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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tao Teh Ching: By John C.H Wu., 25 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Tao Te Ching (Shambhala Library) (Hardcover)
The oldest extant versions of the Tao Teh Ching (Daodejing) are the Guodian (300BCE), and the Mawangui (168BCE). These maybe added to a number of not so old versions known after the scholars who commentated upon the text, dating to he Han Dynasty (206-BCE-220CE), which culminated in an authoritative edition written by the Han-Wei scholar Wang Bi (226-249). John Wu (1899-1986) presents in this volume, the full 81 chapters of the Chinese text of the Wang Bi version, together with a complete rendering into English.

The paperback (1989) Shambhala edition contains 165 numbered pages, and contains 3 sections:

1) Foreword.
2) Editor's Notes.
3) Tao Teh Ching (81 chapters).

The Chinese text is from the Lao Chieh Lao edition compiled by Ts'ai T'ing Kan, and printed privately in 1922. By and large, Wu keeps to Wang Bi's original reading, but in the editorial notes compiled by Paul KT Sih, there are listed 7 changes, were Wu has departed from the original. These are very minor alterations usually based upon the collective scholarship of Chinese commentators over the last two thousand years - which involves correcting the odd Chinese ideogram here and there. The over-all meaning is not diminished as a result, but rather enhanced.

The Tao Teh Ching is a Taoist (Daoist) text written by the sage Laozi. It is a text that advocates the perception and following of the Way (Tao) of nature, so that human behaviour becomes non-competitive and at one with nature's cycles. The 81 chapters are actually two books placed together:

1) Tao Ching - Chapters 1-37.
2) Teh Ching - Chapters 38-81.

That is the 'Way Classic', and the 'Virtue Classic'. It is likely that at some point in the distant past, two different Taoist texts were compiled into one book, sharing a combined title. Tao Teh Ching translates as Way of Virtue Classic. Wu presents a stark and direct English translation that captures the simplicity of the Chinese original, free of over-complication and digress. A timeless translation classic.
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