Page:Barlaam and Josaphat. English lives of Buddha.djvu/29

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xxiii
THE GREEK BARLAAM.

westward of the Fables of Bidpai, which have so many points of similarity with the Parables of Barlaam.

M. Zotenberg's arguments with regard to the Greek text and its date have been recently reinforced by two remarkable discoveries that have been made with regard to its sources. One of the striking episodes of the book is where Nachor is made to take the place of the holy hermit Barlaam, with the intention that he should make a feeble defence of Christianity in a public disputation between the two faiths which is about to be held before the wavering Josaphat. Nachor is accordingly about to play the part of a "bonnet" or confederate when he is forced by Josaphat to play fair, and accordingly delivers a glowing defence of the Christian Religion which routs his opponents. Changing the venue, the incident might have been taken from one of Capt. Hawley Smart's novels.

It would seem that Nachor either distrusted his own abilities, or had not time to get up his case, for a recent discovery has shown that he unblushingly borrowed the whole of his defence from an earlier Apologia. Among the treasures of early patristic literature which have been