Erenlai - Thorsten Pattberg
Thorsten Pattberg

Thorsten Pattberg

Dr. Pattberg (裴德思) is a German writer and cultural critic and an expert in Chinese-Western Comparative Studies. He is fluent in Chinese, English, and German, knowledgeable in Sanskrit and Hinduism, Taoism, and Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, and he wrote his doctoral thesis on the first European encounter with Confucianism. 

He is the author of 'The East-West dichotomy', 'Shengren', and 'Inside Peking University', and has published articles in Asia Times, Global Times, China Daily, China Today, Shanghai Daily, Die Zeit (German Times), Korea Herald, and The Japan Times. He has given public lectures, and he is a member of several academic associations like the International Association of Comparative Mythology (IACM), the German East Asiatic Society (OAG), and the International Association for Comparative Study of China and The West (IACSCW). 

Dr. Pattberg is also an alumnus of The University of Edinburgh, Harvard University, The University of Tokyo, and Peking University.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012 15:42

Language matters - Shengren, bigger than the buddhas?

The shengren is the most important concept in Chinese tradition.

Since the Europeans never had anything like it, but refused to hold the candle to China; instead they omitted the shengren and talked about some lesser versions of Greek "philosophers" or Christian "holy men".

The English soon found a slightly better translation; they called the shengren "sages", from Latin sapientia –being wise.

The Germans however, the descendants of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation, never had a concept for sages or sagehood. In their effort to christen China, the Germans called the shengren "Heilige" (saints), from Germanic hailaz –being holy.

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