Gita chronology

L.M.Fosse at L.M.Fosse at
Sat Aug 3 11:11:28 UTC 1996

Dear Dr. Resnick,

the following articles might be of interest to you:

George C. O. Haas (1922). "Recurrent and Parallel Passages in the Principal
Upanishads and the Bhagavadgita." Journal of the American Oriental Society,
42: 1ff.

Mislav Jezic (1986). Textual Layers of the Bhagavadgita as Traces of Indian
Cultural History. Sanskrit and World Culture. Berlin, 628-638.

Mislav Jezic (-). The First Yoga Layer in the Bhagavadgita. Ludwik
Sternbach Felicitation Volume. Lucknow, Akhila Bharatiya Sanskrit Parishad.

Georg von Simson (1969). "Die Einschaltung der Bhagavadgita im
Bhishmaparvan des Mahabharata." Wiener Zeitschrift fur die Kunde Sudasiens,
Wien,  : 159-174.

Since I have been working with chronological problems myself, let me point
out a few difficulties: Before you try to define the relative or absolute
chronology of a given piece of writing, you must feel fairly certain that
this piece of writing is homogeneous and not a composite work. The BG is a
composite work.

Furthermore, and generally speaking, you cannot use information deriving
from one or two verses as a means of defining the chronology. Any single
verse can, in principle, have been added at a later date. Only features
that prevail in various parts of a work, with a reasonably even spread, can
be used for dating purposes. You should also remember that Sanskrit works
were sometimes rewritten to fit new purposes. Thus, a text may rest on an
older, and somewhat different text, with a different ideological slant.
This makes dating in many cases a very uncertain game. If you use
linguistic criteria, it may seem older than it is in its present shape.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudveien 76, Leil. 114,
N-0674 OSLO Norway

Tel: +47 22 32 12 19
Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Mobile phone: 90 91 91 45

E-mail: L.M.Fosse at

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