alchemystical

Your favourite translation?

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I've recently started looking into the I Ching and find it quite a fascinating topic. One thing that perturbs however is the translations of the text because as we all know nothing compares to the real deal and each chef puts his own spin on the recipe as he passes it along so I was wondering what you lot have as a "go to" translation.

 

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Here is a link to a discussion about this we had at the Newcomer corner.  In the last few decades, the trend has been to focus on the original Chinese rather than in the commentary traditions.  Which is not to say that some commentaries are not better than others at expressing the full range of meanings in the original.  It is just a question of balance.

 

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old post but I nowadays read the Huang translation

Edited by dlao
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Posted (edited)

I've been recently working with two translations of the Yijing- the Richard Lynn translation, with the commentary by Wang Bi, and the new Joseph Adler translation, with the commentary of Zhu Xi. I am far from fully familiarized with either book so I've just got preliminary thoughts so far.

 

The Richard Lynn edition is scholarly but quite user-friendly; Wang Bi's comments are extensive and often very clarifying. On the downside they are interspersed within the text (marked off with curly brackets {}) so it sometimes feels a bit cluttered, and sometimes it is hard to keep track of which parts are his comments and which are the text.

 

Adler's translation seems mainly oriented to scholars; for instance, while Richard Lynn's translation has a handy chart at the back for looking up hexagrams, Adler has none. Zhu Xi's comments tend to be briefer than Wang Bi's and it's a lot easier to see where the text ends and his commentary begins. He leaves more of the ambiguity in place in his remarks.

 

A cool feature that Adler has included as an appendix is Zhu Xi's ritual for divination- he gives fairly precise instructions for setting up a divination altar, with a panel running lengthwise through the center where the yarrow stalks are kept in notches for easy counting. He gives a brief prayer for putting the question to the oracle, and then step-by-step instructions for counting out the stalks and forming the lines.

 

With regards to the quality of the books as physical objects I have both in hardcover and have to say the Richard Lynn book is better made, with smyth sewn binding, whereas the Adler book has a glued binding. That disappointed me as the Adler book is pricy and, just like the Lynn book, published by Columbia University Press.

Edited by SirPalomides
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