以 is one of the most confusing words in Chinese. Texts that really challenge me are usually full of it. Today I saw something confusing again:
I encountered the phrase 文以載道。The document claims it means "transport the Way through literature". I know some similar phrases, but the placement of 以 differs. I add some non idiomatic English translations, to explain my idea:
以文會友 ： befriend through refined interests
以誠相待 : interact with each other through sincerity
以暴易暴 : replace tyranny through tyranny
以備不虞: through preparation be at ease
以詞害意: through words harm the meaning
From all these I expected the phrase to be 以文載道。What am I overlooking? I know there might be many things, since Chinese is the pinnacle of versatility - at least among the languages I speak!