New Book: The Daodejing Commentary of Cheng Xuanying

Oxford University Press has published The Daodejing Commentary of Cheng Xuanying, a translation of Cheng Xuanying’s 成玄英 famous and philosophically rich commentary, which in turn shaped both Daoist and Buddhist discourse thereafter. The translation is expertly elucidated with ample notes and glosses by the translator, Friederike Assandri, a leading authority on Cheng Xuanying and the Twofold Mystery School.
This is now the third translation in the Oxford Chinese Thought book series, which is devoted to providing high-quality translations of important philosophical and religious texts, for scholars and for classroom use. A short description follows below the fold.

This book presents for the first time in English a complete translation of the Expository Commentary to the Daode jing, written by the Daoist monk Cheng Xuanying in the 7th century CE. This commentary is a quintessential text of Tang dynasty Daoist philosophy and of Chongxuanxue or Twofold Mystery teachings. Cheng Xuanying proposes a reading of the ancient Daode jing that aligns the text with Daoist practices and beliefs and integrates Buddhist concepts and techniques into the exegesis of the Daode jing.

10 replies on “New Book: The Daodejing Commentary of Cheng Xuanying”

  1. This is great. Now if we can only find the Sanskrit translation of the Daode jing that Xuanzang and Cheng Xuanying are said to have collaborated on!

  2. This is very exciting! Any other classic texts plus commentaries in the works in this series? I’d love to see Laozi yan by Wang Fuzhi.

    Also, it appears Lynn’s Zhuangzi with Guo Xiang’s commentary comes out next September. There are of course many impenetrable bits in that text, so it will be interesting to see how they are handled!

    Does anybody know if Peipei Qiu’s translation of Lin Xiyi’s A Study and Translation of Zhuangzi Juanzhai kouyi (Juanzhai’s Vernacular Explanations of the Zhuangzi) is still in the works?

    I hope these types of works keep coming!

  3. Does anybody know if Peipei Qiu’s translation of Lin Xiyi’s Zhuangzi Juanzhai kouyi (Juanzhai’s Vernacular Explanations of the Zhuangzi) is still in the works?***

  4. Wonderful to hear of your enthusiasm, colleagues! Eric Hutton and I have put enormous amounts of our time and energy into this series and we’re delighted that scholars and teachers are pleased with the results.

    John E wonders why the book has been slow to be distributed in the UK. Thanks for alerting us to this problem. We asked our editor, who contacted OUP UK and learned that they expect to receive their stock of the book in the second week of December. So, it won’t be long! And the books will be there well before the start of the spring semester. UK distribution was delayed due to the global supply chain problems.

  5. FYI, the translator, Friederike Assandri, talks about Cheng Xuanying’s Daoist and Buddhist influences, Assandri’s translation of the commentary, and her translation of the base text in light of the commentary in an interview for the New Books Network.

    Very helpful and insightful discussion. Readers of this blog will be particularly interested in her account of Cheng’s handling of that controversial line from the end of chapter 25 (Dao fa ziran 道法自然 — normally translated as something like “the Dao immitates what’s self-so,” but interpreted in a very different way by Cheng). That account begins at the 49-minute mark.

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