Since you make such a big deal of the dialect vs language distinction, let me rephrase my question as follows:ancientbuddhism wrote:The study of dialects does not necessarily have the same convenience of organisation as established languages. The study is more complex and nuanced than one may expect to find of a language given a “name/grammar/dictionary”.
Can you name some of the distinct MIA languages that were present in BCE India, and referred to in the literature (either Buddhist or non-Buddhist) of that era? Has any scholar found the name/grammar/dictionary (from BCE) of a single MIA language?
I have read them, and I do agree he has done a lot of homework, and is in many ways more knowledgeable than other scholars. I do not consider him infallible though, as I have observed he does make some apparently specious "belief" claims in certain areas (particularly on topics outside philology, his area of expertise).Norman considers himself an expert in MIA dialects “used primarily in North India between about 500 BC and 1000 AD…” (Norman, 1994, p. 7). He is extensively published, but the lecture series I mentioned earlier would be well worth your time to read as an overview.
I dont understand this. What is a baseless claim? Is it that the tipitaka has been a written text for the last 2000 years or so?This is just restating the opinion you have given. It remains a baseless claim.
Or is your disagreement about the null hypothesis (that it was not only a written text for the last 2000 years, but for 2300-2400 years i.e. for its entire existence)?
The Dipavamsa and commentaries were composed about one millenium after the Buddha's lifetime, and that too in a foreign country thousands of kilometres away from where the Buddha lived. If you left it to the Chinese of 7th century AD to describe the invasions of Alexander, what is the chance they would describe it accurately?We have what the religious tradition (Dīpavaṃsa, 20.20 – 21 and commentaries) has given. Which is by far better than criticising archeology for 'digging in the wrong places' for what you lack.bharadwaja wrote:The evidences for the alternative hypothesis are completely absent.
That can be considered the Dipavamsa's conjecture, but it is not "proof" for anything. It does not even make sense, we know for certain that writing was first adopted by the Buddhists in the north-western parts of South Asia (where we find the oldest buddhist manuscripts), not the southernmost part i.e. Sri Lanka.
Yes, his arguments for the existence of an oral tradition are shaky and one-sided.Now I am really confused. Earlier, you said of Norman:bharadwaja wrote:His arguments are shaky and one sided.
But his findings about the canon being formerly (i.e. before it reached its current 'Pali' form) written in an imperfect script, is bang on!
Therefore he adds no value there, and I disagree with him there, because the oldest buddhist manuscripts are found in that part of India where we know writing first originated. Writing may have reached Sri Lanka in 100 BCE with the arrival of Buddhists from the north-western part of India, but the Dipavamsa's speculation of a time when the canon was not written is just that - a speculation. It may be true that writing was not used in Sri Lanka before 100 BCE (or about the start of the common era) but that by itself does not imply the existence of an oral tradition in BCE Sri Lanka, or in India.I have no idea what paper you were reading, but in the one you just cited, Norman defers to the Dīpavaṃsa and commentarial Theravāda tradition wrt the historical period and manner in which the tipiṭaka was written (circa 100 BCE).
So there is nothing to disprove, it is a dogmatic belief.
- “There is, however, little doubt that we can accept that the writing down of the tipiṭaka during the reign of Vaṭṭagāmiṇi Abhaya was an historic fact.” (Norman – 1994, p.78)
What is relevant is not your speculation that an oral tradition could have possibly existed for the Pali canon, but to show a model of how it could have worked.But it still remains a ‘working’ hypothesis to the baseless claim that simply because there is no evidence of a structured system for oral transmission of the pāḷi canon, as there is with the Vedic, that the former cannot have existed.
I understand your predicament. Do you therefore also claim that since there are no Pali manuscripts found before the 6th or 7th century CE, that the statement of Dipavamsa you mentioned cannot be true?This is just wishful thinking. To say that “This does not mean there were no manuscripts before the 1st century BCE, but that they are still not excavated.” Couples with your earlier claim that “Archaeologists have been digging in the wrong places."
Therefore without a grammar, a dictionary, or the use of writing, do you claim that the pali canon (a compendium of about 5000 pages) was transmitted orally in an otherwise unknown language and understood for 900-1000 years in foreign countries (like Sri-Lanka, Burma etc)? I find that is not just unbelievable, but also poorly researched.