the oldest buddhist text found

thompson at thompson at
Thu Aug 1 16:24:01 UTC 1996

In the absence of a more detailed response from Graham Shaw [via Jerry
Losty] or from Richard Salomon, and while we are waiting for for the
picture forthcoming  on OIOC's home-pages on the British Library's WWW link

perhaps the best source of public information for now is a rather detailed
article in the New York Sunday Times, July 7, 1996 [p.3], by John Darnton
[unfortunately, or rather fortunately, it is too long to append here].
Besides asserting directly that the language of these texts is indeed
Gandhari, the article is accompanied by a nice photograph of a fragment of
a ms in Kharosthi script.  The article also goes on to quote Salomon rather
extensively.  For example:

"The importance of these new manuscripts for the study of Buddhism  is
potentially  comparable to that of the Dead Sea Scrolls to Judaism and
early Christianity...."

Besides other interesting remarks by Salomon, the article also quotes a
verse from a poem called "The Rhinoceros Horn", found on one of the mss,
which I will not quote, however, so as to tantalize....

Best wishes,
George Thompson

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