Thorsten Pattberg thinks the shengren of East-Asia are largely overlooked: They are a class of their own, like the buddhas. To translate them as “philosophers” or “saints” seems imperialistic and all-too-convenient; the shengren are above philosophy and beyond religion –they are quite un-European.
Several media outlets reported about Pattberg’s ‘Shengren’:
China Daily: Language Hegemony: It’s shengren, stupid!
Japan Times: Language Imperialism – ‘Democracy’ in China (on erroneous translations)
Global Times: Global Languages Can Take On Chinese Characteristics
Asia Times: Language Imperialism – ‘Democracy’ in China (on erroneous translations)
China Today: Language Imperialism – ‘Democracy’ in China (an expanded version), exp. 03/2012
Xinhua: Long into the Western Dragon Business (on erroneous translations)
China.org: Language Hegemony: It’s shengren, stupid!
ChinaWhisper: Language Hegemony: It’s shengren, stupid!
China Daily: Long into the Western Dragon Business (on erroneous translations)
Asia Times: Time for Chinese culture to strike back!
Qiushi: Language Hegemony: It’s shengren, stupid!
YiAsiaTranslation: Language Hegemony: It’s shengren, stupid!
TG3 (Italy): My name is Long, Chinese Long (on erroneous translations)
China.org (Spain): La hegemonía del lenguaje: ¡Es ‘shengren’, estúpido!
Centre for Research on Globalization: Language Imperialism, Concepts and Civilization: China versus the West
Imediata.org (Portuguese): Imperialismo de linguagem, conceitos e civilização: a China versus o Ocidente
eRenlai Magzine (Taiwan): Language matters – Shengren, bigger than the buddhas?
The 4th Media (China): Language Imperialism, Concepts and Civilization: China versus the West
Rebelión (Spain): Imperialismo lingüístico, conceptos y civilización
Veracity Now: Language Imperialism, Concepts and Civilzation: China versus the West
Forbes.com: Language Imperialism, Concepts and Civilzation: China versus the West
Anti-Imperialism.com: Language imperialism – ‘democracy’ in China
The Corbett Report: Thorsten Pattberg on Language Imperialism (Radio)
Die Zeit (Germany): Falsch uebersetztes Chinesisch
Global Research TV: Language, Imperialism and Culture (TV)
Shanghai Daily: Chinese Concepts Lost in Translation
Korea Herald: Western Translations Distort China’s Reality
Financial Post: Western Translation distort the realities of China
Japan Times: How Western Translations distort China’s Reality
Tlaxcala International: Science Magazine: Shengren? Nein, danke!
Shanghai Daily: What’s wrong with Western ‘China studies’?
China Daily: Europe’s path to a new humanism
Shanghai Daily: Do not confuse Confucius with Christian Saint Nicholas
Asia Times: A Confucian Christmas in China
Big Think: Knowledge is a Polyglot
The Shengren (2011) is the first book manuscript in Western history that carries that name in its title. The East-Asian shengren have been misjudged by Western scholars for over 350 years and conveniently translated as “philosophers” or “saints”, which is wrong. The shengren are above philosophy and beyond religion. It is time to revive an old Asian tradition.
The shengren is the highest member in the East-Asian family-based value tradition, a sage that has the highest moral standards, called de, who applies the principles of ren, li, yi, zhi and xin (and 10 more), and connects between all the people as if they were, metaphorically speaking, his family.
“The shengren is the single most important concept in Chinese history.
Since the Europeans had not anything like it, but refused to hold the candle to China; instead they withheld 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”.
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 “saints”.
Few people realize how the fate of the shengren was inextricably linked to the German obsession with Holiness.
The European imperialists soon engaged in a fierce battle over China’s most valuable possessions: its names.
Calling the shengren philosophers, saints, or any other familiar name is the greatest historical blunder since Christopher Columbus’s discovery of “the Indians”.
Because of the many confusing translations, Confucius is said to be a paradox. He is not, he is a shengren.
All vocabularies in the world add up; they don’t overlap. Translation is something else.
Suddenly, there are philosophers and saints all over Asia; yet evidently not a single Buddha, bodhisattva, or shengren in Europe. Think. What is that probability?
The original shengren and hundreds of thousands of Eastern names and concepts are still out there – buried in the Chinese texts, beneath all Western deceit and convenience.
The shengren is above philosophy and beyond religion. He is decisively not European.
This will be read in a thousand years.”
You may quote from this text by using the book’s reference:
Cover photograph: (c) F. G. Cabaco – Temple of Confucius in Beijing
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