Page:Barlaam and Josaphat. English lives of Buddha.djvu/45

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xxxix
THE ORIENTAL VERSIONS.

fore for the present be set aside in our journey to the fons et origo of the whole literature.

Thus far we are led to the conclusion that this original was in Pehlevi, and on this point there is, practically, unanimity among recent investigators. But the book, on the face of it, is propagandist, and the question arises, what religion was it whose interests it was composed to further? Dr. Kuhn declares for a Christian author, but on very slight grounds, as it seems to me. True, there is a certain amount of evidence for the existence of a Christian Pehlevi literature.[1] True, the Nestorian Church was firmly established in East Iran. The possibility, therefore, of the Christian manipulation of the Buddha legend in that district cannot be denied. But the Barlaam book in its Pehlevi form had very little theological tendency. The theologisms of the Greek text are excrescences, and are peculiar to that version. The only trace of Christian influence to which Dr. Kuhn can point, is the parable of The Sower, to which, curiously enough, there are strong Buddhistic parallels (Carus, Gospel

  1. Professor Sachau in Journal Roy. Asiat. Soc. N.S., iv. 230, seq.