The Full Wiki

Sinologist: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Sinologist

Include this on your site/blog:


(Redirected to Sinology article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sinology in general use is the study of China and things related to China, but, especially in the American academic context, refers more strictly to the study of classical language and literature, and the philological approach. Its origin, says one recent survey, "may be traced to the examination which Chinese scholars made of their own civilization." [1]

Sino- is derived from Late Latin Sinae from the Greek Sinae from the Arabic Sin which in turn may derive from Qin, that is, the Qin Dynasty. [2] Other explanations deduce that a Biblical reference to the land of Sinim since it was otherwise unknown, must refer to China.

In the context of area studies, the European and the American usages differ. In Europe, sinology is usually known as Chinese Studies whereas in the United States Sinology is a subfield of Chinese Studies. The Australian scholar Geremie R. Barmé offers a "New Sinology," one which "emphasizes strong scholastic underpinnings in both the classical and modern Chinese language and studies, at the same time as encouraging an ecumenical attitude in relation to a rich variety of approaches and disciplines, whether they be mainly empirical or more theoretically inflected." [3]



In the Asian Sinosphere, the studies of China-related subjects began early. In Japan, sinology was known as kangaku (漢学 "Han Studies"). In China, the studies of China-related subjects is known as Guoxue (国学/國學 "National Studies"), and sinology is translated as Hanxue (汉学/漢學 "Han Studies").

In the West, some researchers would date the origins of sinology as far back as Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta in the 13th and 14th century, but the systematic study of China began in the 16th century, when missionaries, notably Matteo Ricci, introduced Christianity to China. The first Sinologist of Eastern Europe was Nicolae Milescu (1636-1708). Early sinological research often concentrated on the compatibility of Christianity with Chinese culture.

During the Age of Enlightenment, sinologists started to introduce Chinese philosophy, ethics, legal system, and aesthetics into the West. Though often unscientific and incomplete, their works inspired the development of Chinoiserie and a series of debates comparing Chinese and Western cultures. At that time, sinologists often described China as an enlightened kingdom, comparing it to Europe, which had just emerged from the Dark Ages. Among those European literati interested in China was Voltaire, who wrote the play L'orphelin de la Chine inspired by the Orphan of Zhao, Leibniz who penned his famous Novissima Sinica (News from China)and Vico.

In 1732 a missionary priest of the Sacred Congregation "De propaganda fide" from the kingdom of Naples, Matteo Ripa (1692–1746), created in Naples the first Sinology School of the European Continent: the "Chinese Institute", the first nucleus of what would become today's Università degli studi di Napoli L'Orientale, or Naples Eastern University. Ripa had worked as a painter and copper-engraver at the Manchu court of the emperor Kangxi between 1711 and 1723. Ripa returned to Naples from China with four young Chinese Christians, all teachers of their native language and formed the Institute sanctioned by Pope Clement XII to teach Chinese to missionaries and thus advance the propagation of Christianity in China.

In 1814, a chair of Chinese and Manchu was founded at Collège de France. Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat, who taught himself Chinese, filled the position, becoming the first professor of Chinese in Europe. By then the first Russian Sinologist, Nikita Bichurin, had been living in Beijing for ten years. Abel-Rémusat's counterparts in England and Germany were Samuel Kidd (1797–1843) and Wilhelm Schott (1807-1889) respectively, though the first important secular sinologists in these two countries were James Legge and Hans Georg Conon von der Gabelentz. Secular scholars gradually came to outnumber missionaries, and in the 20th century sinology slowly gained a substantial presence in Western universities. In modern history, sinology has seen its influence in politics, due to its role in think tanks.


  1. ^ Cf. p.4, Zurndorfer, China Bibliography
  2. ^ American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 3rd edition 1992): 1686.
  3. ^ Barmé, Geremie R., On New Sinology, China Heritage Project, The Australian National University


See List of Sinologists


See also

This article contains Chinese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.


  • Barrett, Timothy Hugh, Singular Listlessness: A Short History of Chinese Books and British Scholars (London: Wellsweep, 1989). 125p. "Published in its original form in F. Wood, ed., British Library Occasional papers, 10: Chinese studies [1988], p. 9-53.".
  • Cayley, John & Ming Wilson ed., Europe Studies China: Papers from an International Conference on the History of European Sinology, London: Han-Shan Tang Books, 1995.
  • Honey, David B., Incense at the Altar: Pioneering Sinologists and the Development of Classical Chinese Philology, New Haven: American Oriental Society, 2001. (See also E.G. Pulleyblank's review of the work in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 122, No. 3 (Jul.-Sep., 2002), pp. 620-624, available through JSTOR).
  • Mungello, David E., Curious Land: Jesuit Accommodation and the Origins of Sinology, Stuttgart: F. Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden, 1985.
  • Yang Liansheng , Excursions in Sinology (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1969).
  • Zurndorfer, Harriet Thelma, China Bibliography: A Research Guide to Reference Works about China Past and Present, Leiden : Brill Publishers, 1995. ISBN 9004102787.

External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary





Sinologist (plural Sinologists)

  1. Alternative spelling of sinologist.

Simple English

Sinologist is a person that study China, but he/she is not Chinese. Sino- etimologically Greek Σίνα, China, and -logy from -λογία, treatise, study, science.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address