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Accordingly, the point of the story that mentions Laozi's occupation as librarian or an archivist (ch.There are 71 slips with material that is also found in 31 of the 81 chapters of the DDJ and corresponding only to Chapters 1-66. The first known attempt to write a biography of Laozi is in the ) by Sima Qian (145-89 B. His surname was Li, and his personal name was Er, and his style name was Dan.Based on the probable date of the closing of the tomb, the version of the DDJ found within it may date as early as c. Sima Qian reports that Laozi was a historiographer in charge of the archives of Zhou.While it is clear that Confucius is thought to have a long way to go to become a .Laozi recommends to Wuzhi that he try to release Confucius from the fetters of his tendency to make rules and human discriminations (for example, right/wrong; beautiful/ugly) and set him free to wander with the .Moreover, Sima Qian tells us that Confucius had traveled to see Laozi to learn about the performance of rituals from him.
According to , Master Kong) is reported to have responded to questions by appealing to answers given by Lao Dan.
The records even say that Confucius once assisted him in a burial service.
Just what date we can put on this record from is uncertain, but it may have informed Sima Qian’s biography.
5), this same teaching shows up in the DDJ in many places (for example, chs. Likewise, Laozi criticizes Confucius for trying to spread the classics (12 in number in ch. 14) instead of valuing the wordless teaching, the DDJ has a ready parallel in Ch. While Confucius is teaching his disciples to put forth effort and cultivate benevolence ( but explains that it was a written text of Laozi’s teachings given when he departed China to go to the West. The DDJ has 81 chapters and about 5,000 Chinese characters, depending on which text is used. Moreover, although the text has been studied by commentators in Chinese history for centuries, the general reverence shown to it, and the long standing tradition that it was the work of the great philosopher Laozi, were two factors militating against any critical literary analysis of its structure.
What we know now is that in spite of the view that the text had a single author named Laozi, it is clear to textual critics that the work is a collection of smaller passages edited into sections and not the work of a single hand.
Consider that for almost 2,000 years the Chinese text used by commentators in China and upon which all except the most recent Western language translations were based has been called the , after the commentator who made a complete edition of the DDJ sometime between 226-249 C. Although Wang Bi was not a Daoist, the commentary he wrote after collecting and editing the text became a standard interpretive guide, and generally speaking even today scholars depart from his arrangement of the actual text only when they can make a compelling argument for doing so.