Page:Barlaam and Josaphat. English lives of Buddha.djvu/34

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xxviii
INTRODUCTION.

years ago discovered that one of the best known didactic poems in Mediæval Jewish literature, The Prince and the Dervish, by Abraham ibn Chisdai, was undoubtedly a version of the Barlaam legend. Lastly, a Mr. Marr has discovered and (partly) published a Georgian version of the legend under the title Mudrost' Balavara, or, "The Wisdom of Balavar." Almost any of these versions might be, or represent, the original form of the legend, and the present stage of Barlaam criticism is concerned with their relative antiquity and independence. Among these high summits of Oriental scholarship it is customary to tie oneself to the latest German[1] in order to avoid falling into the many crevasses in the path. In accordance with this custom I attach myself to Dr. Kuhn.

The most startling suggestion that has been made with regard to these recent discoveries of Oriental versions has been, that the Greek text was a translation from the Georgian. Baron von Rosen, in a review of M. Zoten-

  1. But what if the latest German himself tumbles?