Page:Barlaam and Josaphat. English lives of Buddha.djvu/36

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INTRODUCTION.

Finally, the Georgian text differs widely from the Greek, and cannot therefore have been its original: while the unique MS. that contains it attributes it to "Sophron of Palestine, the son of Isaac." Things are not always what they seem when scholarly hypotheses are about.

Dismissing thus the Grusinian version out of the purview, there remain the various Arabic versions, and the Hebrew one, to assist us in our search after the Urquelle. And first with regard to the Arabic versions: considerable light is thrown by various references made in the Kitâb al-Fihrist, a sort of Arabic Lowndes or Brunet. This contains references in various places to no less than four books that may possibly have influenced the Barlaam literature, (a) A Buddha book, Kitâb al-Budd. (b) A Kitâb Yudâsâf wa-Balauhar. (c) A book of "Yudasaf alone" and (d) a poem of Aban ibn Abdal-Hamid (ob. 822), with the same title as (b). Excluding the last, which is no longer in existence, and can only have been of secondary importance, it seems clear that there existed a double set of books in Arabic, one dealing directly with Buddha