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Tao te Ching Paperback – Aug 26 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; Reprint edition (Aug. 26 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158542269X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585422692
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 2.5 x 21.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #159,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

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.

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First Sentence
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
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Hochmann on March 25 2004
Format: Paperback
One of the core ideas in Taoism (especially if you read a lot of Chuang-Tzu) is that there are infinite perspectives on anything and everything, and no one is more absolute or "correct" than the others. I think it's safe to say that the Tao Te Ching itself is an excellent example of this principle - just look at how many translations have been done, in various styles, approaching various perspectives on life, society, money, etc. And while there are certainly translations that speak to me far better than others do, I'd have to say that they are not always completely satisfying.
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Katsurina on Jan. 27 2005
Format: Paperback
This edition of the Tao Te Ching is the only one you will ever need. The translation provided is beautiful, peotic, and understandable.
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Orbital Shift on Jan. 19 2002
Format: Hardcover
Many translators have taken great liberties with the text of the Tao Te Ching. I have studied and compared many versions, and at one point I got so fed up that I started compiling versions together in what was slowly becoming my own "best of" from among them. Then I ran across this book by Jonathan Star. Whether I ever continue that project or not, Star has made studying the Tao Te Ching a whole lot easier, and more accurate. Recommended for study, this well thought out translation also contains a second "verbatim" translation that consists of a list of various possible English meanings of the Chinese characters (useful for making ones own translation and/or gaining further insight into the text), extensive notes, a commentary, concordance, and Wade-Pinyin conversion. It's a very useful, valuable toolbox for studying the Tao Te Ching. As of yet, there does not appear to be any other source for detailed study as well put together and with as much useful material.
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!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alan on July 5 2004
Format: Hardcover
There are so many translations of the Tao Te Ching that choosing one may be difficult. I like Jonathan Star's translation the most, for two reasons: first, because I feel it's a good translation, and second, because the entire text of the Tao Te Ching is included, word for word, in the original chinese, with word for word translations. This gives the reader some insight into the original text. Also included is some commentary and history. I highly recommend this translation. Also recommended is the translation by Brian Browne Walker.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brian M. Donohue on Aug. 12 2003
Format: Hardcover
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 translation must be considered essential. It is a marvelous work of research, scholarship, and truly creative presentation: he offers the first verbatim translation since Paul Carus' turn of the century (20th, that is) offering, using spreadsheet-style table to organize ideograms, lines, radicals, and translational possibilities. A marvelous essay on the first poem in the traditional ordering (Star uses the Wang Bi version and not the Ma Wang-Tui texts) is appended at the back of the book, along with an excellent lexicon. Best of all, Star offers us his own literary translation, which is worth the cost of the book all by itself: it has some breathtakingly beautiful points and is always a reflection not of a mere scholar but of a true lover of the Tao. This book is about $... in hardcover and will repay you exponentially for that small investment. And if you wish, you can even create your own translation of Lao Tzu with the help of this book--I did, and I recommend it as an excellent psychospiritual adventure.
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