Michael Loewe

Michael Arthur Nathan Loewe (born 2 November 1922) is a British Sinologist, historian, and writer who has authored dozens of books, articles, and other publications in the fields of Classical Chinese and ancient Chinese history.

Michael Loewe
Professor Michael Loewe, 2005.jpg
Michael Loewe in 2005[note 1]
Born (1922-11-02) 2 November 1922 (age 98)
Oxford, England
EducationSOAS, University of London (1st)
SOAS, University of London (PhD)
Spouse(s)Carmen Blacker
Scientific career
FieldsChinese history
InstitutionsCambridge University
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese魯惟一
Simplified Chinese鲁惟一

Life and careerEdit

Michael Loewe was born on 2 November 1922 in Oxford, England, to a distinguished Anglo-Jewish family.[1] Loewe's great-grandfather Louis Loewe (1809–1888) was a Prussian Silesian professor of Oriental studies and theology who later emigrated to Britain, and was the personal secretary of the prominent British Jewish businessman, financier, and philanthropist Moses Montefiore. Loewe's father, Herbert Loewe, was a professor of the Semitic languages who taught at both Cambridge University and Oxford University, while his mother, Ethel Victoria Hyamson, was a sister of the British official and historian Albert Hyamson. His elder brother Raphael Loewe (1919–2011) was, like their father, a scholar of Semitic languages, and was a professor of Hebrew and Jewish studies at University College London. Loewe was married to Carmen Blacker, a scholar in the Japanese language.

Loewe attended secondary school at The Perse School in Cambridge, then entered university at Magdalen College, Oxford. Due to the Second World War, Loewe left Oxford in 1942 to train as a Japanese specialist officer in the Government Communications Headquarters, while studying Mandarin Chinese in his spare time.[2] During a six-month stay in Beijing in 1947, Loewe became interested in traditional and historical Chinese topics, which he began studying at the School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London after returning to Britain.[2] He received a first class honours degree in 1951, and in 1956 he left the government to serve as a Lecturer in the History of the Far East at the University of London. SOAS awarded him a PhD in 1963, and he subsequently joined the faculty at Cambridge, where he taught until retiring in 1990 to focus solely on research and scholarship. He is a fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge.


A unique award in Loewe's honour exists at Cambridge: the "Michael Loewe Prize" may be awarded annually to one or more undergraduate candidates who have achieved distinction in literary Chinese.[3]

Selected worksEdit

  • Loewe, Michael (1959). "Some Han-time Documents from Chü-yen". T'oung Pao. 47: 294–322. doi:10.1163/156853259X00123. JSTOR 4528102.
  • ——— (1966). Imperial China: The Historical Background to the Modern Age. London: George Allen and Unwin.
  • ——— (1967). Records of Han Administration (2 vols.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • ——— (1968). Everyday Life in Early Imperial China During the Han Period. London: B.T. Batsford. Reprinted (1988), New York: Dorset Press.
  • ——— (1974). Crisis and Conflict in Han China. London: George Allen and Unwin.
  • ——— (1977). "Manuscripts Found Recently in China: A Preliminary Survey". T'oung Pao. 63 (2/3): 99–136. doi:10.1163/156853277X00042. JSTOR 4528102.
  • ——— (1979). Ways to Paradise: The Chinese Quest for Immortality. London: George Allen and Unwin.
  • ——— (1982). Chinese Ideas of Life and Death: Faith, Myth and Reason in the Han Period. London: George Allen and Unwin.
  • Loewe, Michael; Twitchett, Denis, eds. (1986). The Cambridge History of China, vol. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • ——— (1990). The Pride that was China. London: Sidgwick and Jackson.
  • Loewe, Michael, ed. (1993). Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide. Berkeley: Society for the Study of Early China; Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California Berkeley.
  • ——— (1994). Divination, Mythology and Monarchy in Han China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • ———; Shaughnessy, Edward, eds. (1999). The Cambridge History of Ancient China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • ——— (2000). A Biographical Dictionary of the Qin, Han and Xin Dynasties. Leiden: Brill.
  • ——— (2004). The Men who Governed China in Han Times. Leiden: Brill.
  • ——— (2011). Dong Zhongshu, a "Confucian" heritage and the Chunqiu fanlu. Leiden: Brill.


  1. ^ Photo provided by Prof. Roel Sterckx



  1. ^ International Who's Who of Authors and Writers 2004. Europa Publications. 2003. ISBN 1857431790.
  2. ^ a b Three Questions to Michael Loewe
  3. ^ Cambridge University, Department East Asian Studies: Chinese, undergraduate studies.


Works cited

External linksEdit