Warp, Weft, and Way

Chinese and Comparative Philosophy 中國哲學與比較哲學

Transcription of Beida Laozi Manuscript On-Line

As many of you know, there are more and more excavated texts making their presence known in our field. Beijing University is in possession of a bamboo-strip version of the Laozi / Daode Jing that they date to the Western Han; a full transcription is available here; just scroll down past the pictures.

March 31st, 2013 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Daodejing, Daoism, Excavated Texts | 5 comments

5 Responses to Transcription of Beida Laozi Manuscript On-Line

  1. Thanks very much Steve!
    We see another early version that places the De section before the Dao section. It appears that this was the earliest ordering.

  2. Here’s another link, in Traditional Chinese characters:

    http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_57c4f8f10101jlcx.html

    (feel free to merge this with my reply above)

  3. Stephen Jayne says:

    Would anyone care to share initial impressions of any major departures from the Ma-wang-tui texts? I’m afraid I don’t know Chinese, and the suspense it killing me! Hopefully scholarly reviews/translations will soon be forthcoming. Thank you.

    • Hi Stephen,

      I can pass on a few things I’ve noticed.

      1) Like the Mawangdui texts, the De 德 section comes first.

      2) There are 77 chapters. Each chapter begins at the top of a bamboo strip and chapters 6 and 7 are combined, as are 17 + 18 + 19 and 32 + 33. Note that in the Guodian proto-Laozi, chapters 17 and 18 are combined (though 18 is ‘incomplete’).

      3) Original report suggested a date from Han Wudi’s reign (141-87 BCE), though the fact that the tabboo on Gaozu’s personal name Bang 邦 seems to be observed sugggests it was copied during his reign. (Emperor’s Hui’s, Wen’s and Jing’s personal names do occur and were not tabboo; i.e., 盈, 恆, 啟).

  4. Carine Defoort says:

    Another difference is, in the first stanza:
    名(name)可命(nominate),非恆名(name)也.

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