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The Dating of the Historical Buddha: A Review Article*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2009


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Review Article
Copyright © The Royal Asiatic Society 1996

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A review article of The Dating of the Historical Buddha. Die Datierung des Historischen Buddha. Edited by Heinz Bechert. 2 Vols (of 3). (Symposium zur Buddhismusforschung, IV, 1–2) pp. xv + 525; x + 530. Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1991–1992. DM 310, 256.


1 Blue Annals, p. 22Google Scholar (cited Symp, . IV, 1, p. 399Google Scholar).

2 In the present volumes see: Symp, (osium) IV, 1, pp. 344357; 359361; 398399; 409411Google Scholar; Symp, . IV, 2, pp. 266–8Google Scholar (nn. 15 and 17); 271 n. 42.

3 Bechert, H., “The date of the Buddha reconsidered”, IT (1982), pp. 2936Google Scholar; “A remark on the problem of the date of Mahāvīra”, IT (1983), pp. 287290CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Die Lebenszeit des Buddha—das älteste feststehende Datum der indischen Geschichte? (Göttingen, 1986)Google Scholar; “Remarks on the date of the Historical Buddha”, Buddhist Studies (1988), pp. 97117.Google Scholar

4 There were a few hold-outs, notably E. J. Thomas.

5 Lamotte, E., Histoire du bouddhisme Indien, des origines à I'ère Saka, Bibliothèque du Muséon, vol. 43 (Louvain, 1958), p. 15.Google Scholar The origin of the expression “working hypothesis” in this context is usually attributed to Max Möller. (He applied it to the date of Samudragupta). However, the OED attributes its first use in English to Hutton, R. H. in 1871Google Scholar.

6 Cousins, L. S., “The ‘Five Points’ and the origins of the Buddhist schools”, in The Buddhist Forum, ed. Skorupski, T., ii (London, 1991), p. 59f.Google Scholar

7 Op. cit., pp. 55–7Google Scholar.

8 Most clearly expressed by Gombrich: Symp, . IV, 2, p. 239 n. 12Google Scholar.