Tao Te Ching is a Chinese classic text. The text's true authorship and date of composition or compilation are still debated. The oldest excavated portion dates back to the late 4th century BC, but modern scholarship dates the bulk of the text as having been written, or at least compiled later than the earliest portions of the Zhuangzi.
Tao Te Ching, along with the Zhuangzi, is a fundamental text for both philosophical and religious Taoism, and strongly influenced other schools, such as Legalism, Confucianism, and Chinese Buddhism, which when first introduced into China was largely interpreted through the use of Daoist words and concepts. Many Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and even gardeners, have used the Daodejing as a source of inspiration. Its influence has also spread widely outside East Asia, and it is among the most translated works in world literature.
The Wade–Giles romanization "Tao Te Ching" dates back to early English transliterations in the late 19th century; its influence can be seen in words and phrases that have become well established in English. "Daodejing" is the pinyin romanization.