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.
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