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关于“韬光”的误读及其可能的译解


□ 杨慧林

  “韬光养晦”已经成为一个与中国外交政策直接相关的基本概念,其使用频率颇高,被误读的程度也颇高。就政治家的外交策略而言,无论怎样理解“韬光养晦”都是无可厚非的;但是从对外宣传的角度看,关于“韬光养晦”的解释一旦失当,反而会为“中国威胁论”增添一个注脚。
  特别是当“韬光养晦”被通译为hide one’s capacities and bide one’s time(隐藏实力、等待时机)的时候,似乎多少会给人一种居心叵测的感觉。大概是虑及于此,目前新版的《辞海》已经对“韬光养晦”的释义做出调整,以正视听。但是现代人的《辞海》并不能改变历史留下的典故,有关“韬光养晦”的直接联想恐怕仍然是刘备“后园种菜”的“韬晦之计”,或者杨慎“虽知己者莫辩其本心”的《韬晦术》。对于西方世界,如此轻易地修改《辞海》甚至可能引起更大的疑心。
  其实如果我们回到西方人译解的中国典籍,会发现这一不断被后世所引申的说法本来未必如此。其中最典型的例子,当属理雅各(James Legge)为《道德经》第七章所做的一条注释。
  《道德经》第七章是讲“天长地久”的原因和“圣人法天”的品质:“天地所以能长且久者,以其不自生,故能长生。是以圣人后其身而身先;外其身而身存。非以其无私邪?故能成其私。”理雅各如实翻译了这段话:
  Heaven is long-enduring and earth continues long.The reason why heaven and earth are able to endure and continue thus long is because they do not live of, or for, themselves.This is how they are able to continue and endure.Therefore the sage puts his own person last, and yet it is found in the foremost place; he treats his person as if it were foreign to him, and yet that person is preserved. Is it not because he has no personal and private ends, that therefore such ends are realized(The Sacred Books of China, the Texts of Taoism, translated by James Legge, Oxford: Oxford University Press,1891; New York: Dover Publications,Inc.1962,p.52)后来在美国汉学家韩伯禄(Robert G.Henricks)的译文中,“无私……故能成其私”的意思好像更为明了:The Sage … has not self-interest, that he is therefore able to realize his self-interest.(Lao-Tzu Te-Tao Ching, A New Translation Based on the Recently Discovered Ma-wang-tui Texts, translated with an introduction and commentary by Robert G. Henricks, New York: Ballantine Books, 1989,p.59) ......
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