The Wisdom of Balahvar
A Christian Legend of the Buddha
- Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 20, 2021
Originally published in 1957 and forming a companion volume to The Balavariani, this volume provides valuable research into the biography of Gautama Buddha and its influence on medieval Christian thought. This work, the romance of Barlaam and Josaphat, was included by Caxton in The Golden Legend and inspired the episode of the Caskets in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice; its heroes were venerated as Saints. Over a century ago, however, the legend was finally identified as an adaptation of episodes from the life and ministry of the Buddha. The first part of the book is devoted to tracing the development and migration of the Barlaam and Josaphat legend from its original Buddhist environment to the West. The second part is a translation of the Georgian text – the first published in any Western European language. The volume therefore gives one of the oldest Near Eastern versions of the story.
Table of Contents
Part 1: From Bodhisattva to Saint Josaphat: The Metamorphosis of a Legend 1. The Indian Background 2. The Manichaean Evidence 3. The Arabic Versions 4. The Georgian Versions 5. St. Euthymius the Georgian and the Greek Barlaam Romance. Pedigree of Barlaam and Josaphat. Part 2: The Wisdom of Balahvar Translated from the Old Georgian Version. The Fables. Further Fables of Balahvar, Translated from the Jerusalem Georgian Text. Dogs and Carrion. Physician and the Patient. The Sun of Wisdom. Postscript: Mr. Graves, Mr. Podro and the Kashmir Shrine.
David Marshall Lang was appointed Acting British Vice-Consul in Tabriz in 1945. In 1946 he became a fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge and lecturing in Georgian at SOAS London from 1949-52. From 1952-1953 he was senior fellow at the Russian Institute of Columbia University in New York. In 1958 he was appointed Reader in Caucasian Studies at SOAS. Visiting Professor of Caucasian Studies at UCLA from 1964-5, in 1965 he became Professor of Caucasian Studies at London University. He was Honorary Secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society from 1962-64 and held an Honorary Doctorate from Tbilisi University.