Tao te Ching Paperback – Aug 25 2003
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"It would be hard to find a fresh approach to a text that ranks only behind the Bible as the most widely translated book in the world, but Star achieves that goal. . . . As fascinating to the casual scholar as it is for the serious student." -NAPRA ReView "Jonathan Star's Tao Te Ching achieves the essential: It clarifies the meaning of the text without in the slightest reducing its mystery." -Jacob Needleman
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
About the Author
Jonathan Star has been widely acclaimed for his translations of everything from Rumi to the Tao Te Ching to the greatest Christian mystics. Of his celebrated Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved, Larry Dossey wrote, "Rumi would be proud of Star's luminous translations." Star lives in upstate New York.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
The Tao Te Ching is an ancient Chinese text consisting of spiritual teachings, folk wisdom, political instruction, cosmology observations of nature, anti-Confucian doctrine, and mystical insights. Read the first page
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
The verbatim translation is absolutely amazing for really understanding what you're reading. It gives you the ability to create your own interpretation, and understand some of the more nuanced meanings of the original chinese text.
The book gives you everything you need to simply enjoy the Tao Te Ching, and provides you with the first few steps toward a serious study of the work. Whether you are interested in the Tao Te Ching for spiritual, intellectual, or recreational purposes, this is the ideal book.
Since I wrote the above, a book here at Amazon came to my attention that has become even more important to me. It's called-- Lao-Tzu's Taoteching: With Selected Commentaries of the Past 2000 Years. ISBN: 1562790854 by the author Red Pine (a.k.a. Bill Porter). It's not as a definitive academic source book for translation as Star's, but I like the tranlsation itself so much better than Stars, and the commentaries are so insightful, that I dont even use the Jonathan Star book anymore! It is a MUST for TAO studies. I even bought a spare copy of it!
If you are like me, you may be wondering should I get this particular version, and how does it compare with other versions like the Stephen Mitchell, Wayne Dyer and or even the Ursula Le Guin version.
No matter how great a writer you think Jonathan is, he did not write the Tao, yet his translation is consistent with the best versions I have read.
My personal favorite version is the Stephen Mitchell version. The Tao is wise, paradoxical, counterinituitive, puzzling, fascinating, mysterious, inspiring, amazing and true. These concepts bypass ego based thinking, and the idea of doing things by not striving is allowing a higher more authentic way of thinking to inform your being and your action.
The Jonathan Star version has Chinese symbols at the back, with multiple meanings of each symbol, which gives it an advantage over other editions. This is a great idea, which allows you to come up with your own version of the Tao, and would really open up your thinking on the Tao.
If you are like me, then as you read you discover the wisdom like a raw jewel which you shape into a glittering diamond. That is the brilliance of the book.
The Tao is always present within you.
You can use it any way you want.
81 chapters, all less than one page. Like any great mystery, the Tao is there to be experienced and not necessarily understood. Here is a selection from verse 81 to illustrate the difference between different versions.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
excellent read ,lots to learn inside this small and powerful book ,I always keep it close byPublished 1 month ago by Kevin P Comeau
Like others have said, if you want a version that is not an interpretation, but instead takes a literal approach to translation, this is the book for you. Read morePublished on Oct. 17 2012 by Scholarlyrunner
Well, this one's a bit different. While I enjoyed his translation, what really stands out in this book is the fact that every single Chinese character in every single line is... Read morePublished on Sept. 11 2003 by A. Ort
For students and lovers of Lao Tzu's timeless poems of insight, gentle humor, and guidance in living a truly human life on both the inner and outer planes of being, Jonathan Star's... Read morePublished on Aug. 12 2003 by Brian M. Donohue
I reviewed the Feng/English translation of this work on 12-11-02. I think it important to point out that this review site has all of the Tao Te Ching reviews together. Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2003 by Jared Andersson
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