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The Tao Te Ching is a classic of Chinese literature and one of the foundation texts of Taoism, a Chinese religious philosophy. It is also known as the Daodejing, Dao De Jing, Daode Jing, or simply as the Laozi. Tao Te Ching is the romanization of the title, which dates back to the late 19th century (AD), when English transliterations first appeared. The date of original publication is still unknown, but the oldest part can be traced back to the latter portion of the 4th century BC. However, modern experts believe it was written or put together after the Zhuangzi, the other seminal text of Daoism, which was published in the 3rd century BC. There are several different translations of the title, but the most common is as follows: Dao or Tao means -way, - but is most often used to mean -the way, - as in the fundamental force driving the universe. De has several meanings, including, perhaps most relevantly, -virtue.- Jing in this context means something like -canon- or -great book.- So, the full title can be understood to mean -The Book of the Way of Virtue.- The book comprises 81 chapters today, but there is evidence that chapter division was a later development for the book. If this is the case, then the original text had a much more free-flowing style. As it stands now, the book is poetic in form, with allowances for broad interpretation of the text. It is written with an interesting rhetorical style: it features bold, declarative statements that are immediately confronted with statements that seem to contradict them. Some experts believe that the purpose of this style is to get the reader thinking to reconcile these contradictions.
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|Author by||Lao Tzu|