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Dao De Jing: The Book of the Way (book review) Lao Tzu

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220611: this is probably the most academically accurate of the translations I have read of this book, but still prefer commentary of [book:Tao Te Ching|136370]. this brings up the question: is exactness of rendering less or more important than readability?

this version allows various meanings of translations, various organizations and omissions of lines or entire stanzas, and excellent introductory essay on era, Taoism, confucianism, common terms dao, de, tian and how they are translated. he uses the mawangdui a and b text as baseline, being the oldest extant, but also the guodian verses in comparison, primarily in mentioning 'this line/stanza is not in guodian version'...

as academically important, he describes the actual graphs of Chinese characters and what they might suggest, eg one=yi=flat line, dividing heaven and earth. essential understanding is that contrary to patriarchal heredity as primary in confucianism, there is absolute equality of all ten thousand things under the mother, the Way, from creatures to humans, and there is no order that the world be subjected to human ends...

some translations I can recognise from other versions but to know more I would have to learn to read ancient Chinese, but some lines I had thought were particularly concise summations of Taoism turn out to be common sayings of the time (rule great kingdom as cooking small fish, eg. meddle with little as possible), some concepts so familiar that I must have read in earlier translations (water is gentle but alone can carve hardest rock), some concepts remain difficult to accept uninterpreted (full bellies and empty minds is how to rule), but there is always the possibility of further translations and commentaries...

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