Hellmut Wilhelm 1905-1990

Hellmut Wilhelm
Hellmut Wilhelm

Hellmut Wilhelm, the son of Richard Wilhelm, was born in 1905. He studied the I Ching and added to the available literature. In Japanese occupied Peking, in 1943 he gave a series of eight lectures on the I Ching, quoting his father’s work and adding to it. He was very traditional and averse to the modern curiosity in occultism. He gave these lectures in German to a group of interested Europeans. In 1961 these lectures would be translated from German to English by Cary F. Baynes and published under the title, “Change: Eight Lectures on the I Ching”. Some time late he became a Professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. Hellmut Wilhelm lectured at the Eranos conferences where he was known to have spoken of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’ study of the I Ching. Leibniz through his concept of “pre-established harmony” was apparently an early influence on Carl Jung and his formulation of synchronicity. In 1977, his work “Heaven, Earth, and Man in The Book of Changes”, was published.
The author met Hellmut Wilhelm at his residence outside of Washington in 1976 where a long discussion about the King Wan arrangement ensued. The author was critical of King Wan and Hellmut was more sympathetic. The discussion ended with Hellmut suggesting that the author should be kind to King Wan. The result was twenty more years of further study and research before the author’s book “I Ching, The Sequence of Change” was written.

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