essential Taoist book and one of a triad that make up the most influential religious and philosophical writings of Chinese tradition, the Tao-te Ching is the subject of hundreds of new interpretive studies each year. As Taoism emerges as one of the East Asian philosophies most interesting to Westerners, an accessible new edition o...

Richard John Lynn is professor of Chinese thought and literature at the University of Toronto. He is the author or translator of five books, including The Classic of Changes: A New Translation of the I Ching as Interpreted by Wang Bi. (Columbia)

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.58 × 4.86 × 0.65 inPublished:March 24, 2004Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231105819

ISBN - 13:9780231105811

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

The WorkWang BiWorks by Wang BiTranslator's NoteOutline Introduction to the Laozi, by Wang BiLaozi, with the Commentary of Wang BiPart 1 Part 2

Editorial Reviews

Lynn's translation is excellent. He approaches Wang Bi's text as it should be approached, that is as a piece of philosophical writing... [A]n important contribution to our knowledge of commentarial methodology which played a dominating role throughout the intellectual history of imperial China. With this beautiful translation buttressed by the best of scholarship on Laozi in Chinese and Japanese as well as in Western languages, Richard Lynn has brought Wang Bi's commentaries to life in English and greatly enhanced our understanding of the Dao de jing. A monumental achievement!