Stein, R.

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Rolf Stein(1911 - 1999)

Rolf Alfred Stein (13 June 1911 – 9 October 1999) was a German-born French Sinologist and Tibetologist. He contributed in particular to the study of the Epic of King Gesar, on which he wrote two books, and the use of Chinese sources in Tibetan history. He was the first scholar to correctly identify the Minyag of Tibetan sources with the Xixia of Chinese sources.

Stein was born in Schwetz (now Świecie, Poland) to a family of Jewish origin in 1911. As a young man, Stein became interested in the occult, and it was from there that his interest in Tibet began.

He received his first degree in Chinese from the Seminar für Orientalische Sprachen at the University of Berlin in 1933. He fled to France the same year. He obtained degrees from l'École nationale des langues orientales vivantes in Chinese (1934) and Japanese (1936). In Paris he studied Tibetan with Jacques Bacot and Marcelle Lalou. He became a French citizen on 30 August 1939. Stein spent the Second World War in French Indo-China, working as a translator and where he was taken prisoner by the Japanese. He completed his doctorat d'État in 1960 on the Gesar epic.

Stein was a professor at the École pratique des hautes études, Ve section (Religions de la Chine et de la Haute Asie) from 1951 until 1975. He was a professor at the prestigious Collège de France from 1966 until 1982. He died in 1999. He was married to a Vietnamese lady from the highlands and adopted a daughter of Vietnamese-French descent.

Among Stein's most notable students were Anne-Marie Blondeau, Ariane Macdonald-Spanien, Samten Karmay, Yamaguchi Zuiho, and Yoshiro Imaeda. (Source Accessed Jan 20, 2020)

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