This lecture will give an overview of the currently known corpus of Gāndhārī manuscripts and discuss how they are being preserved, studied and published in both print and digital editions. The lecture also will take as an example and discuss in detail a Gāndhārī commentary on early Buddhist verses now preserved in the British Library.
Thursday, March 9, 2023
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM (Pacific Time)
243 Royce Hall
The ongoing discovery of early Buddhist manuscripts in the Gāndhārī language and Kharoṣṭhī script, dating as far back as the first century BCE, sheds much new light on the development of Buddhist literature and doctrines in ancient Gandhāra and beyond. Approximately 150 such manuscripts are now known, all from unknown findspots in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and most of them still unpublished. The first part of this lecture will give an overview of the currently known corpus of Gāndhārī manuscripts and discuss how they are being preserved, studied and published in both print and digital editions. The second part of the lecture will take as an example and discuss in detail a Gāndhārī commentary on early Buddhist verses now preserved in the British Library. This commentary is the oldest of its type in this collecton and appears to have given rise to a local micro-genre of verse commentaries. Wider-ranging connections exist with the old layer of Buddhist exegesis preserved in the Pali Suttaniddesa and Peṭakopadesa, as well as some of the earliest Chinese Buddhist translations. Two particularly interesting sections of the Gāndhārī commentary explain verses from the Dharmapada that have also received much attention in Pali and Sanskrit Buddhist literature. A comparison of their treatments in these three traditions reveals different Buddhist responses to Brahmanism in the early centuries CE and the special nature of the Gāndhārī tradition.
Stefan Baums teaches Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali, and Buddhist Studies at the Institute for Indology and Tibetology of the University of Munich and is lead researcher of the Buddhist Manuscripts from Gandhāra project at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. His research ranges from Buddhist philology and epigraphy to classical Sanskrit literature, the development of Buddhist hermeneutics, and the description of Gāndhārī language and literature. His current work focuses on the study of Gāndhārī manuscripts containing early Buddhist commentaries and scholastic works. He is editor of the Dictionary of Gāndhārī and co‐editor of the Gandhāran Buddhist Texts series.
This is an in-person event only. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Cost : Free and open to the public but registration is required.