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Philology Lost: Variable Interpretations of the Raid of Guangzhou in 758 from the 18th to 21st Centuries

Johannes Kurz

Seiten 81 - 115

Translations from premodern works play a major part in the understanding of China. Very often these translations lead to interpretations that are not supported by the evidence provided by the source material. Scholars rarely challenge interpretations by re-evaluating the source material. In cases where the information is extremely limited, scholars fill the lacunae with assumptions to make up deficient information. The present example – of “Arabs” and “Persians” invading Guangzhou in 758 – illustrates the vagaries of this commonly accepted process, as writers over a span of 150 years could not only not agree on one common point of view but rarely knew that different perspectives on the topic existed.

Keywords: Problematic interpretations; Guangzhou 758; Hainan pirate base in the Tang; speculative history.


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