Rediscovering the I Ching (Paperback)
by Gregory Whincup
Paperback: 237 pages
Publisher: St Martins Pr (January 1996)
By Brian M. Donohue
This is one of the outstanding perspectives on the I Ching, a unique contribution that stands beside the Wilhelm, the Ritsema/Karcher translations, and the recent "Oracle of the Cosmic Way" by Anthony/Moog. What Whincup brings to the I Ching is a scaled-down, compressed version of the oracular text, without Confucian era overlay and free of excessive commentary and modern pedantry. The text is presented in an occasionally forced historical perspective, using the struggle, rise, and conquest of the Zhou leaders against the decadent leaders of the late Shang dynasty, but the benefit of the text is not in its historical context, but rather in the spare and simple beauty of the oracular messages themselves, stripped of profuse ideological encrustation. In this, Whincup does a marvelous piece of work, making the stark strength of the original text speak directly to one's entire being. An example is how he transforms the rather ponderous and confusing "Taming Power of the Great" from Hex. 26 in the Wilhelm into the blunt and direct image of "Big is Tamed." In this, Whincup restores a feeling of the time and cultural conditions under which the oracle was first written down: a time of danger, struggle, and the concomitant need for direct, forceful messages from the Cosmic source of the I Ching's text and structural proportioning. Much and needless complexity and arcana have been overlaid onto the I Ching text during the course of centuries; what Whincup has done is to give us a taste of what the oracle "felt like" in an early time of urgency and deep transformation. For this, the Whincup translation is an invaluable addition to an I Ching library, no matter what your personal favorite may be in working with your own inner life.
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