Talk:Tao Te Ching

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More about translation...[edit]

  • the article claims it's among the most translated works, however the Tao Te Ching is not mentioned anywhere on the wiki's list of Most Translated Works [1]. Krisrp0 (talk) 17:42, 14 April 2014 (UTC)krisrp0

-- (talk) 01:25, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 01:30, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 01:46, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 02:01, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 02:04, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 02:26, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 02:30, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 02:32, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 02:37, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Comparison summary[edit]

I've started a table of the respective pros and cons. The same advantages apply, mutatis mutandis, to Tao/Dao and Tao te ching/Daodejing.

Advantage Taoism Daoism
usage more common
pronunciation more accurate
publishers more commercial more academic
online retrieval more access points
international standard UN, ISO, LOC
reference works Wikipedia Encyclopedia Britannica
WP consistency few titles most titles
Example Example Example

Any corrections or additions would be welcome. Keahapana (talk) 23:50, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

I removed WP:PINYIN from the "Dao" side. This has been noted before, but WP:PINYIN actually says, "In general, the titles of Chinese entries should be in Hanyu Pinyin (but without tone marks). Exceptions would include: When there is clearly a more popular form in English (such as Yangtze River)." Even this very chart acknowledges that "Tao" is the more popular form. I would say that WP:PINYIN should therefore go in the "Tao" column. Since I'm sure that would be contested, I'll just remove it.

I also had a question for the table-maker: what does "online retrieval" mean? Dohn joe (talk) 00:28, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

You're right about removing WP:PINYIN from Daoism, so I've moved it to Taoism. That's a good question. I copied this (admittedly technical) advantage from Hu (1999:251) cited under Daoism–Taoism romanization issue.
  • Pinyin has more access point than Wade-Giles for online retrieval. By using diacritical marks, Wade-Giles has reduced 25 percent more machine-readable units than that by pinyin. Because diacritical marks are ignored in online processing, Wade-Giles has provided 25 percent less access points than that of pinyin. For instance, pinyin romanization use the consonant pairs "B" and "P," "J" and "Q," "D" and "T," "G" and "K" to represent sounds that approximate the sound they represent in English. The Wade-Giles uses identical letters for each of its consonant pairs, adding an aspirate mark to one of each pair to distinguish them, namely "P" and "P'," "Ch" and 'Ch'," "T" and "T"' and "K" and K'."
Keahapana (talk) 21:46, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Since these WG vs. Pinyin debates keep recurring, my intention was to summarize the arguments on both sides. This table seems more confusing than clarifying and maybe we should just make two lists. Perhaps we could use some of this summary, which was removed from Daoism–Taoism romanization issue#Ramifications in 2008.

  • Third, some Wikipedia article titles have inconsistencies between pinyin and Wade-Giles romanizations, compare pinyin Daozang (道藏, Wade Tao Tsang) with Wade Tao Te Ching (道德經, Pinyin Dàodéjīng). Editors disagree over interpreting two conflicting rules: the Wikipedia:Manual of Style (China-related articles) convention is to "use pinyin not Wade-Giles," but the Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) says to "Use the most common name of a person or thing that does not conflict with the names of other people or things." (For a good illustration, see the archived 2006 editorial discussions at Laozi Talk page about whether to change "Laozi" to "Lao Tzu".) Unlike a printed encyclopedia that necessarily cross-references either "Mo Tzu" to "Mozi" or vice versa, Wikipedia takes advantage of hyperlinked redirects, and searching for "Mo Tzu" results in "Mozi". Nearly all of the current articles about Chinese topics use pinyin, but a handful use Wade-Giles, still preferring "Tao" over "Dao" and "Taoism" over "Daoism".

Keahapana (talk) 21:51, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Is there a mechanism that counts the use of "Daoism" and "Taoism" as search targets / entry points? htom (talk) 20:34, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────In light of the above move discussion (I fully agree with RA's assessment of it as no consensus), I'd say we can hold off on move discussions for another year. Maybe again in September 2013, we'll see if anything's changed by then. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 17:11, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Proposed revision of the "Interpretation and Themes" section[edit]

The "Interpretation and Themes" section itself states "the variety of interpretation is virtually limitless," which we can all agree is the case. However, even after stating this fact, when this section presents passages from the Tao Te Ching, it then presents the article author's interpretation as if it is fact. It is unclear, to someone like myself who has not read the Tao Te Ching in full, if these interpretations are based in part on further explanation of the topics in other passages. Taken on their own, as they're presented in this article, I would have interpreted the meaning of these passages far differently, which immediately leads me to question the likely presence of the author's individual bias/interpretation. Other readers, who may be less accustomed to critical thinking, may simply take these interpretations at face value and assume their validity. I strongly propose revision of this section, including, at least, these individual interpretations being framed as such. Zerocontrast (talk) 04:40, 9 May 2014 (UTC)ZeroContrast

It seems to me that we need to overhaul the interpretation section as a "History of Interpretation" section - that is right now this section acts an original work, when it would be better as an overview of historical interpretations, so that for example we would discuss the Heshang Gong interpretation, the Wang Bi interpretation, the Daojia interpretation, and so on through Chinese history, other East Asian histories with the text, and even Western history (New Age interpretation, etc). A complete overhaul. (talk) 10:05, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

I agree. Some of the work in that section is also sub-par. For instance (what prompted me to come here), the reference to section 40 seems to hing on a likely simplistic and inaccurate translation, when compared with ctext's translation and considering the reference of the original Chinese . While it's true that translation and indeed interpretation is highly subjective and multiplicitous, I agree with ZeroContrast, that this section sounds canonical, while it certainly does not draw on a wide enough range of resources to be so. I would be happy to participate in this revision in the future. Supaiku (talk) 08:28, 15 December 2016 (UTC)


Stanford says that the "earliest excavated strand of the text dates back to the late 4th century BC." However, I don't know that the larger portion of the text did not date to the to the 3rd century BC. A more major site dates to the third century.[2] Creel said, "Chi'en Mu" believed the probable author of the Laozi to be "Chen He", dated to 350-270 BC. "Ku Chieh Kang" also deduced it as having been written during the later half of the third century BC.[3] But Creel's book dates from 1970. If anyone knows the most recent dating, it's important for Chinese Legalism also.FourLights (talk) 23:19, 17 December 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^
  2. ^ Chan, Alan, "Laozi", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.),
  3. ^ Creel 1970, What Is Taoism?, 48,