FOUNDING WORK OF TAOISM The First Complete Translation of the Tao-Te Ching
LAO-TZU. Lao Tseu Tao Te King. Le Livre de la Voie et de la Vertu . . . traduit en Francais… par Stanislaus Julien
Paris: l’Imprimerie Royale, 1842
xliv, 304 pp. Contemporary black paper boards, spine label. Spine and edges worn.
FIRST EDITION of the complete Tao-te Ching to be published in a Western language. The founding work of Taoism, the Tao-te Ching is said to have been written in the 6th century B.C. by Lao-Tzu (“Old Sage”), a contemporary of Confucius. Many scholars doubt the existence of Lao-Tzu as an historical figure and suggest this is a composite work written several centuries later. The book was first a philosophy, but it evolved into a religion when it was adopted officially in 440, when Lao-Tzu was venerated as a deity.
Lao-Tzu’s famously cryptic Tao-te Ching is one of the Five Chinese Classics and one of the most widely read books in history. Apart from the Bible, it is likely the most-translated classic ever published.