Stephen L. Field
's new translation and study of the Zhouyi
offers an inspiring and fresh take that importantly differs from previous translators approaches to the text. The Duke of Zhou Changes: A Study and Annotated Translation of the Zhouyi
(Harrassowitz Verlag, 2015) serves both scholarly readers who come to it with an interest in Chinese classics, and general readers who come to it with an interest in using the text for the purposes of divination. In his work as a researcher and translator, Field has made every effort to provide readers with a kind of urtext of the Zhouyi
. As he puts it early in the book, a consultation of the Yijing
using this translation will be as close to the original intent of the ancient Zhou diviners as has ever been possible in the West. The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 offers readers some context for understanding the history, mythology, and and uses of the Zhouyi
text, Part 2 translates the names, omen statements, and line texts of the 64 hexagrams, and Part 3 offers detailed instructions for casing the oracle (using milfoil stalks and coins) and interpreting the resulting reading. Its a fascinating, beautiful approach to the text by a thoughtful and accomplished translator who is also a poet with an ear for the musicality of language.
(Bonus note: this one would make a good double-header with Will Buckingham's short story cycle inspired by the Yijing.