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-
On October 10–11, 2019, the International Academic Conference
Intellectual traditions of Ismailis and Sufis.
In Memory of W.A. Ivanow (1886–1970)
will be held at the IOM RAS.
The program of the conference is accessible.