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James Legge

James Legge (1815-1897), British sinologist, was born at Huntly, Aberdeenshire, in 1815, and educated at Kings College, Aberdeen. After studying at the Highbury Theological College, London, he went in 1839 as a missionary to China, but remained at Malacca three years, in charge of the Anglo-Chinese College there. The College was subsequently moved to Hong Kong, where Legge lived for thirty years. Believing in the necessity of missionaries being able to comprehend the ideas and culture of the Chinese, he began in 1841 a translation in many volumes of the Chinese classics, a monumental task admirably executed and completed a few years before his death.

In 1870 he returned to Aberdeen and in 1884 moved to Edinburgh University. In 1876 he assumed the new Chair of Chinese Language and Literature at Oxford. In addition to his other work Legge wrote The Life and Teaching of Confucius (1867); The Life and Teaching of Mencius (1875); The Religions of China (1880); and other books on Chinese literature and religion. He died at Oxford on 29 November 1897.