Oliver Hellwig has written some very interesting articles on applying various statistical techniques to Sanskrit texts (including the Mahābhārata) in order to determine "authorial structures" and hence relative dating:


The last article presents a technique for distinguishing sections of a text based on several features (lexical, syntactic, metrical, etc.) while controlling for differences introduced by changing topics.

On Fri, Oct 26, 2018 at 5:25 PM Harry Spier via INDOLOGY <indology@list.indology.info> wrote:

On Fri, Oct 26, 2018 at 12:18 PM Joydeep via INDOLOGY 

How are you identifying the “earlier strata” of the epic? 

1) I'd be interested if someone could  point out the scholarly articles on  relative dating of different parts of the Mahabharata.?

2) Could the techniques Michael Witzel pointed out years ago in this posting  to relatively date the books or the Ramayana  be used.  I.e relative occurance of  vai or similar words in vedic position 2 versus elsewhere. ?

3) Could a similar technique be used with other linguistic characteristics.I.e. relative occurance of linguistic characteristics  that are uncommon in vedic but common in classical sanskrit.  Whitney noted use of passive constructions,  participles instead of verbs, substitution of compounds for sentences as characteristic of the change from vedic to the classical language.

Harry Spier


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