Presents the intellectual world of early medieval Sichuan through a critical biography of historian and classicist Qiao Zhou.
The Talent of Shu reconstructs the intellectual world of early medieval Sichuan through a critical biography of Qiao Zhou, a noted classicist, historian, and official of Shu-Han. Countering conceptions of Sichuan as an intellectual backwater, author J. Michael Farmer provides an analytical narrative history of the significant intellectual and scholarly activity in the region during the late second through third centuries CE.
Qiao Zhou stands as an apt figure to represent the intellectual world of third-century Sichuan. An heir to a long-standing regional intellectual tradition, he was trained in political prophesy, canonical studies, and ancient history, and in true Confucian fashion, employed these skills in the service of the state. While some of Qiao's scholarship, as well as his political engagement, was conservative, he also stands as an innovator in the fields of canonical and historical criticism and local history. As such, he embodies not only the scholarly tradition of Sichuan, but also the intellectual transitions of the age.
J. Michael Farmer is Assistant Professor of Chinese History at the University of Texas at Dallas.
"With a detailed study of often fragmentary material, Farmer presents a new account of a neglected area of Chinese intellectual history and has reconstructed much of the work of Qiao Zhou and his contemporaries. It is an impressive contribution, and valuable to anyone concerned with the intellectual world of medieval China. " — China Review International
"This book is crisply written, meticulously researched, and comprehensive. The author astutely draws material from a wide range of sources and threads them into a single, coherent narrative, along the way making reasonable connections and offering interesting conclusions. " — Charles Holcombe, author of The Genesis of East Asia, 221 B. C.–A. D. 907