Dao De Jing: the United Version

Paperback, 129 pages, 4.5x7, English
by Yang Peng
ISBN: 9781581771572


This new translation of the Chinese classic and foundation text of Daoism integrates the manuscript discoveries of the last 30 years, introducing a fundamentally different view of the nature of the Dao. Michael Puett, the Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History and Chair of the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University, calls this translation "an excellent translation of one of the most important texts from the Chinese philosophical tradition," and goes on to state:  "Building upon the crucial body of scholarship that has developed in China over the past several decades, Yang Peng succeeds in providing a translation that is both precise and readable.  A wonderful achievement!"


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About the Author

Laozi, a great sage of ancient China, was the author of the Dao De Jing and the founder of Daoism. According to The Records of the Grand Historian (太史公書), finished around 91 BCE, Laozi was a contemporary of Confucius (551–479 BCE) to whom the elder Laozi gave lessons about the philosophy of rituals. Laozi worked as the official historian and the keeper of the archives at the imperial court of the Zhou dynasty.

Born in China in 1963, Yang Peng is a scholar of Daoism and Chinese religions and regarded as one of the representatives of Neo-Daoism in China today. He is the author of six books, including A Detailed Explanation of Laozi: Research on Laozi’s Philosophy of Governance and The Origin of Shangdi Worship in China, which have had a wide audience and influence. Yang Peng is now a full-time research scholar at the Harvard University Asia Center.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

In July 2003, my book A Detailed Explanation of Laozi: Research on Laozi’s Philosophy of Governance
(老子詳解:老子執政學研究) was published in China. It is now in its fourth printing. In September 2014, I came to the United States as a visiting scholar at Harvard University Asia Center to conduct research on Chinese religion and philosophy and encountered English versions of the Dao De Jing for the first time. I have since browsed more than forty-six different English-language translations, and I have carefully researched eighteen of the more authoritative versions. What I found is that some of the most important mainland Chinese scholarship with respect to research on the Dao De Jing during recent decades has not been incorporated into most of the current English versions, and so I began thinking about composing a completely new translation that would include the latest research. I began this translation project in March of 2015 at the encouragement of Arthur Kleinman and with the help of four American friends: Jacob Lamont Wood, Nancy Hearst, Sam Truitt, and Ron Brent. We completed the work within a year....

(Yang Peng)