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There is little consensus among scholars, however, on the date or authorship of the ) in the second century C.
E., the story of Laozi gained an important hagiographic dimension.
Memorable phrases from the should be regarded not only as a work of early Chinese philosophy but also in a larger context as a classic of world literature with keen contemporary relevance. Although recent archaeological discoveries may seem to rule out the last, the issue is complex because the were available around 300 B. La Fargue appears to favor the latter view, but other scholars (e.g., Lau 1963 and Mair 1990) see little sign of tight editorial control.
The date of composition refers to the time when the reached more or less its final form; it does not rule out later interpolations or corruptions. First, some scholars maintain that we should accept on the whole Sima Qian's account that the to the fourth century, while a third argues for an even later date, not earlier than the mid-third century B. Much remains uncertain, although I will venture an opinion in the next section.
The founding of “Celestial Master” or “Heavenly Master” Daoism was based on a new revelation of the Dao by Laozi.
This claim cannot be verified, but a number of (Classic of Virtue).
Philosophical Daoism traces its origins to Laozi, an extraordinary thinker who flourished during the sixth century B. In religious Daoism, Laozi is revered as a supreme deity. He lived in Zhou for a long time; witnessing the decline of Zhou, he departed.” When he reached the northwest border then separating China from the outside world, he met Yin Xi, the official in charge of the border crossing, who asked him to put his teachings into writing.
The name “Laozi” is best taken to mean “Old ( (Records of the Historian) by the Han dynasty (206 B. The result was a book consisting of some five thousand Chinese characters, divided into two parts, which discusses “the meaning of Dao and virtue.” Thereafter, Laozi left; no one knew where he had gone.
Conceivably, a philosopher known as Lao Dan could have attracted a following based on his novel reading of the Way and virtue.
Deferentially, his followers would refer to him as “Laozi.” Confucius had sought his advice presumably on mourning and funeral rites, given that the Confucian work (Records of Rites) has Confucius citing Lao Dan four times specifically on these rites. 14)—about which different versions vied for attention among the educated elite during the Warring States period, as competition intensified in the intellectual arena.