Page:Barlaam and Josaphat. English lives of Buddha.djvu/46

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xl
INTRODUCTION.

of Buddha. I cannot think that any work, written with the express view of the propagation of the faith, would be so singularly free from all dogmatic colouring.

The existence of the Hebrew version confirms me in my belief that the original work was not intended, or regarded, as specifically religious, or, at any rate, theological. Its teaching is ascetic, it is true, but all religions have a touch of asceticism. It was for the sake of its parables, not for its theology, that the book was taken up, equally by Moslem, Jewish, and Christian writers. Now the Hebrew version is much fuller in its parables, containing no less than ten[1] not found in the other versions. Of these, four at least can be traced back to India (Bird and Angel, The Power of Love, Language of Animals, and Robbers' Nemesis). I see no reason, therefore, why we should not go behind the Pehlevi and look for the original in its complete form, as we can certainly trace it in its elements, to India itself.

  1. Bird and Angel, c. ix.; Cannibal King, c. xii.; The Good Physician, c. xiv.; King and Pious Shepherd; Oasis and Garden, c. xvi.; The Hungry Bitch, c. xvii.; The Power of Love, c. xviii.; Eel and Dog, c. xxiii.; The Language of Animals, c. xxiv.; The Robbers' Nemesis.