Columbia Professor de Bary Named as 2016 Tang Prize Laureate for Sinology

2016 Jun. 20
第二屆唐獎漢學獎 授予儒學泰斗狄百瑞

2016唐獎「漢學獎」頒予美國哥倫比亞大學榮譽教授、中國思想史泰斗狄百瑞(William Theodore de Bary)教授,表彰其為儒家思想研究所作的貢獻與影響,他對儒家思想每有同情的理解與闡掦,也不乏誠懇的批評,功在國際儒學的研究,可謂一代漢學巨擘。

美國的狄百瑞教授曾兼任哥倫比亞大學副校長和東方語文系主任、國防語言及地區研究中心的首位主任,是西方儒學的開創性人物,對舉世儒學有卓著貢獻,著作宏富,近七十年的學術生涯中,編寫近三十冊書,其中有許多部具有突破性的貢獻。

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In a press conference from its office in Taiwan, the Tang Prize announced today (June 20) the 2016 Tang Prize in Sinology, which is the study of China and its related fields. William Theodore de Bary, Professor Emeritus of Columbia University, was named as the sole recipient this year “for his pioneering contributions in Confucian studies.”

The announcement was made by former Academia Sinica President and 1986 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Yuan Tseh Lee. A table of experts in the field of Sinology, ranging from literature to history and linguistics, joined him to witness and speak on the accomplishments of Professor de Bary. This included Current Acting President of the Academia Sinica Wang Fan-sen, Academicians David Der-Wei Wang, Yusheng Lin, William S.-Y. Wang, Chin-shing Huang, and Research Fellow at the Academia Sinica Sher-shiueh Li. Tang Prize Foundation CEO Jenn-Chuan Chern delivered the opening remarks to the historical event.

David Der-Wei Wang, in his introduction to de Bary’s 70-plus-year career, noted that de Bary has been involved in the editing, writing, and translating of more than 100 classics and books of his own. His 1960 Sources of Chinese Tradition was cited by many of the experts present as a seminal and foundational work. This compilation of translations and annotations of Chinese classics has remained a mainstay of Sinological studies for over 50 years, and has offered a thorough portrayal of different aspects of the social, political, intellectual, and cultural traditions of China to students in the English-speaking world.

狄百瑞教授在個人研究之外,亦投身許多相關的學術事務,例如編譯各種書籍。上個世紀60年代以來,許多學生與學者都大大受惠於狄百瑞教授出版的《Sources of Chinese Tradition》一書,他在其中既翻又解釋中國傳統經典和文獻,將中國文明基本的圖象完整呈現於英語世界的讀者前,此書擴大增訂版在1999、2000、2004陸續出版,可見其影響之久遠。雖年近百歲,狄百瑞教授仍勤著不輟,繼續在哥倫比亞大學任教。擔任得獎者介紹人的中央研究院院士王德威表示,上個世紀60年代以來,許多學生與學者都受惠於狄百瑞教授出版的《Sources of Chinese Tradition》一書,將中國傅統經典和文明的圖像完整呈現於英語世界的讀者前,並主持哥倫比亞大學的東亞人文研究與翻譯計劃,翻譯150本以上典籍,為美國的亞洲研究奠定良好基礎,在東亞文學的推動貢獻上首屈一指。

王德威認為在目前國際快速交流的趨勢下,狄百瑞教授的儒學推動不僅在於對中國傳統思想的肯定、批判與反思,而是提出西方各種人文領域所欠缺的、可對話的空間。並將歷久彌新的中國傳統觀念,稼接到當代社會,探討人權、公民社會、環境等前瞻性議題,提出真知灼見與解決方針,將東西對話擴展到全球對話,成為新世紀全球化下,重新思考人文領域重要性的領導人物。

狄百瑞教授主張儒學絶非現代化的阻礙,反而是東亞地區的文化資本。他強調中國雖乏西方意義下的「自由主義」,但並非不重視「自由」。他認為明代理學尤其保存「自由傾向」(liberal tendencies)的各種價值,驅使眾多儒家與新儒家的「君子」在史上以所謂「先知的聲音」(prophetic voice)反抗濫用政治力量。

Wang also brought attention to de Bary’s role as a pioneer of Confucian studies in the West and in the world overall. “He has single handedly reinvigorated the thought, learning, and training of Confucian thought, particularly in the Cheng-Zhu school,” Wang said during the introduction. His work has brought Confucianism, an essential element of Chinese civilization, to the attention of the world, not only in its traditional sense, but in the modern and post-modern senses as well.

Another major theme that de Bary has written on at length is the Confucian emphasis on the individual and freedom. Throughout his works he has advocated that Confucianism is by no means an obstacle to modernization, on the contrary it is the core foundation of culture across East Asia. Chin-shing Huang corroborated on this point, saying that to understand these cultures, it is essential to understand the traditions out of which they were born. And, perhaps most important, one must study these cultures not with the analytical tools of the Western tradition. “Professor de Bary held that to understand Chinese culture, one ought to do so from the Chinese perspective,” said Huang.

Yusheng Lin, an historian of Chinese thought, added that de Bary has brought attention to the comparative aspects of development between the East and West. However different the systems of the East and West may seem, there are still many commonalities to recognize, and many differences from which each side can learn.  

In addition to studying and writing on Confucianism, de Bary was also responsible for bringing the thought and traditions of Confucianism, Buddhism, Japanese culture, and Hinduism into the Core Curriculum at Columbia. This worldly approach is reflected in his career as a whole, in his encouraging of dialogue between different cultures as the best way to showcase the value of human rights of civil society and resolve key issues facing the world today. 

David Der-Wei Wang ended by saying that throughout his career, de Bary has continued to “pursue the ultimate goal of the Confucian ideal, that is, the making of gentleman (junzi).” Over his long and illustrious career, as educator, writer, and provost of Columbia University, de Bary “has embodied the true spirit of Confucianism,” especially “our understanding of humanity and our understanding of world humanity,” added Wang.

Founded in 2012 by Samuel Yin, the Tang Prize awards achievements in four categories: Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law. The newest round of awardees will be announced live streaming on June 18-21, 2016, and will receive the medal, diploma, and cash prize at the award ceremony on September 25 in Taipei.

http://www.tang-prize.org/first.php


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