STEIN, Rolf Alfred

STEIN, Rolf Alfred. Schwetz (now Świecie, Poland) 13.6.1911 — Paris 9.10.1999. French (born German Jew) Sinologist and Tibetan Scholar. Professor in Paris. In 1919 the family moved to Berlin. Youthful interest in occultism led him to Tibetology. Studied Chinese in Berlin (diplom 1933), in April 1933 fled to France and studied in Paris Sinology under Granet, Mauss and Maspéro, then Mongolian under Pelliot and Tibetan under Bacot and Lalou, also Japanology, licencié ès lettres 1937. French citizen 1939. In 1940-46 at É.F.E.O. in Hanoi and as Japanese war prisoner. In 1946-49 at Centre franco-chinois in Beijing. Also visited Chinese Mongolia, Amdo and Yunnan. Ph.D. 1960 Paris (on Gesar epic). In 1949-52 taught Chinese at Institut des langues et civilisations orientales in Paris. From 1951 Directeur d’études (religions comparées de l’Extreme-Orient et de la Haute Asie) at É.P.H.É. V. section. From 1966-82 Professor (étude du monde chinois: institutions et concepts) at Collège de France. In 1954 and 1960 visited Sikkim, 1977 Nepal. In 1994 living in Mendon, France, as hon. Professor of Collège de France. Dr. h.c. 1977 Bonn. Married with a Vietnamese lady, one adopted daughter.

Stein is mainly known as a Tibetan scholar and especially for his important Gesar study. Also interested in Tantric Buddhism and Taoism and taught both Sinology and Tibetology. Among his students were A.-M. Blondeau, Y. Imaeda, Samten Karmay, A. Spanien and Z. Yamaguchi.

Publications: “Trente-fois fiches de divination tibétaines”, HJAS 4, 1939, 297-372.

– “Notes d’étymologie tibétaine”, BEFEO 41, 1942, 203-231.

L’épopée tibétaine de Gesar dans sa version lamaïque de Ling. 401 p. A.M.G. Bibl. d’Ét. 61. P. 1956 (diss.).

Recherches sur l’épopée et le barde au Tibet. 10+646 p. 471 pl. Bibl. de l’Inst. des Hautes Ét. chin. 13. P. 1959.

– “L’habitat, le monde et le corps humain en Extrême-Oriet et en Haute Asie”, JA 245, 1957, 37-74; “Du récit au rituel dans les manuscrits tibétains de Touen-houang”, M. Lalou Vol. 1972, 479-547; “‘Saint et divin’, un titre tibétain et chinois des rois tibétains”, JA 269, 1981, 231-275; and many other articles.

Les tribus anciennes des marches sino-tibétaines. Légends, classifications et histoire. 3+106 p. Bibl. de l’Inst. des hautes études chinois 15.P. 1961.

– Edited: Une chronique ancienne de bSam yas. Éd. du texte tibétaine et résumé français. 12+107 p. Publ. de l’Inst. des Hautes Études Chinoises, Textes et doc. 1. P. 1961.

La civilisation tibétaine. 1962, edition definitive. 263 p. P. 1987; English tr. Tibetan Civilization. 1972.

Transl. Vie et chants de Brug-pa kun-leg. P. 1972; ed. “Le texte tibétain de ‘Brug-pa kun-legs”, ZASt 7, 1973, 9-219; “Vocabulaire tibétaine de la biographie de ‘Brug-pa kun-legs”, ZASt 8, 1974, 129-178.

– “La soumission de Rudra et autres contes tantriques”, JA 283, 1995, 121-160.

 “Jardins en miniature d’Extrême-Orient“, BEFEO 42, 1942, 1-104, rev. ed. P. 1987, English transl. by Ph. Brooks: The world in miniature: container gardens and dwellings in Far Eastern religious thought. 418 p. 115 ill. Stanford 1990; Le Lin-yi, sa localisation, sa contribution á la formation du Champa et ses liens avec la Chine. 355 p. Peking 1947.

Sources: Kuo Liying, Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie 1999, 10-30 with bibliography and photo; P.-Ét. Will, D.O.L.F. 912f.; *Tantric and Taoist Studies in honour of R. A. Stein. Ed. by M. Strickmann. 1–3. Mélanges Chinois et Bouddhiques 20–22. Bruxelles 1981–85 with photo: Chercheurs d’Asie 237-240; Wikipedia.

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