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Tao Te Ching Hardcover – December 11, 2007
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“This is by far the best translation on the market today.”—Livia Kohn, Professor of Religion, Boston University
Original Language: Chinese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Still, as an American consumer, I want the real deal, whether I'm buying a cheeseburger or an ancient philosophy. If true words can't be spoken, and you're gonna go and speak 'em anyway, at least make 'em as true as you can. I mean, what does a guy have to do to get the meaning of life around here, learn Chinese?
Enter Jonathan Star. Based on my comparison to five others, Star's lawn jart lands smack in the middle. Isn't that what Taoism is about? Getting to the center? He also made sure this would be the LAST translation you'd ever need, by including a second, "verbatim" translation-- a list of the various possible English meanings of every single Chinese character. Don't like something about his answer? Check his math. That's truly definitive. There might be other translations that do that, but I've got a shelf full of ones that don't, and I'm glad to say my search is finally over. I'm giving this book a perfect score. It's a good place to start AND a good place to finish.
On reading the table of contents for both editions I discovered that what Star's publishers appear to have done is to reissue the translation section of his original 2003 book without all the extra and very helpful information he had provided in the early edition.
My advice is to go and check out the 2003 edition before you commit to this later, less definitive, work.
Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition (2003)
This translation is excellent and is a personal favorite of mine. I give it "five stars" for integrity. Addiss and Lombardo explain, in their four page Introduction, the philosophy of how they translated the text and why it might be different from previous English translations. Indeed, they begin the Introduction as follows "There are already more than one hundred translations of the Tao Te Ching into English. Why should this text be translated again?" Then they proceed with a very persuasive case for this translation. For example, they have tried to "recreate much of the terse diction and staccato rhythm of the ancient Chinese" while other translations tend to be verbose. Also, they have specifically avoided any use of the gender specific pronouns, "he" and "she." Thus rendering the text neither politically correct nor politically incorrect.
Beyond the translation itself, this book is beautifully designed, with extensive use of Chinese calligraphy, art, and characters. This almost gives the impression of having an original copy of the Tao Te Ching in your hand.
If you want to read the Tao Te Ching, this is a great version. Three other good translations include those by Victor Mair, D.C. Lau, and John C. H. Wu. Personally I do not like the popular version by Stephen Mitchell, or the Gia-fu Feng & Jane English translation. They try too hard to be modern -- but who can fault them for trying?Read more ›
If you feel the same way, then Jonathan Star has come to your rescue with /Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition/. It starts out with an overview of Lao Tzu's work and the challenges that come with translating it. Then there is a rather good literary translation by the author, which sometimes takes a bit of artistic license - definitely not a bad thing. This is not the meat of the book, however. That part is the "definitive" translation itself - the literal translation. Every character of every chapter is provided, along with multiple possible meanings. Using this, you can compose your own interpretations of your favorite chapters, or the whole book if you wish.
The literal translation is extremely well done, and provided in a very accessible format that provides a lot of information in an easy to use manner. If I had to pick something to gripe about, it would be the fact that the literal translation uses Wade-Giles instead of Pinyin (this from a book with a 2001 copyright). I suppose this was to keep things consistent with the similarly old-style spellings "Tao", "Lao-Tzu", etc. This niggle is mitigated a bit by the concordance section of the book, which includes translations from Wade-Giles to Pinyin.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
THE book for a deeper study of the I Ching. Most useful were the character-by-character verbatim translations (with many wording options. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Katy Butler
It's a problem pretty good translation. It was also really insightful.Published 1 month ago by Jeremy G.
I found it to be a bit cryptic and I'm not one for poetry but I still found that the book held a great deal of wisdom.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I have read many copies and translations but this one is by far my favorite. If looking for spiritual, mystical, practical and meaningful buy this translation. Read morePublished 3 months ago by David Westlake