Page:Barlaam and Josaphat. English lives of Buddha.djvu/40

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xxxiv
INTRODUCTION.

hermit's life, is simply a Christian adaptation of the Great Renunciation of Siddartha the Buddha. The late M. Amiaud, who studied the Greek forms of the legend, La Légende Syriaque de S. Alexis, Paris, 1889, came to the conclusion that it was written c. 450-75, originally without any name being attached to it, and without the second part, dealing with an impossible journey to "Rome," probably Constantinople. Curiously enough, in this early version the anonymous "holy man" is represented to have died at Edessa, 412, the very date within a year when the Church was dedicated to St. Barlaam, As this early life is solely devoted to the Great Renunciation, and was originally anonymous, I venture to suggest that it was derived directly or indirectly from the original of the Buddha book (Kitâb al-Budd), mentioned in the Fihrist. Whether the relation of the Alexis legend to the Church of St. Barlaam was accidental or not, it is indeed curious that the name of this otherwise unknown saint has become connected with both the Syriac forms of the Buddha legend.

Reverting to these given above, we have still