Richard Wilhelm (sinologist)

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Richard Wilhelm
Born(1873-05-10)10 May 1873
Died2 March 1930(1930-03-02) (aged 56)
Known forI Ching (Yi jing) translation
ChildrenHellmut Wilhelm
Scientific career
FieldsChinese literature
InstitutionsUniversity of Frankfurt
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese衛禮賢
Simplified Chinese卫礼贤

Richard Wilhelm (10 May 1873 – 2 March 1930) was a German sinologist, theologian and missionary. He lived in China for 25 years, became fluent in spoken and written Chinese, and grew to love and admire the Chinese people. He is best remembered for his translations of philosophical works from Chinese into German that in turn have been translated into other major languages of the world, including English. His translation of the I Ching is still regarded as one of the finest, as is his translation of The Secret of the Golden Flower; both were provided with introductions by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who was a personal friend.[1]

"Wilhelm was a truly religious spirit, with an unclouded and far-sighted view of things. He had the gift of being able to listen without bias to the revelations of a foreign mentality, and to accomplish that miracle of empathy which enabled him to make the intellectual treasures of China accessible to Europe...he could not help recognizing the logic and clarity of Chinese thought... it had overwhelmed him and assimilated him.

— C.G. Jung"[2]

Lau Nui Suan introduced Wilhelm to Chinese yoga philosophy and the psychology of the I Ching.[2]

His son Hellmut Wilhelm was also a sinologist, and was professor of Chinese at the University of Washington. Wilhelm was a close friend of the renowned Chinese educator and diplomat Dr. Li Linsi.[3]

The Richard Wilhelm Translation Centre at Ruhr-Universität Bochum was founded in 1993 by Helmut Martin.[4]


  1. ^ Richard Wilhelm at School of Wisdom
  2. ^ a b Aniela Jaffe (1961) Memories, Dreams, Reflections by C.G. Jung, translated by Richard and Clara Winston, page 375
  3. ^ Taylor, Wong. "Rediscovering a Chinese legend: The untold wartime tale of Dr Li Linsi". China Daily.
  4. ^ Busche, Christian; Schiller, Beate. "The Richard Wilhelm Translation Centre". Retrieved 3 August 2020.

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