[INDOLOGY] Sanskrit literature in numbers

Hartmut Buescher buescherhartmut at gmail.com
Thu Apr 20 21:00:52 UTC 2017

Dear Dominik,

actually I don't assume that Camillo is not in fact aware of the
but found his assertion (“[...] various estimates of the number of South
Asian manuscripts,
but again, these numbers again are simply telling us—in an unreliable
way—how many books
have survived, not how many works were composed”) to be a bit unclear in
that respect,
given particularly the “how” is problematic.

Of course, his point that we don't know how much is lost is obvious.
But, given that both the very notion of a Sanskrit manuscript as well as
the correlation
between manuscripts and works are rather complex, there is a tendency of
when asserting that the numbers of manuscripts “are simply telling us ...
how many books have survived”.

My point has merely been to reemphasize the nature of these complexities,
thereby some of the implicit problems concerning our basis for answering
concerning quantitative assessments of the “body of Sanskrit literature”
in pre-modern times.

Best wishes,


On Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 9:14 PM, Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk at gmail.com>

> I don't think anybody has suggested an equivalence between works and
> manuscripts, have they?  Thoughtfully-designed projects, like
> Panditproject.org, and the Woolner Project database
> <https://www.istb.univie.ac.at/cgi-bin/smwc/smwc.cgi> and, outside our
> field, Philobiblon <http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/philobiblon/> or Syriaca
> <http://syriaca.org/work/609>, have the work-manuscript distinction in
> their DNA.
> Best,
> Dominik Wujastyk

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