Page:Barlaam and Josaphat. English lives of Buddha.djvu/38

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
xxxii
INTRODUCTION.

doubt what the unknown quantity Y is, as regards the Greek version. Syriac was the main conduit pipe through which the treasures of Greek literature debouched on to the Orient, and inversely, it was mainly through Syriac versions that Oriental treasures were added to Greco-Byzantine literature: and we have special reason for saying, as we shall soon see, that Syriac was the immediate source of the Greek version. But that the Georgian also derived from that language, as Dr. Kuhn suggests, the only external confirmation of the suggestion he can give, is its alleged authorship by Sophron of Palestine. Against it, and as I think, obviously against it, is the title of the Georgian version, which connects it with an Arabic, and disconnects it from a Syrian source.

Proper names are the feu follet of the etymologist, but the Pole Star of the literary historian; the one has to guess at their inner meaning, the other can follow the changes in their outer form. There can be no doubt how and why the name Barlaam got into the Greek version, instead of the form Balauhar, found in the recently discovered Oriental ones. Barlaam