#  Dao De Jing →

April 28th, 2010 | In Worth Reading 

It’s not new or news, but it’s a good read that I decided to chase down recently. I thought this (Stephen Mitchell’s) translation more readable than the others I encountered, though it should be noted that there’s a great deal of discord on the topic. Quoth the Wikipedia:

Critics of these versions, such as Taoism scholar Eugene Eoyang, claim that translators like Stephen Mitchell produce readings of the Tao Te Ching that deviate from the text and are incompatible with the history of Chinese thought.[6] Russell Kirkland goes further to argue that these versions are based on Western Orientalist fantasies, and represent the colonial appropriation of Chinese culture.[7][8] In contrast, Huston Smith, scholar of world religions, said of the Mitchell version, “This translation comes as close to being definitive for our time as any I can imagine. It embodies the virtues its translator credits to the Chinese original: a gemlike lucidity that is radiant with humor, grace, largeheartedness, and deep wisdom.” —Other Taoism scholars, such as Michael LaFargue[9] and Johnathan Herman,[10] argue that while they are poor scholarship they meet a real spiritual need in the West.

If you’re intimidated, some choice verses: 8, 16, 27, 41, 59.

(I don’t know a lot about Chinese, but I do know enough to loathe Wade-Giles. That said, this is more commonly known as the Tao Te Ching.)

Like this post? Subscribe via RSS or email, or follow on Twitter and you'll never miss another like it.