Born in Tubingen, Germany. Wilhelm studied in Bashehui Theological Seminary in 1894. Three years later he was sent to Tsingtau, Shandong. He was sympathetic toward the courageous fight of the Chinese against the Baguolianjunin in 1900 and felt that it was a boost to the Chinese cultural spirit. In the bloody incident after the Germans occupied Jiaozhou and forcibly built the Jiaoji Railway, Wilhelm led doctors to rescue the injured people He also set up Lixian Institution and Tsingtau Institute, which emphasized the passing on of technology.
Wilhelm was very interested in Chinese culture, especially Confucianism. He formed the Zunkongwenshe in 1913 and specially converted his tennis court into a Chinese Gujicangshulou. There were a total of 30,000 old books. In his 20 years in China, he translated many Chinese classics as well as poetry, history, and novels. He was the literary consultant to the German embassy. In 1924 he returned home and taught Chinese studies at Frankfurt University and obtained an honorary doctorate. He also started the Chinese Institution in Frankfurt and Munich, which was named Weida de deyizhi Zhongguoren. His famous works include Zhongguo Wenming Jianshi, Shiyong Zhongguo Changshi, Zhongguo Jingshen, and others. Wilhelm’s two sons also became Chinese studies scholars and taught at Beijing University.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, copyright © 2001 by Scott W. Sunquist, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.