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Malzahn M. A Contrastive Survey of Genres of Sanskrit and Tocharian Buddhist Texts // Written Monuments of the Orient. 1(7), 2018. P. 3–24.


Most Buddhist documents discovered from the 1st millennium Silk Road cultures are random manuscript fragments from what must once have been huge monastic libraries and archives. This is especially true for the Sanskrit and Tocharian texts in this corpus. The methodological advances in digital humanities now make it possible to investigate the whole available data (that is even very small pieces) by quantitative analysis. The present paper examines the literary genres of Sanskrit and Tocharian fragments found side by side in the remains of Buddhist sites. While the distribution of genres is astonishingly even in most cases, there is a predominance of canonical literature in Sanskrit on the once hand and a predominance of narrative literature in Tocharian on the other. The latter fact supports the assumption that the Tocharian culture freely adopted the Buddho-Indian model beyond mere translation work and established a distinctive narrative/dramatic genre that incorporates pre- Buddhist elements

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Keywords


genres of Buddhist literature
Sanskrit Buddhist texts
Tocharian Buddhist texts

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