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Document Details :
Title: Quelques questions à propos de la biographie de Wang Chong (27-97?)
Author(s): ZUFFEREY, Nicolas
Journal: Journal Asiatique
Volume: 282 Issue: 1 Date: 1994
The life of the Han thinker Wang Chong (27-97?) remains elusive. His autobiography in the Lunheng (ch. 85) is rather a postface to his work rather than a factual account, and his biography in the Hou Hanshu is very brief. Moreover, significant discrepancies appear between the autobiography and the biography. Some of the key events of Wang Chong's life, for example his studies in the Eastern Han capital Luoyang, his links with the Ban Biao family or the invitation of Emperor Zhangdi, might be spurious, mainly because Wang Chong does not mention them in his autobiography. Satisfactory conclusions cannot be drawn either on a number of other issues related to the life of Wang Chong, for instance his links with the family of the usurper Wang Mang or the date of his death. If the lack of accurate information on the life of one of ancient China's greatest thinkers is disappointing, this article raises an even more disturbing question: is the Hou Hanshu a reliable historical source?