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Ancient Buddhist Scrolls from Gandhara: The British Library Kharosthi Fragments (Gandharan Buddhist Texts) Paperback – March 1, 1999

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In 1994, the British Library received a collection of 29 birch bark scrolls from Gandhara, an area in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Written in Kharosthi script, the scrolls are believed to be the oldest Buddhist manuscripts as well as the oldest Indian manuscripts known to exist, estimated at nearly 2000 years old. Salomon (Asian languages and literature, Univ. of Washington), head of a team of scholars from the University of Washington and the British Library, has written this first volume in a projected series on the scrolls as an overview of their general importance. The introduction warns that some of the material may be too technical or esoteric for the lay reader and thoughtfully points out which chapters are more accessible. A great deal of information is carefully presented, ranging from how the manuscripts were preserved through their general place in early Gandharan and Buddhist culture and what they may reveal. For collections in museum studies, archaeology, and ancient languages and linguistics, this is an important source. For Buddhist studies collections, it is indispensable.AMark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll., NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"A rare example of a book that appeals equally to the specialist . . . as well as to the general reader interested in archaeology or in Buddhist thought and practice."―Choice

"Professor Salomon has brilliantly illuminated the path to a more historically nuanced approach to the study of Buddhist manuscripts. . . . This volume will serve as a benchmark of clarity, readability, and scholarly precision for anyone attempting to work in similar materials in the future."―Sino-Platonic Papers

"The remarkable success of the rescue and conservation by British Library staff, and of the decipherment and reconstruction by the team in Seattle, hold a promise of yet more revolutionary insights into the construction and meaning of the early Buddhist texts."―Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

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Product Details

  • Series: Gandharan Buddhist Texts
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press; Paper edition edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0295977698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0295977690
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,147,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
We live in an age inured to change and intoxicated with novelty. Evidence of the past is carelessly tossed away all around us, and few make any effort to dredge it back up later.
Thus it is fascinating -- and curiously reassuring -- when anyone stumbles on some long-lost relic or other, and manages to extract from it a few precious clues regarding what man may once have been or where he may have come from. T.V. has bored most of us stiff with endlessly repeated news about King Tut and his celebrated tomb. Obviously some must still be convinced that the barely preserved corpse and outrageously overstuffed grave of an ancient youngster -- however marginal historically -- can still yield valuable information of some kind.
Considered for a brief time at least somewhat newsworthy was the recent announcement that a cache of birch-bark manuscripts containing ancient Buddhist texts was discovered (though no one seems to know exactly where, when or how). The news media is no longer much interested in the find, but scholars certainly continue to be -- and for reasons at least as compelling as those which attract us to Tut and his excess of playthings.
These manuscripts are believed to be the oldest Buddhist documents in existence, and perhaps the earliest Indian Documents as well. I am in no position to appreciate the significance of this for the study of Indian history or literature. However there can be little doubt that the find is extremely important to an understanding of what Buddhism may once have been -- and how it became what we now think it is.
Don't hold your breath waiting to find out about these manuscripts from a T.V. special, as you did perhaps with the Shroud of Turin or the Dead Sea Scrolls.
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in the info on amazon.com on this book it says
"As the Dead Sea scrolls have changed our understanding of Judaism and early Christianity, so a set of twenty-nine scrolls recently acquired by the British Library promise to provide a window into a crucial phase of the history of Buddhism in India. " that may be but this book offers no depth or insight about any of that its just academic ramblings.
also i quote " A great deal of information is carefully presented, ranging from how the manuscripts were preserved through their general place in early Gandharan and Buddhist culture and what they may reveal. For collections in museum studies, archaeology, and ancient languages and linguistics,"

now thats true but none of that believe it or not offers any real insight into the texts. to me if offered a lot of insight into the author but not the texts.

beside being extremely boring and full of academic posturing you will find this book is mostly about the handwriting of the scribes or the names on potsherds .this book offers no real translation of the texts and not much description about the texts either . just a boring large overview with out going into any detail about the texts . the author goes into some extreme categorization, classifying and contexualzing which i felt offered nothing . its just academic nonsense for pages after pages. its like a beautiful statue of the buddha stripped of its beautiful gold paint and replaced with a coating of old chewed crewing gum.
instead i felt this book was written by some university professor to have on his resume or something
nothing groundbreaking or interesting and the translations he offers are tiny paragraphs that just made me think why am i not reading full translations
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