Reviews 535 Harold D. Roth. Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. xv, 275 pp. Hardcover $29.50, ISBN 0231115644. Going back to what A. C. Graham regards as "possibly the oldest mystical text in China," Harold Roth (a professor of religious studies and East Asian studies at Brown University) calls to our attention the Nei-yeh or "Inward Training," an ancient text from circa 350 B.C.E., and the "mystical" intent of the "Original Tao." The book Original Tao is the Nei-yeh in both its Chinese version and English translation, the two spaciously set side by side for readability and comparison on adjacent pages. Roth claims that the Nei-yeh blurs any facile dividing line between "philosophical" and "religious" Taoism. His findings and interpretation of this oldest extant ancient "Taoist" text further confirm the fact that "Taoism" itself may be a problematic entity; there is substantial evidence that the beginning of its lineage, around 239 B.C.E., rivals that of Confucianism. Thus, the answer to the question 536 China Review International: Vol. 7, No. 2, Fall 2000 "What is Taoism?" is not as clear as Herrlee Creel would have it in his
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Sep 1, 2000
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