[Buddha-l] New? Gandhari documents

Blezer, H.W.A. H.W.A.Blezer at hum.leidenuniv.nl
Tue Jan 29 13:15:32 MST 2013

Dear Charlie, Joanna and Dan,

the Buddhist Manuscripts from Gandhāra project at the University of Munich is a new cooperation partner of the Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project at the University of Washington. There will be some collaborative text editions between Seattle and Munich, and the Dictionary of Gāndhārī is being compiled jointly by Andrew Glass in Seattle and myself in Munich. In addition, the Munich project continues the editorial work of the project ‘The Bajaur collection of Buddhist Kharoṣṭhī manuscripts’ (Harry Falk and Ingo Strauch, Free University of Berlin, 2005–2012) as well as the study of the so‐called Split Collection (Harry Falk). We have a project website with more information at the following address:


The ‘yielded some suprising findings’ bit is press speak (‘sorgen in der Fachwelt für Überraschungen’ in the original German), and refers to the overall and ongoing revolution in our understanding of early Buddhist literature caused by the Gandhāran manuscript finds (in Gāndhārī and Sanskrit) that have been made since the 1990s. This includes particularly the numerous, previously unknown abhidharma texts and commentaries that constitute a missing link between Pali and Sanskrit Buddhist exegetical literature (and its Chinese translations), and the several Gāndhārī Mahāyāna sūtras that provide a window on the formative phase of this movement as it unfolded in Gandhāra.

Overall, we now have around 80 voluminous Gāndhārī birch‐bark manuscripts, and hundreds of fragments, all of which will take decades to edit and study. There are several scholarly teams working on this material, each focusing on a particular part of the corpus and collaborating with each other. In addition to the Seattle and Munich projects, there are Mark Allon and his students at the University of Sydney, Ingo Strauch at the University of Lausanne, and others. These are exciting times for Buddhist philology.

All best wishes,

Dr. Stefan Baums
Institute for Indian and Tibetan Studies Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

[forwarded on behalf of Stefan Baums, Henk Blezer]

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