The Daodejing of Laozi – Philip J. Ivanhoe Dao De Jing: The Book of the Way – Moss Roberts. Steven Shankman. University of Oregon. The Daodejing of Laozi. Translation and Commentary by Philip J. Ivanhoe. (New York ment is sometimes clearer, while Roberts attempts to recreate Laozi's. Editorial Reviews. Review. Why another translation of the Daodejing? Ivanhoe manages, unlike some scholarly translators, to respect the intellectual, social.

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Philip J. Ivanhoe's richly annotated translation of this classic work is accompanied by his engaging interpretation and commentary, a lucid introduction, and a. These are the Dao de jing (道德經, The Classic of the Dao and of Virtue) by Laozi 老. 子 and the works of the quirky recluse Zhuangzi 莊子, which appear in a. The Daodejing Of Laozi PDF Download, PDF The Daodejing Of Laozi Popular Download, Free Download The Daodejing Of Laozi Full Popular Laozi, Philip J.

According to an old Chinese saying, "Good things come in pairs. Ivanoe's The Daodejing of Laozi.

The Daodejing is the most translated of the Chinese classics, and there are more than "forty versions in English alone" Roberts, p. What makes these two new translations stand out is the linguistic sensitivity and philosophical sophistication of both.

Ludwig Wittgenstein once compared the complexity and multiplicity of language to a confusing "ancient city" with "a maze of little streets and squares, of old and new houses, and of houses with additions from various periods. The Daodejing is such a challenging text.

Its mystical subject matter, its brevity, and the lexical and grammatical changes in the Chinese language all make it especially demanding for translators. According to Jacques Lacan, there is "an incessant sliding of the signified under the signifier.

The connotations of many words have changed so much that it is often very difficult to determine the most appropriate choice for some seemingly simple words. In modern Chinese, miao means "wonder," "excellence," or "subtlety. In classical Chinese, the subject of a sentence is often omitted and a noun can be used as a verb, depending on the context.

The Daodejing of Laozi – Philip J. Ivanhoe Dao De Jing: The Book of the Way – Moss Roberts

It is very confusing for non Chinese readers if the text is translated word for word, as some translators have attempted to do. If the Laozi was a work of the sixth or fifth century B. There is little consensus among scholars, however, on the date or authorship of the Laozi, as we shall see below.

In the eyes of the faithful, the Dao is a divine reality, and Laozi is seen as the personification of the Dao. Lao Dan is but one manifestation of the divine Laozi, albeit a pivotal one because of the writing of the Daodejing, which in religious Daoism commands devotion as a foundational scripture that promises not only wisdom but also immortality and salvation to those who submit to its power.

During the Tang dynasty — C. The influence of the Laozi on Chinese culture is both deep and far-reaching. One indication of its enduring appeal and hermeneutical openness is the large number of commentaries devoted to it throughout Chinese history—some seven hundred, according to one count W. Chan , The Laozi played a significant role in informing not only philosophic thought but also the development of literature, calligraphy, painting, music, martial arts, and other cultural traditions.

Imperial patronage enhanced the prestige of the Laozi and enlarged its scope of influence. In C. In religious Daoism, recitation of the Daodejing is a prescribed devotional practice and features centrally in ritual performance. The Daodejing has been set to music from an early time. The influence of the Laozi extends beyond China, as Daoism reaches across Asia and in the modern period, the Western world.

The Daodejing of Laozi

During the seventh century, the Laozi was translated into Sanskrit; in the eighteenth century a Latin translation was brought to England, after which there has been a steady supply of translations into Western languages, yielding a handsome harvest of some LaFargue and Pas , , with new ones still hitting bookstores and internet sites almost every year.

A forthcoming translation is Minford The influence of the Laozi on Western thinkers is the subject of Clarke From nature lovers to management gurus, a growing audience is discovering that the Laozi has something to offer to them.

The reception of the Laozi in modern Asia and the West falls outside the scope of this article; nevertheless, it is important to note that the Laozi should be regarded not only as a work of early Chinese philosophy, but also in a larger context as a classic of world literature with keen contemporary relevance.

The next three sections are intended for readers who are interested in the textual history and commentarial tradition of the Laozi, including the major manuscripts recovered through archaeological excavations or from the antiquities market. They are important to understanding the Laozi, but one may go directly to section 5 on the main interpretive approaches to the text if one wishes to bypass them.

Date and Authorship of the Laozi The date of composition refers to the time when the Laozi reached more or less its final form; it does not rule out later interpolations or corruptions. The traditional view, of course, is that the Laozi was written by Lao Dan in the sixth or early fifth century B. This seems unlikely, however, if it is assumed that the Laozi was written by a single author. As the archaeological evidence to be presented below will indicate, bodies of sayings attributed to Laozi were committed to writing probably from the second half of the fifth century B.

These collections grew, competed for attention, and gradually came to be consolidated during the fourth century B.

By the middle of the third century B. It is possible, as A. Graham suggests, that the Laozi was ascribed to Lao Dan around B. It seems reasonable to suppose that Laozi, whether or not his real name was Li Er, attracted a following and that some of his sayings entered the world of Chinese philosophical discourse during the fifth century B. A process of oral transmission may have preceded the appearance of these sayings in written form.

It is conceivable that a succession of editors or compilers brought together diverse bodies of Laozi sayings, resulting in the mature Laozi. According to Bruce Brooks and Taeko Brooks, the Laozi contains different layers of material spanning the period between and B.

Although in this sense the Laozi may be regarded as a composite work, the product of many hands over a long period of time, it should not be assumed that the sayings that now inhabit the Laozi were put together at random.

The language of the Laozi does provide some clues to its date of composition. Much of the text is rhymed. Focusing on rhyme patterns, Liu Xiaogan and concludes that the poetic structure of the Laozi is closer to that of the Shijing Classic of Poetry than that of the later Chuci Songs of Chu. The dating of the Shijing and the Chuci is by no means precise, although generally the poems collected in the former should not be later than the early fifth century B.

For this reason, Liu Xiaogan argues, the traditional view first articulated by Sima Qian should be upheld. Both Liu and Baxter provide a concise analysis of the different theories of the date of the Laozi. Why is all this important?

It may be argued that date and authorship are immaterial to and may detract from interpretation. Issues of provenance are important, however, if context has any role to play in the production of meaning. There are different ways to date the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, but they do not affect the discussion here.

As the political conditions deteriorated, philosophers and strategists, who grew both in number and popularity as a social group or profession during this time, vied to convince the rulers of the various states of their program to bring order to the land. At the same time, perhaps with the increased displacement and disillusionment of the privileged elite, a stronger eremitic tradition also emerged.

If the bulk of the Laozi had originated from the fourth century, it might reflect some of these concerns. From this perspective, the origin of the Laozi is as much a hermeneutical issue as it is a historical one. Textual Traditions The discovery of two Laozi silk manuscripts at Mawangdui, near Changsha, Hunan province in marks an important milestone in modern Laozi research. The Hunan Provincial Museum website also provides useful information. Before this find, access to the Laozi was mainly through the received text of Wang Bi — C.

There are other manuscript versions, but by and large they play a secondary role in the history of the classic. But first, a note on the title and structure of the Daodejing. According to the Shiji Later sources added that it was Emperor Jing who established the text officially as a classic. However, the title Daodejing appears not to have been widely used until later, toward the close of the Han era. Most versions exceed five thousand characters by about five to ten percent, but it is interesting to note that numerological considerations later became an integral part of the history of the work.

This claim cannot be verified, but a number of Laozi manuscripts discovered at Dunhuang contain 4, characters. The current Daodejing is divided into two parts pian and 81 chapters or sections zhang. Part one, comprising chapters 1—37, has come to be known as the Daojing Classic of Dao , while chapters 38—81 make up the Dejing Classic of Virtue. In this context, it is easy to appreciate the tremendous interest occasioned by the discovery of the Mawangdui Laozi manuscripts.

The two manuscripts contain all the chapters that are found in the current Laozi, although the chapters follow a different order in a few places.

For example, in both manuscripts, the sections that appear as chapters 80 and 81 in the current Laozi come immediately after a section that corresponds to chapter 66 of the present text. One scholar, in fact, has adopted the title Dedaojing Te-Tao ching for his translation of the Mawangdui Laozi Henricks It seems unlikely that the Mawangdui arrangement stems simply from scribal idiosyncrasy or happenstance—e.

This raises important questions for interpretation. The division into 81 chapters reflects numerological interest and is associated particularly with the Heshanggong version, which also carries chapter titles. It was not universally accepted until much later, perhaps the Tang period, when the text was standardized under the patronage of Emperor Xuanzong r. Traditional sources report that some versions were divided into 64, 68, or 72 chapters; and some did not have chapter divisions Henricks The earlier Guodian texts see below are not divided into two parts, but in many places they employ a black square mark to indicate the end of a section.

The sections or chapters so marked generally agree with the division in the present Laozi.

Thus, although the chapter formation may be relatively late, some attempt at chapter division seems evident from an early stage of the textual history of the Daodejing. Until about two decades ago, the Mawangdui manuscripts held the pride of place as the oldest extant manuscripts of the Laozi.

In late , the excavation of a tomb identified as M1 in Guodian, Jingmen city, Hubei province, yielded among other things some bamboo slips, of which are inscribed, containing over 13, Chinese characters. Some of these, amounting to about 2, characters, match the Laozi see Allan and Williams , and Henricks The tomb is located near the old capital of the state of Chu and is dated around B.

Robbers entered the tomb before it was excavated, although the extent of the damage is uncertain. The bamboo texts, written in a Chu script, have been transcribed into standard Chinese and published under the title Guodian Chumu zhujian Beijing: Wenwu, , which on the basis of the size and shape of the slips, calligraphy, and other factors divides the Laozi material into three groups.

Group A contains thirty-nine bamboo slips, which correspond in whole or in part to the following chapters of the present text: 19, 66, 46, 30, 15, 64, 37, 63, 2, 32, 25, 5, 16, 64, 56, 57, 55, 44, 40 and 9.

Groups B and C are smaller, with eighteen chs. There is one important clue, however. Ding , 7—9. Taking into account all the available evidence, it seems likely that different collections of sayings attributed to Laozi expanded and gained currency during the fourth century B.

They would have been derived from earlier, oral or written sources.

Philosophy East and West

During the third century B. Even more recently, the growing family of Laozi texts welcomed another new arrival. In January , Peking University accepted a gift of a sizeable collection of inscribed bamboo slips, said to have been retrieved from overseas. Among them, we find a nearly complete version of the Laozi. Although the published material to date did not mention any carbon dating of the slips, the consensus among the scholars who have worked with them is that they date to the Western Han dynasty.

The Beida Laozi agrees with the Mawangdui manuscripts in another important respect; that is, Part 1 also corresponds to chapters 38—81 of the current chapter version, or the Dejing, and Part 2, chapters 1—37, or Daojing. Like the Mawangdui manuscripts, the Beida Laozi also records the number of characters at the end of each part. In terms of wording, the Beida Laozi agrees with the Mawangdui manuscripts in many instances, although in some places it agrees rather with that of the received text.

However, the Beida text agrees with the standard version at the beginning of Chapter 2, as opposed to the shorter formulation found in the Guodian and Mawangdui versions. What is equally significant is that the sequence or order of the chapters is exactly the same as that in the received Laozi.

The difference lies in the division of some of the chapters. Chapters 17—19 of the received text form one chapter in the Beida Laozi.

The same is true for chapters 6—7, 32—33 and 78— However, the current chapter 64 appears as two chapters in the Beida slips. Altogether there are 77 chapters. Each chapter is clearly marked, with a round dot at the start, and each chapter starts on a separate bamboo slip. The Beida Laozi is almost intact in its entirety, missing only some 60 characters when compared with the received text. While it offers fresh glimpses into the development of the text, it does not provide any significant new insight into the meaning of the Laozi.

A series of articles on the Peking University bamboo slips were published in the journal Wenwu , no. The Beida Laozi was published in December and launched in February Although the majority of scholars accept the authenticity of the find, a notable critic is Xing Wen, who argues strongly that it is a forgery Xing ; for a critical discussion in English, see Foster In summary, two approaches to the making of the Laozi warrant consideration, for they bear directly on interpretation.

Parent topics

Some of these sayings were preserved in the Guodian bamboo texts. On this view, the Laozi underwent substantial change and grew into a longer and more complex work during the third century B. The Mawangdui manuscripts were based on this mature version of the Laozi; the original emphasis on politics, however, can still be detected in the placement of the Dejing before the Daojing. Later versions reversed this order and in so doing subsumed politics under a broader philosophical vision of Dao as the beginning and end of all beings.

As distinguished from a linear evolutionary model, what is suggested here is that there were different collections of sayings attributed to Laozi, overlapping to some extent but each with its own emphases and predilections, inhabiting a particular interpretive context. Although some key chapters in the current Laozi that deal with the nature of Dao e.

This seems to argue against the suggestion that the Laozi, and for that matter ancient Chinese philosophical works in general, were not interested or lacked the ability to engage in abstract philosophic thinking, an assumption that sometimes appears to underlie evolutionary approaches to the development of Chinese philosophy. The Guodian and Mawangdui finds are extremely valuable.

They are syntactically clearer than the received text in some instances, thanks to the larger number of grammatical particles they employ. Nevertheless, they cannot resolve all the controversies and uncertainties surrounding the Laozi.

In my view, the nature of Dao and the application of Daoist insight to ethics and governance probably formed the twin foci in collections of Laozi sayings from the start. They were then developed in several ways—e. The demand for textual uniformity rose when the Laozi gained recognition, and consequently the different textual traditions eventually gave way to the received text of the Laozi. As mentioned, the current Laozi on which most reprints, studies and translations are based is the version that comes down to us along with the commentaries by Wang Bi and Heshanggong.

Three points need to be made in this regard. First, technically there are multiple versions of the Wang Bi and Heshanggong Laozi—over thirty Heshanggong versions are extant—but the differences are on the whole minor.

Second, the Wang Bi and Heshanggong versions are not the same, but they are sufficiently similar to be classified as belonging to the same line of textual transmission. Third, the Wang Bi and Heshanggong versions that we see today have suffered change. Prior to the invention of printing, when each manuscript had to be copied by hand, editorial changes and scribal errors are to be expected.

Boltz and Wagner have examined this question in some detail. The Sibu beiyao and Sibu congkan are large-scale reproductions of traditional Chinese texts published in the early twentieth century. The former contains the Wang Bi version and commentary, together with a colophon by the Song scholar Chao Yuezhi — , a second note by Xiong Ke ca. The Heshanggong version preserved in the Sibu congkan series is taken from the library of the famous bibliophile Qu Yong fl.

Older extant Heshanggong versions include two incomplete Tang versions and fragments found in Dunhuang. Reportedly, this version was recovered from a tomb in C.

There are some differences, but these two can be regarded as having stemmed from the same textual tradition. Manuscript fragments discovered in the Dunhuang caves form another important source in Laozi research. Among them are several Heshanggong fragments especially S. It is signed and dated at the end, bearing the name of the third-century scholar and diviner Suo Dan, who is said to have made the copy, written in ink on paper, in C.

Over twenty steles, mainly of Tang and Song origins, are available to textual critics, although some are in poor condition Yan Students of the Laozi today can work with several Chinese and Japanese studies that make use of a large number of manuscript versions and stone inscriptions notably Ma , Jiang , Zhu , and Shima Boltz offers an excellent introduction to the manuscript traditions of the Laozi.

Lou and Lynn A major contribution to Laozi studies in Chinese is Liu Xiaogan , which compares the Guodian, Mawangdui, Fu Yi, Wang Bi, and Heshanggong versions of the Laozi and provides detailed textual and interpretive analysis for each chapter. In an article in English, Liu sets out some of his main findings. Commentaries Commentaries to the Laozi offer an invaluable guide to interpretation and are important also for their own contributions to Chinese philosophy and religion.

Two chapters in the current Hanfeizi chs. Queen Nevertheless, Laozi learning began to flourish from the Han period. Some mention will also be made of later developments in the history of the Daodejing. The late Isabelle Robinet has contributed an important pioneering study of the early Laozi commentaries ; see also Robinet Traditionally, the Heshanggong commentary is regarded as a product of the early Han dynasty. The name Heshanggong means an old man who dwells by the side of a river, and some have identified the river in question to be the Yellow River.

An expert on the Laozi, he caught the attention of Emperor Wen, who went personally to consult him. Chan Recent Chinese studies generally place the commentary at the end of the Han period, although some Japanese scholars would date it to as late as the sixth century C. It is probably a second-century C. Chan a. A careful diet, exercise, and some form of meditation are implied, but generally the commentary focuses on the diminishing of selfish desires.

In this way, self-cultivation and government are shown to form an integral whole. Yan Zun is well remembered in traditional sources as a recluse of great learning and integrity, a diviner of legendary ability, and an author of exceptional talent. The famous Han poet and philosopher Yang Xiong 53 B. The Laozi zhigui abbreviated hereafter as Zhigui , as it now stands, is incomplete; only the commentary to the Dejing, chapters 38—81 of the current Laozi, remains.

The best edition of the Zhigui is that contained in the Daozang Daoist Canon, no.We can relate this endurance to what might be called the elementality of water. Change as development may require more effort than change as decline.

Let us look at several important passages in the Daodejing in order to do this. Water is good at benefiting the myriad creatures, while not contending with them. The difference lies in the division of some of the chapters. The next three sections are intended for readers who are interested in the textual history and commentarial tradition of the Laozi, including the major manuscripts recovered through archaeological excavations or from the antiquities market.

At the critical level, the Laozi emphasizes the relativity of knowledge and value. The story continues that Laozi bestowed a number of titles upon Yinxi and took him on a journey throughout the universe, even into the nine heavens.

In an influential essay, A. In ethical terms, Wang Bi takes nonaction to mean freedom from the dictates of desire.

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