More than five dozen translations of the Tao te Ching exist in English, making it questionable whether there is a need for yet another. But Stephen Hodge's Tao te Ching: A New Translation and Commentary is revisionist enough to warrant a look. He spends a good part of the introduction situating Lao Tzu's work in the context of the Warring States period (475-221 B.C.E.), even to the point of neglecting to tell the reader much about the content of the text itself. He also discusses the perplexing question of authorship and outlines various translation difficulties. The remainder of the book is more accessible, and is organized thematically to help the reader understand the Tao te Ching's key ideas. Hodge writes well, and the book is beautifully designed with more than 100 photographs and illustrations. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
It is not often that books of merit in the field of spiritual writing also appeal to the eye and the hand. This version of the well-known Tao Te Ching is indubitably a coffee-table book, but it is as gratifying to the intellect as to the sense of aesthetics. In the principal section of the book, each verse chapter, in Chinese and in Dale's translation, is accompanied by a beautifully subtle black-and-white photograph. At the rear of the book, Dale, a longtime scholar of acupuncture and other fields, repeats each verse chapter and adds his own commentary. There is something unintentionally comic about Dale's Western, reasoned, and multisyllabic commentaries on Lao Tzu's studied simplicity, apparent even in translation; still, most readers will find Dale's insights helpful. For libraries with significant holdings in Taoism. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.