Stephan Peter Bumbacher
November 27, 2018
Sinology, as far as textual criticism is concerned, is still in its infancy compared with, e. g., New Testament, classical Greek or European medieval studies. Whereas virtually every ancient Greek, old English, or early German text – to name but a few – has been the subject of text critical scrutiny, in many cases even since Renaissance times, the same does not hold true for Chinese works. In the absence of early manuscripts they could themselves base upon, modern editions of classical Chinese texts usually take as their starting point the earliest extant printed versions which quite often date from Song times and are thus separated by many centuries from the no longer available originals. However, quite often testimonies of ancient texts exist as quotations in works that considerably predate the first printed versions of the texts in question. In view of this fact, virtually every classical Chinese text needs to be systematically re-examined and critically edited by taking into account every available explicit as well as implicit quotation. As the received version of the Zhuang zi 莊子 (Master Zhuang), a text whose origins may lie in the third century BCE, ultimately goes back to Guo Xiang’s 郭象 (ob. 312) editorial activities and as Ge Hong 葛洪 (283–343) was an author active at about the same time, there is a chance that a pre-Guo Xiang version may have been available to him. Therefore, as a case study, this paper examines the explicit as well as implicit Zhuang zi quotations to be found within Ge Hong’s works, in order to examine this possibility.