Religious and Philosophical Aspects of the Laozi

Edited by Mark Csikszentmihalyi & Philip J. Ivanhoe

Subjects: Asian Studies
Series: SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
Paperback : 9780791441121, 288 pages, April 1999
Hardcover : 9780791441114, 288 pages, April 1999

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Table of contents

Romanization Conversion Table


1. Mysticism and Apophatic Discourse in the Laozi

Mark Csikszentmihalyi

2. The Laozi in the Context of Early Daoist Mystical Praxis

Harold D. Roth

3. Qian Zhongshu on Philosophical and Mystical Paradoxes in the Laozi

Zhang Longxi

4. The Diverse Interpretations of the Laozi

Isabelle Robinet

5. Re-exploring the Analogy of the Dao and the Field

Robert G. Henricks

6. A Philosophical Analysis of the Laozi from an Ontological Perspective

Tateno Masami

7. Method in the Madness of the Laozi

Bryan W. Van Norden

8. An Inquiry into the Core Value of Laozi's Philosophy

Liu Xiaogan

9. The Concept of de ("Virtue") in the Laozi

Philip J. Ivanhoe

Notes on Contributors

Index to Laozi passages

Name Index

Subject Index

Leading scholars examine religious and philosophical dimensions of the Chinese classic known as the Daodejing or Laozi.


Renowned international scholars examine crucial issues surrounding the Laozi, the third century B.C.E. Chinese classic also known as the Daodejing in this indispensable volume. The work offers diverse interpretations, a wide range of scholarly traditions, and a variety of ways to engage, ponder, and evaluate the Laozi.

Contributors include Robert Henricks, Zhang Longxi, Tateno Masami, Isabelle Robinet, Harold D. Roth, Bryan W. Van Norden, and Liu Xiaogan.

Mark Csikszentmihalyi is Assistant Professor of Religion at Davidson College and a former Fellow at the National Humanities Center. He also serves as editor of the American Academy of Religion's Texts and Translations book series. Philip J. Ivanhoe is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the author of several books, including Ethics in the Confucian Tradition: The Thought of Mencius and Wang Yang-Ming and Confucian Moral Self Cultivation. Most recently he has coedited, with Paul Kjellberg, Essays on Skepticism, Relativism, and Ethics in the Zhuangzi, published by SUNY Press.


"If I could put one book about the Laozi in the hands of someone who genuinely wants to experience the brilliance, profundity, and complexity of the work based on the best modern scholarship, I would recommend this book. The essays can be read by a general audience and yet they offer the very best contemporary scholarship on one of the most important classics in the world today." — John Berthrong, author of All Under Heaven: Transforming Paradigms in Confucian-Christian Dialogue

"This is a collection of new and insightful essays by a group of impressive scholars on one of the most important, difficult, and influential books from early China. The religious and philosophical issues dealt with are not only important to the Laozi but also central to the field of early Chinese religion and philosophy, especially that of Daoism. It will be useful to both students of Chinese literature, philosophy, and religion, and people who are interested in philosophy and mysticism." — Shuen-fu Lin, University of Michigan